Chang Chen Joining Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' (Exclusive)

The 'Crouching Tiger' actor is in talks for Legendary's adaptation of the sci-fi novel.
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Chang Chen

Denis Villeneuve's Dune already boasts a sprawling ensemble, but it's not quite done casting yet.

Chang Chen is in negotiations to join Legendary's adaptation of the sci-fi novel. He would play Dr. Yueh, who in the novel is a physician who works for the Atreides family.

The film is set in the far future and centers on Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), a young man whose family has accepted control of Arrakis, a desert planet that is the galaxy's only producer of the highly valuable resource known as spice. When Paul and his family are betrayed, he must lead a rebellion to regain control of the planet.

There's a poetic symmetry to Chen taking a trip to the sandy dunes of Arrakis with a role in Dune. He rose to prominence with 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in which he played the desert bandit Dark Cloud for filmmaker Ang Lee. In recent years, he starred in Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin, which took home the best director's prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, and he also appeared in the 2017 martial arts film Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield, the 2017 drama Mr. Long and 2018's Forever Young.

Chen is joining a cast that in addition to Chalamet, includes Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem.

Dune, 1966 novel from Frank Herbert is considered a sci-fi classic and explores themes such as religion and humanity's relationship with nature. The novel spawned multiple book sequels, as well as a 1984 David Lynch film adaptation.

Villeneuve penned the script with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts. He is producing Dune along with Mary Parent and Cale Boyter. Thomas Tull is executive producing along with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert for the Frank Herbert estate. Kevin J. Anderson is serving as a creative consultant.

Warner Bros. will open Dune on Nov. 20, 2020 in IMAX and 3D.