Dune: Part Two star reveals "pressure" taking on villainous role

austin butler
Austin Butler reveals "pressure" of Dune roleGareth Cattermole/BAFTA - Getty Images

Austin Butler has opened up on the "pressure" he felt starring in the eagerly anticipated Dune: Part Two.

The Elvis actor will appear in the sequel to the 2021 sci-fi epic as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, the nephew of Baron Harkonnen played by Stellan Skarsgård.

Timothée Chalamet will reprise his role as Paul Atreides in a star-studded cast featuring Florence Pugh, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Christopher Walken, and Dave Bautista.

Now set for release on March 15 after previous delays, The Bikeriders' Butler revealed he felt "nervous" appearing in Dune and that this fear drives his performance.

austin butler, dune part two
Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros

Related: Dune 2 will fix a fan complaint about the first movie

"I always feel an incredible pressure. I felt that when I was 12 years old. Even if the material doesn't really require it, I feel I need to do the best that I possibly can," he told fellow actor Josh Brolin in Interview Magazine.

"That sets a bar, and then I'm always afraid that I'm going to miss something. With Dune it was interesting, because I met with Denis [Villeneuve], and we got along very well, and started talking about the character.

"At that point, we didn't even have a script, but as we started talking about Feyd, my imagination started running, and I started to feel the terror of the challenge. That's what I'm guided by now: What really scares me?"

He compared the role to his performance in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis as the King of Rock'n'Roll himself, revealing he was constantly asking if he was "enough" while filming.

austin butler, baz luhrmann's elvis
Warner Bros.

Related: Dune TV series adds The Crown's Olivia Williams in character recasting

"Elvis was terrifying. There was so much pressure, and I was constantly asking myself, 'Am I enough? Can I pull off this tightrope act?' That makes you focus and work really hard," he continued.

Butler also spoke about working with Arrival and Blade Runner: 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, who directed both Dune films.

"Denis is one of the greatest filmmakers alive, so the idea of getting to work with him, and then you [Brolin], and all of the cast was so exciting for me," he said.

"The thing with Denis is, you'll give an idea, and then his mind will start to percolate, and then he'll come back with 10 more, and then you’re feeding off of each other's imaginations."

Dune: Part Two is out in cinemas on March 15, 2024.

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