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When “Dune: Part Two” star Stellan Skarsgård saw Austin Butler as the cruel and sadistic Feyd-Rautha for the first time, he laughed.

“I laughed so much because it was so obvious that he really enjoyed being evil,” Skarsgård told Variety at the “Dune: Part Two” premiere Sunday night in New York City.

Butler’s Feyd-Rautha is the younger nephew and heir of Skarsgård’s Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who originally appeared in Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 sci-fi epic “Dune.” Butler studied Skarsgård’s voice performance in the first chapter to bring his version of Feyd-Rautha to life.

“It was like hearing an echo,” Skarsgård said of Butler’s voice in the film. “It was very, very precise.”

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, “Dune: Part Two” resumes the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), who joins forces with the Fremen to wage war against House Harkonnen. The second chapter stars Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Léa Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, Souheila Yacoub, Javier Bardem, Christopher Walken and Skarsgård. Anya Taylor-Joy, who attended the U.S. premiere in New York City, will also appear in the sequel in an undisclosed role.

Walken was already familiar with the world of “Dune” before working on Villeneuve’s sequel, as he had read Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 sci-fi novel when he was young, as well as watched David Lynch’s 1984 film adaptation.

“I kind of grew up with it,” Walken told Variety. “But this version of ‘Dune’ is something else.”

Butler also recalled seeing the 1984 feature as a kid, saying that Sting’s portrayal of Feyd-Rautha was “extraordinary.”

“But this film was so different, and just watching ‘Part One,’ I knew that the tone of this film was very, very different,” he continued. “So it provided a lot of latitude for me to play and find my own version.”

Butler mentioned that he’s never met Sting before, but that opportunity was soon fulfilled at the “Dune: Part Two” afterparty, where the two posed for photos together and conversed inside the American Museum of Natural History.

Although newcomer Seydoux felt a “bit anxious” joining the sci-fi franchise, she admitted that she didn’t have any expectations about the scope of shooting a “Dune” film; she’d gotten a sneak peek while Villeneuve and the crew shot the first installment.

“I was filming another film with a Hungarian director, and I came to [the ‘Dune’] set to visit,” Seydoux said. “So it felt like when I came back the second time, it felt like home a bit. It felt like it was a family.”

“It’s a book that Denis has wanted to adapt since he’s like a kid, so I really felt I was part of his dream,” Seydoux added. “He knew exactly what he wanted, he knew all the details, and everything was so precise that it was quite easy in a way.”

“Dune: Part Two” premieres in theaters Friday.



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