Mission: Impossible headliner Rebecca Ferguson is in negotiations to star opposite Timothee Chalamet in Dune, Legendary’s adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel being directed by Denis Villeneuve.
The company is eyeing an early 2019 production start for the ambitious project, which Villeneuve is producing along with Mary Parent and Cale Boyter.
Dune, initially published in the 1960s, tackles political, religious and environmental themes through a sci-fi lens, telling the complex story of a fallen noble family’s attempt to control of a desert planet named Arrakis and its export, a rare spice drug, while being betrayed by a galactic emperor.
Chalamet is playing Paul Atreides, the son of the ruler of the family, who is forced to escape into the desert wastelands and partner with its nomadic tribes. Using enhanced mental abilities, he eventually rises to become their ruler, with the nomads believing he is their messiah, and leads an army to overthrow the empire.
Ferguson will play Atreides’ mother, Lady Jessica, who escapes with him into the desert and helps him become a savior in their eyes.
Villeneuve, Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts wrote the script. Thomas Tull is executive producing along with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert for the Frank Herbert estate. Author Kevin J. Anderson is serving as a creative consultant.
The novel, which launched a book series that lasted beyond Herbert’s death, was first adapted into a 1984 film directed by David Lynch with Kyle MacLachlan as the lead and which bombed at the box office.
Ferguson broke out to American audiences with Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, playing operative Isla Faust, who goes tit-for-tat with Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. It is a role that is reprised in this summer’s Fallout, one of the best reviewed movies of the year and a box-office hit, generating almost $670 million worldwide to date.
The actress is also part of the ensemble of the new Men In Black movie and is set to shoot the Stephen King adaptation Doctor Sleep later this year.
Ferguson is repped by ICM Partners and Tavistock Wood Management.