It won't be long before Dune: Part Two lands in cinemas. The sequel to Denis Villeneuve's 2021 adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel has been hailed as a "spectacular return to Arrakis", with its cast in top form.


Stellan Skarsgård is back as villain Baron Harkonnen, and recently spoke to about how the book influenced his portrayal of the imposing villain. Or, rather, how it didn't.

"I don't care about [the lore]," he said. "I read the book. And of course [Baron Harkonnen] was, as he is, in the book, he was useless to me, because he talks a lot.

"And you don't want a talker, you want someone who's threatening and silent and very dangerous. So having played him like he was in the book would have defied the purpose."

The Baron certainly has an imposing presence, and requires Skarsgård to don extensive prosthetics. After surviving an assassination attempt in the first film, he appears just as determined to continue establishing House Harkonnen's power and influence.

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Both elements could, in the hands of a less capable actor and director, make for a cartoonishly evil character that falls flat.

Skarsgård is aware of this, and leant into it for his performance.

Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen suspended in the air in Dune Part One.
Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Harkonnen suspended in the air in Dune: Part One. Warner Bros

"I have done a couple of bad guys in Hollywood movies. And as they are, they are clichés and they are the bad guys and they're the good guys and it's a binary world they live in which is not resembling our world at all," he explained.

"But you have to see your character as a function as well. And how much do you have to see of the guy? You don't have to see the Baron being sort of mistreated as a child for him to function in the film. And also you can have the joy of doing sort of a caricature almost of a bad guy."

He went on to compare the Baron to Martin Vanger, his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo villain.

"If you look [at Vanger], that was a human being. I mean, he was pathological he feels really dangerous, but you can't grasp him. The Baron is larger than life," he added.

"And he's excused for being evil, because he's a cartoon character in a way. But he's not completely cartoon character because it's my eyes and it's my mouth. And you can follow a human being in there."

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Dune: Part Two is in cinemas from 1st March. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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