How Did Benjamin Millepied Create The Desert Sandwalk In Dune? Choreographer Explains

Famous French dancer and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied explained how he created the desert sandwalk in Dune. Read on to know more details!

Published on Mar 03, 2024  |  05:49 PM IST |  103.8K
Famous French dancer and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied explained how he created the desert sandwalk in Dune
Dune's Desert Sandwalk: Choreographer Gives Insider Insights (PC: YouTube)

The epic American science fiction film Dune: Part Two arrives with a distinctive choreographed sequence set on the fictional planet Arrakis.

The 2021 film Dune: Part One, directed by Denis Villeneuve, introduced viewers to the vast Arrakis desert, its native Fremen people portrayed by Zendaya and Javier Bardem, and the colossal sandworms of the planet.

In the world of Dune, the desert proves treacherous with its scorching sun, fierce winds, and massive sandworms. These creatures, sensitive to rhythmic vibrations, necessitate that outsiders move unpredictably to evade detection.

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Timothée Chalamet's character learns vital survival techniques in Dune

In the film Dune, actor Timothée Chalamet portrays the character Paul Atreides, who, along with his mother Jessica (played by Rebecca Ferguson), discovers the sandwalk—a survival technique desert dwellers use to avoid attracting deadly sandworms. They adopt this method of moving erratically to cross the desert safely and evade dangerous creatures.

In the sandwalk, the nervous, uneven stride Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), take when stranded in the deep desert. Described as 'step...drag...drag...step...step...wait...drag...step...' by Dune author Frank Herbert in his original 1965 novel.

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Benjamin Millepied: Crafting rhythmless Sandwalk for Dune sequel

Dune: Part Two delves deeper into Paul's desert adventure. Choreographer Benjamin Millepied shares how he assisted Villeneuve in visualizing the sandwalk, which is essential to life on Arrakis, during an interview with PEOPLE in April 2023.

Dune's Desert Sandwalk: Choreographer Gives Insider Insights

"I aimed to design a rhythmless walk," says Millepied, 46, about crafting the sandwalk. "I ensured it also formed aesthetically pleasing shapes, a focus of Denis.”

Millepied clarifies that the choreography aimed for actors to feel at ease with breaking rhythm.

When the first Dune movie came out in 2021, Villeneuve assigned Millepied to devise a simple desert walk to avoid triggering anything.

"We catch a brief glimpse of it in Part One, but it's a stunning design," Millepied confirmed at that time. "It's a desert walk engineered to avoid rhythmic patterns, as walking with rhythm attracts worms. We crafted a walk mimicking the sand and desert sounds—a brilliant concept from Frank Herbert that I was determined to showcase on screen."

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Timothée Chalamet hails Sandwalk mastery in Dune

The American-French actor Timothée Chalamet found mastering the sandwalk in Dune memorable, echoing Villeneuve's praise for Herbert's vision.

"It was a big challenge to master," the Golden Globe winner explains about the unique movement. "I had to learn it well ahead of time, as it's crucial for Paul to demonstrate it to Jessica, and it must come naturally to him in his Muad'Dib persona. Yet, executing it on set was even more physically demanding. We wanted to convey the exhaustion of the characters during those moments of climbing high ravines or taking breaks on the ridge. It was exhausting. But Frank Herbert's concept of navigating such a terrifying environment with a creature like the sandworm lurking beneath is incredible."

Dune: Part 2 is now out, promising more action and intrigue in the desert world of Arrakis.

ALSO READ: Dune Part 2 Review: Timothée Chalamet-Zendaya led sci-fi is a monumental genre-defining cinematic achievement

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About The Author

Shivangi Prajapati is a writer by profession and passion. With her extensive research, she loves breaking down complex information,

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