Denis Villeneuve is happy people laugh at Stilgar from Dune: ‘The idea was to make him loveable’ | Hollywood

Denis Villeneuve is happy people laugh at Stilgar from Dune: ‘The idea was to make him loveable’ | Hollywood

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune 2 was a massive hit upon theatrical release and is enjoying another lease at life after its streaming release. In a new interview with The New York Times, Villeneuve answered a bunch of questions about his movie, the mythology, the character arcs, the creative decision and even some lighter queries, including all about about the loveable Stilgar, played by Javier Bardem. (Also read: Dune: Part Two movie review – Denis Villeneuve’s pacier follow-up is effective as long as it harnesses the desert power)

Javier Bardem plays Stilgar in Denis Villeneuve's Dune Part 2.
Javier Bardem plays Stilgar in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Part 2.

Stilgar, a messiah-worshipping, gullible but wholesome Fremen, instantly became a fan favourite. A stand-in for an innocent religious fanatic, his constant chants of ‘Lisan-al-Gaib’, reverence for Paul Atreides and just a plushy, warm demeanour was loved by all those who watched the movie. Denis says it makes him happy with all the love that Stilgar got.

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‘He has a big heart’

“I am very happy when you say that he is a tragic figure. For me, he is the most tragic figure of all. The idea to bring humoor to Stilgar was to make him lovable, to feel the humanity in that character. He’s not an austere figure, he has a big heart. But his beliefs, his faith, his reactions bring humor — and that is something I love about making a sci-fi film, because I can talk about that without offending people because it’s a fake religion. I designed all the prayers myself, so I know it’s fake. I find Stilgar very funny. And when people laugh, I’m happy because that was the intention,” Denis said.

On a search for the messiah

“All his life he has been raised with that dream (of finding the messiah). So I suggest that every time a guy comes from outside with a lot of charisma, he hopes he’s found him. Like in the Bible, we have tons of prophets before Jesus came,” Denis explained Stilgar’s obsession with Paul as a messiah (Lisan-al-Gaib).

Dune 2 starred Timothee Chalamet as the lead with Zendaya, Austin Butler, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Florence Pugh in supporting roles. It is based on Frank Herbert’s acclaimed sci-fi novels. Denis is currently writing the third part, Dune: Messiah.


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