Austin Butler Says He Improvised That ‘Dune: Part Two’ Kiss with Stellan Skarsgård

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Austin Butler Says He Improvised That ‘Dune: Part Two’ Kiss with Stellan Skarsgård

The central romance in “Dune: Part Two” may be between Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and Chani (Zendaya), but it is another onscreen spark that’s causing a stir.

Austin Butler told Access Hollywood that the kiss between his character Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen and onscreen uncle Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, played by Stellan Skarsgård, was entirely improvised. According to Butler, the peck was meant to signify Feyd-Rautha’s utter devotion to the Baron.

“[The kiss] with Stellan Skarsgård? Oh yeah!” Butler answered when he was asked about what elements he improvised in “Dune: Part Two.”

“He’s game for anything,” Butler said of Skarsgård. “He’s the best…It’s always about how you’re trying to affect somebody else.”

The Oscar nominee (for “Elvis”) previously told the Los Angeles Times that he took a step back on his method-acting practices for “Dune: Part Two.” After taking on Elvis Presley’s accent full-time, Butler opted to mimic Skarsgård’s real-life voice to get into character as Feyd-Rautha.

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“I’ve definitely in the past, with ‘Elvis,’ explored living within that world for three years and that being the only thing that I think about day and night. With Feyd, I knew that that would be unhealthy for my family and friends,” Butler said of playing the villainous warrior. “I made a conscious decision to have a boundary. It allowed for more freedom between action and cut because I knew I was going to protect everybody else outside of the context of what we were doing. That’s not to say that it doesn’t bleed into your life. But I knew that I wasn’t going to do anything dangerous outside of that boundary, and in a way that allowed me to go deeper.”

“Dune: Part Two” director Denis Villeneuve was probably pretty relieved by that decision. He told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson that Butler “had to be a bit out of character, otherwise, I’d be dead right now” since Feyd-Rautha is a “sadistic psychopath.”

Villeneuve said of working with Butler, “There was a twitch, something in the back of his eyes that he could be playing in this zone. I felt that he had that playful darkness inside him. And that tremendous rockstar charisma. It’s not because of ‘Elvis.’ I’ve seen something in the movies, a kind of swagger. He trained for months in order to become muscular. I never had asked an actor to do that before.”

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