See the stars of 'Dune' shine in EW's cover shoot portraits


Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) can't figure out why the Fremen girl Chani (Zendaya) keeps appearing in his dreams, but the relationship between the Dune costars was much less confusing. Zendaya says the two quickly became "besties" on set.

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Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

Paul Atreides' destiny starts with his parents, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Though Jessica loves her family, she makes decisions that put them in danger.

"She has to put [Paul] in front of what could become his death sentence for her belief in the greater good," Ferguson says.

Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

Between Chani, Lady Jessica, and imperial ecologist Dr. Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster), Dune certainly does not lack for powerful women. Liet-Kynes was originally written as a male character in Frank Herbert's 1965 novel, but Duncan-Brewster brings her to life in a new way.

"I've been around for a little while. I've had the ups and downs, but then you wake up one day and your agent phones and tells you that [Dune director] Denis Villeneuve said yes," Duncan-Brewster says. "Everything just changes. The opportunities change. People want to dress you."

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Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

Photographer Julian Ungano calls Chalamet "the ideal subject" for a photo shoot like this. 

"He's very easygoing and open to try new things creatively, but my favorite thing about working with him is that you can tell that he really cares about the end result," Ungano tells EW. 

Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

The stacked cast of Dune brings major star power to the roles of Paul's many mentors — from his own father to his mentor Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) and Fremen leader Stilgar (Javier Bardem).

"You always feel like the worst actor on the set, always," Brolin says. "You're like, 'I'm going to be found out.' Then you kind of get through that moment."

Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

"I took a walk around the perimeter of the island at sunset — it was so beautiful," Ungano says of scouting locations in Venice for the cover shoot. "The wind was coming in off the water, the tall grass was blowing all around, and the sunset itself was unforgettable."

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Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

Ungano wanted the setting for the cover shoot to look appropriately otherworldly.

"I had the privilege of scouting many of the iconic places in Venice, and while all of them were beautiful, none felt like the right compliment to the film," Ungano says, "So once we found the island, it seemed highly unique to the area and the perfect place to try and create a natural world almost like another planet, as in the movie." 

Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

Chalamet's first encounter with Dune was seeing a graphic novel adaptation on the shelves at Midtown Comics in Times Square when buying Yu-Gi-Oh! cards as an adolescent, but both he and Zendaya really sunk their teeth into Herbert's text once they heard Villeneuve was directing a new adaptation

Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

"On this shoot, I couldn't stop thinking: 'We're working with 7 of the biggest movie stars on the planet to promote the biggest movie on the planet, a movie that will hopefully get people back to the theater again,'" Ungano says. "When I considered what that all meant — for example, the countless people being employed by the film and the theaters, and all the people who are looking forward to seeing the film and potentially making this one of the first things their family does together since the start of the pandemic — I just wanted things to be as perfect as possible." 

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Credit: Julian Ungano for EW

The story of Dune is not over yet. The film stops around halfway through Herbert's novel, but everyone EW asked was excited about the possibility of returning for a second part — none more so than Zendaya and Chalamet. 

"We talk all the time about how fun it's gonna be if we get to do it," Zendaya says. 

Additional reporting from Shana Naomi Krochmal

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