The upcoming Dune film will feature a race and gender swapped Liet Kynes with Sharon Duncan Brewster playing the character. Not only will the character feature this race and gender swap, but comments from the cast and director indicate the film will be woke.
The character had previously been portrayed by Max Von Sydow in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune. Karel Dobrý portrayed the character in Sci Fi Channel’s 2000 miniseries adaptation of the book.
Vanity Fair confirmed the gender and race swap sharing an image of Brewster as Kynes (seen below).
Frank Herbert, Dune’s author, described Kynes in the book as “…tall, thin…long sandy hair, a sparse beard. The eyes were that fathomless blue-within-blue under thick brows.”
He further described the character, “His long hair and beard were mussed. The blue eyes without whites were a darkness under heavy brows.”
He added, “Wisps of sandy hair protruded from it, matched by a sparse beard and thick brows. Beneath the blue-within-blue eyes, remains of a dark stain spread down to his cheeks. A matted depression across mustache and beard showed where a stillsuit tube had marked out its path.”
Bounding Into Comics first reported on a gender swapped Liet Kynes at the end of July last year.
Vanity Fair claims the gender-swap is an “intriguing change” and that director Denis Villeneuve “updated Liet Kynes.”
Brewster commented on her role as Liet Kynes indicating the film will be woke. She stated, “What Denis had stated to me was there was a lack of female characters in his cast, and he had always been very feminist, pro-women, and wanted to write the role for a woman.”
Brewster added, “This human being manages to basically keep the peace amongst many people. Women are very good at that, so why can’t Kynes be a woman? Why shouldn’t Kynes be a woman?”
Villeneuve would also discuss the film describing it’s narrative as a critique of capitalism.
He explained, “No matter what you believe, Earth is changing, and we will have to adapt.”
Villeneuve then added, “That’s why I think that Dune, this book, was written in the 20th century. It was a distant portrait of the reality of the oil and the capitalism and the exploitation—the overexploitation—of Earth.”
He concluded, “Today, things are just worse. It’s a coming-of-age story, but also a call for action for the youth.”
If you thought it might get better from there, think again. In the obvious puff piece from Vanity Fair, they describe Paul Atreides as Greta Thunberg.
Anthony Breznican writes, “Think Greta Thunberg, only she’s a Jedi with a diploma from Hogwarts.”
Villeneuve also detailed changes to Baron Harkonnen played by Stellan Skarsgård. He explained, “As much as I deeply love the book, I felt that the baron was flirting very often with caricature.”
He continued, “And I tried to bring him a bit more dimension. That’s why I brought in Stellan. Stellan has something in the eyes. You feel that there’s someone thinking, thinking, thinking—that has tension and is calculating inside, deep in the eyes. I can testify, it can be quite frightening.”
Villeneuve’s film will also expand Lady Jessica’s role, Paul’s mother. Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit and is played by Rebecca Ferguson.
Ferguson described her character, “She’s a mother, she’s a concubine, she’s a soldier.”
She then went on to describe how the character will be different from the book, “Denis was very respectful of Frank’s work in the book, [but] the quality of the arcs for much of the women have been brought up to a new level. There were some shifts he did, and they are beautifully portrayed now.”
Villeneuve does note that creating Dune is the most difficult thing he’s done in his life. He explains, “It’s a book that tackles politics, religion, ecology, spirituality—and with a lot of characters.”
He then concludes, “I think that’s why it’s so difficult. Honestly, it’s by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life.”
Dune is expected to be released in two installments, with Frank Herbert’s first Dune novel being broken up into two parts. The first part is expected to debut on December 18, 2020.