Austin Butler's 'Dune: Part Two' Transformation Was Just as Wild as You Think

More likely than not, you did a double-take when you saw Austin Butler in Dune: Part Two's first trailer. As the villain Feyd-Rautha in sci-fi epic, Butler is bald, eyebrow-less, and heavily armed. The Elvis and Masters of the Air actor also put on an extra 25 pounds of muscle for the film. "When you feel powerful," he said in Esquire's latest cover story, "that’s a good feeling."

But just who is this odd-looking villain? Well, in Frank Herbert's Dune novels, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen is the nephew and heir to Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (played by Stellan Skarsgård in 2021's Dune). Butler even adjusted his accent for the film to sound more like Skarsgård—while also turning up his character's cruel and cunning qualities. Still, audiences shouldn't be too afraid of Butler's transformation when Dune: Part Two premieres next month! He may not be rocking a metallic wingsuit a la Sting's Feyd-Rautha David Lynch's Dune (1984), but Butler said he's offering fans a "totally different thing."

Elsewhere in the cover story, Dune: Part Two director Denis Villeneuve promised that there is still "rock-star sex appeal" to Feyd-Rautha. "I was floored," he said. "Austin was at the top of my list." Even during difficult conditions on set such as dangerous storms, heavy costumes, and "people collapsing" from the hot sun, Butler was eager to get the perfect version of Feyd-Rautha on film. "He insisted to stay with me, beside the camera, all the way through those days, because he was having too much fun," the director says. "He didn’t want to go back to his trailer. I don’t remember having seen an actor having fun like that."

Since you're asking: Dune: Part Two's leading man, Timothée Chalamet, absolutely picked up on Butler's drive, too. “I realized it from the first table read,” Chalamet said. “He’s questioning everything. He’s on a mission. He’s on a search. He’s not pretending to be the guy with answers. He’s constantly tinkering... It was motivating.”

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