Some critics labeled the movie Dune incomprehensible and confusing when it was released in 1984, before reaching its cult status. Well, it turns out that some of the cast and crew were a little discombobulated too.
In a recently unearthed video clip from a 2013 Q&A event at Emerald City Comic Con (via The Hollywood Reporter) actor Patrick Stewart hilariously claims director David Lynch had wanted an entirely different actor for the role of Gurney Halleck, and Stewart had no idea who his famous co-star Sting was on the first days filming together.
An audience member opened a whole giant can of sandworms when they asked Stewart what it was like to star alongside the front man of British rock band The Police, which prompted him to firstly tell the story of his own casting. “OK… Dune was an accident, it should not have happened to me. I’m serious!” he said to much laughter from the crowd. “This is too long a story to tell here, but the fact is David Lynch had thought he had cast someone else… it is absolutely the truth.”
While he didn't reveal exactly who it was Lynch had in mind, he did reveal some rather fabulous anecdotes about filming. He continued: “I was the wrong actor, but by then it was too late. It was fabulous, some great, great actors, in that movie. I got to go out for dinner with Max Von Sydow once a week, who is one of my heroes! And I used to sit across the table from him and we would sit and eat tacos… Kyle MacLachlan has become a life-long friend and buddy, as has Everett McGill who was also in that movie, the three of us hung out together a lot.”
But what about Sting?! Sadly, the “Englishman In New York” singer almost passed Stewart by completely, as he was “isolated” from the world of popular music at that time.
However, he knew enough to know that the casting of him to play Feyd-Rautha was kinda a big deal. “There was this frisson everywhere, the whole of Mexico City was abuzz that Sting was coming. So I heard he was a musician, that’s all I knew,” Stewart recalled. To further amusement from the audience, Stewart said his first question to Sting was, “So, you’re a musician? What do you play?”
Hilarity ensued when Sting tried to tell Stewart that he played bass guitar in the global chart-topping band The Police, which left Stewart believing that he was chatting to a member of a police band who played the double bass.
It’s just a shame that none of this was caught on camera and included in the DVD extras. It could have provided some light relief after the movie.
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