How Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya And Javier Bardem Rode The Sandworm In Dune Part: 2? BTS Footage Reveals

In exclusive footage, creators weigh in on the making of the sandworm ride scenes. The person in charge of the "worm unit" revealed using "one-ton fake sand" in the making!

Published on Apr 15, 2024  |  10:17 PM IST |  64.4K
Director Denis Villeneuve and Javier Bardem on the sets of Dune (via IMDB)

It may be a piece of cake for Paul Atredis to ride a sandworm, but it wasn't the case for the creators!

New behind-the-scenes footage revealed the amount of effort and attention to detail that went into creating those scenes. The director's wife, Tanya LaPointe, who was in charge of the "worm unit," said the actors had to attend the 'Denis Villeneuve Sandworm-Riding School' to master the skill. 


How did the cast pretend to ride the sandworm?

The sandworm in the film is purely CGI, but the crew, cast, and post-production team put a lot of effort into making it look as realistic as possible. During a chat with EW, Timothee Chalamet, who plays Paul Atredies, spoke about the worm riding technique. 

He described the apparatus as “a little slab of worm…that they practically built, like a scale. And then you get two gripping devices.” The devices or maker hooks worked as reins to control the worm’s movement and climb on top of it. 

Prop master Doug Harlocker spoke about creating the hooks, “You would extend the Maker hooks, climb onto the worm, and then once you’ve stabilized yourself on the worm, you could shoot the end of a Maker hook out on a line for 20 or 30 feet, and it hooks under the flap of a worm.”



“As they pull the worm, it’s sensitive to that movement, and then those become your reins,” he explained in the clip. 


Director Denis Villeneuve visualized the sandworm riding

Just like the “fremen actors” were tutored in the “Fremen School” to learn the fictional language of Chakobsa. The worm riders had to attend “Denis Villeneuve Sandworm-Riding School.” LaPointe revealed that no other person knew Sandworm Riding better than the director because he “grew up with the books.” So he would “demonstrate how to ride a sandworm holding the maker hooks. And the hands had to be just right,” she added.

Villeneuve created the vision and idea behind it on his own, as the books gave no context. “In the book, it’s just written, ‘and then Paul rides the worm. With no real clues of how a Fremen will actually jump onto a sandworm,” he told Entertainment Weekly. 


A still from Dune Part 2 (via IMDB)

Dune Part 2 became part of the one-ton club

Entertainment Weekly exclusively shared the BTS footage. In the video, Tanya LaPointe spoke about being part of the one-ton club that created the sandworms’ movements. She shared that the team would “throw huge amounts of fake sand” to create the “feeling of a sandworm crashing through the dunes.” 


During the process, they used one ton of fake sand! LaPointe revealed that one of her colleagues came to her and said, “Welcome to the one-ton club. We just crossed the mark of one of dust on the film in one day.” Nonetheless, the sandworms appeared scary real in the film, and the actors had a blast pretending to ride them! 


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