Rebecca Ferguson has praised her Dune director Denis Villeneuve for improving the female characters’ storylines in the sci-fi epic.
The Mission: Impossible – Fallout actress plays Lady Jessica, the mother of Timothee Chalamet’s young royal Paul Atreides and concubine to Oscar Isaac’s Duke Leto, in the Arrival filmmaker’s new two-movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel.
Lady Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a sect of women who can read minds, control people with their voices, and manipulate the balance of power in the universe, and her duty is to deliver a saviour to the universe. In the new film, she is a “warrior priestess”, more fearsome than ever, and accordingly, Ferguson was thrilled with the expansion of her character.
“She’s a mother, she’s a concubine, she’s a soldier,” she told Vanity Fair magazine. “Denis was very respectful of Frank’s work in the book, (but) the quality of the arcs for much of the women have been brought up to a new level. There were some shifts he did, and they are beautifully portrayed now.”
The Blade Runner 2049 director wasn’t satisfied with just improving Lady Jessica’s story and wanted more female characters in the ensemble cast, so he made Dr. Liet-Kynes, a leading ecologist and peacekeeper, a woman and cast British actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster in the role.
“What Denis had stated to me was there was a lack of female characters in his cast, and he had always been very feminist, pro-women, and wanted to write the role for a woman,” said the Rogue One star. “This human being manages to basically keep the peace amongst many people. Women are very good at that, so why can’t Kynes be a woman? Why shouldn’t Kynes be a woman?”
The first half of Dune will be released in cinemas in December.
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