Timothée Chalamet used a surprising tactic to land Dune's lead role

Timothee Chalamat and Zendaya in Dune on HBO Max
(Image credit: Chiabella James/Warner Bros.)

Dune star Timothée Chalamet has explained how setting up a Google alert eventually helped him to land the movie's lead role.

In an interview with Deadline ahead of the Venice Film Festival, Chalamet confirmed that he used Google Alerts to follow the film's early development.

Upon learning that Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival) would direct the Dune remake, via a Google alert notification, Chalament made it his personal mission to get cast in the sci-fi epic.

Asked about rumors concerning his use of Google Alerts, Chalamet said: "Yeah, it’s true [laughs]. Not right away – Legendary had the rights and was developing it – but as soon as Denis got involved, I set up a Google alert and that’s when I got the book."

That wasn't the only method that Chalamet used in order to land a role in Dune. The Call Me By Your Name and Little Women actor tried to put himself on Villeneuve's radar at various events in 2018, but didn't expect anything to come of the pair's eventual and brief conversations.

As it happened, Villeneuve ended up inviting Chalamet to the Cannes Film Festival to discuss a role in Dune – a meeting that Chalamet admitted he was unprepared for.

"I was about halfway through the book when I got the call," Chalamet said. "I was in London prepping The King. He asked me if I could come out there, so I quickly busted through the second half of the book as best I could. So, like, the first half of my copy is properly annotated and full of my thoughts, and then the second half I just raced through. And then I had that meeting with him, and it was such a joy."

Analysis: will Chalamet's star power aid Dune at the box office?

Oscar Isaac as Leto Atreides in Warner Bros' Dune movie reboot

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Dune's cast is packed with A-list actors including Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya and Josh Brolin, so it may be strange (to some film fans at least) to pick Chalamet out as the film's biggest draw.

That would be the case if this was Chalamet's first major role, but The King and Lady Bird star is one of the most in-demand actors right now and that will only help Dune's cause.

Like No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie that'll be Daniel Craig's swansong as 007, Dune has a lot riding on it. With Covid-19 Delta variant cases rising across the globe, audiences are increasingly hesitant about watching movies at the theater. As a result, some movies, such as The Suicide Squad, have struggled to be profitable at the global box office.

In the minds of many film critics and pundits, Dune and No Time to Die are seen as blockbuster movies that will reignite the box office and entice viewers to watch films in theaters once more. Having a hugely popular star in Chalamet, then, should help Dune to draw in audiences – especially those in the 18-30 age group who may not have been interested in Dune otherwise.

Of course, Dune's simultaneous release in theaters and on HBO Max could scupper its box office takings. Some film aficionados will opt to watch it in the safety of their own home (if HBO Max is available in their country) to negate the potential risk of contracting Covid-19.

Still, a movie of this scale, with a charismatic and in-demand star in Chalamet, should have more than enough to lure film fans to theaters again. If it doesn't, hopes for a Dune sequel and a more permanent box office revival may not be as forthcoming.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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