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Austin Butler Says ‘Dune 2’ Set Was ‘110 Degrees’ on His First Week and ‘There Were People Passing Out From Heat Stroke’: ‘It Became a Microwave’


Austin Butler was hospitalized after he wrapped filming on Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” and it appears it was something of a miracle he avoided a similar fate on the set of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two.” The Oscar nominee joins the epic franchise as Feyd-Rautha, the cruel and sadistic younger nephew of and heir to Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård). Butler told Entertainment Weekly that heat stroke impacted several people on set during his first week of shooting. How’s that for a welcome?

“It was 110 degrees and so hot,” Butler said. “I had the bald cap on, and it was between two soundstages that were just these gray boxes of 200-foot walls and sand. It became like a microwave. There were people passing out from heat stroke. And that was just my first week.”

“It really bonds the entire crew,” Butler added. “There’s something so humbling about being in such an uncomfortable environment.” 

The first scene Butler shot for “Dune 2” was Feyd-Rautha’s gladiator match on the Harkonnen’s home planet as he battles fighters to prove he should be his uncle’s heir. During prep, Butler made sure to pay close attention to Skarsgård’s vocal performance in the original “Dune” movie as it held the key to bringing his version of Feyd-Rautha to life.

“I felt that because he grew up with the Baron, the Baron would be a big influence on him in many ways,” Butler explained to Entertainment Weekly about nailing the voice. “So then I started thinking about the way that he speaks, and that being linked to the person that you see with the most power from the time that you’re a child, who you do end up emulating in some way.”

Nearly all of the “Dune” cast had to endure hot temperatures while filming the space epic, which is one reason Villeneuve was grateful he didn’t go the usual Hollywood route and film both “Dune” films back-to-back with no break in productions.

“Both movies were made in very harsh conditions, and it’s very physically taxing, so to have a break in between them was a blessing,” Villeneuve said. “My first thought was to shoot both movies back to back together, but now I think I would have died. It was really intense, and seeing how the world reacted to ‘Part One’ was a boost of positive energy to go back into the desert.” 

“Dune: Part Two” opens in theaters March 1 from Warner Bros.