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"Now that’s a director I would do anything for!”, actor Steve Wall discusses Dune: Part Two
02 Apr 2024 : Luke Shanahan
Steve Wall as Bashar
We spoke with actor Steve Wall about working on Dune: Part Two, the latest film from Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve, starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya.

Irish actor Steve Wall plays Bashar in Dune: Part Two, leader of the Sardaukar army. He shares a scene towards the end of the sci-fi blockbuster with actors such as Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Stellan Skaarsgard (Good Will Hunting), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), Austin Butler (Elvis) and Dave Bautista (Glass Onion).

Dune: Part Two picks up immediately from the events of Part One, with Paul Atreides (Chalamet) uniting with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen to seek revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the universe, he must prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

The film was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and adapted for the screen by Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts (Prometheus). The two Dune films are based on Frank Herbert’s original novel of the same name.

Until Dune: Part Two released in cinemas, Wall didn’t know whether or not he had made the final cut. Actors such as Tim Blake Nelson (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), who was cast in the film in an undisclosed role, as well as Stephen McKinley Henderson (Dune) who reprising his role as Thufir Hawat, were left on the cutting room floor. Director Villeneuve has said that no deleted scenes from the film will be released, stating “I’m a strong believer that when it’s not in the movie, it’s dead.”

We sat down with Steve Wall to discuss getting cast as Bashar, his experience of working on set, and where we can expect to see him next.

IFTN: What was the casting process like, and when did you find out you got cast?

STEVE: “I had auditioned for two characters and then didn’t hear anything for a couple of months at least. Then I got a call out of the blue one Wednesday morning asking could I fly to Budapest that evening. I’d say someone else had been cast in that role and then something occurred so they came to the next guy on the list! I was lucky that I could shift a few arrangements around and go.”

IFTN: What was it like sharing a scene with so many incredible actors?

STEVE: “The following morning I was brought onto the set to meet Denis Villeneuve who thanked me for coming at such short notice. He’s immediately likeable, warm and friendly. He brought me over to the set to meet the rest of the cast in the scene. I had no idea who was in Dune, as at this stage I hadn’t even seen the first movie. So when Denis introduced me to the cast I was quite taken aback. Standing there was Christopher Walken, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skaarsgard, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler and Dave Bautista. I had just seen the Elvis movie the previous week, so as a huge fan of the King since my teens, I was looking forward to talking with Austin. He’s a big Chet Baker fan, so we had some great chats about playing music legends and total immersion in the music. My efforts at striking up a conversation off set with Walken were not as easy, but funny. That's for another time!”

“I have to say though, they were all very nice, friendly and professional. I met Timothée Chalamet on the last day as the Fremen arrive towards the end of that scene. The energy is hopping off him. Oh and Josh Brolin too, he’s a great actor, so meeting him was cool.”

IFTN: What was it like working with director Denis Villeneuve? How would you describe his process with actors?

STEVE: “I was amazed at his total calm on set. He knows exactly what he wants and he just lets the actors do what they do. If he has to give you a note, he’ll walk over and speak to you himself as opposed to shouting across the set or sending it via an assistant. One morning he had arrived on the huge soundstage and said good morning to everyone. I was in position halfway up the big staircase in the imperial tent. We were about to start and he spotted me. He walked from behind the monitors and ran up the twenty or so steps to where I was. I thought he must have something serious to say to me. He put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘My apologies Steve, I didn’t say good morning to you’. Now that’s a director I would do anything for!”

IFTN: The scale of Dune: Part Two is immense. Were there any aspects of the production that left a lasting impression on you?

STEVE: “Yes, the quality of the sets and costumes. I especially love the Fremen’s look. The whole production design is terrific. There wasn’t a huge reliance on green screens, not in the imperial tent scene anyway.”

IFTN: Following your role as Bashar in Dune: Part Two, what projects can we expect to see you in next?

STEVE: “I did a horror film called Oddity that is getting rave reviews after its US premiere in March. It’s written and directed by Bantry’s own Damian McCarthy and he was a pleasure to work with. I also did three short films last year that were all great experiences. The quality of short films has really improved. Lochlainn McKenna’s short Two for the Road won first prize in Galway last year and is now picking up prizes and nominations on the international festival circuit.”

“I did a short called Inevitabilis for a Dutch production company in which I played two identical characters. We filmed in Austria and Donegal. It’s a sort of high concept creepy film and I can’t wait to see it. I also did another Irish short called ‘For the Land is Mine’ directed by Jamie O’Rourke and written by himself and the producer Aisling Magill. That's being edited right now and I think it’s going to do really well as the script is great.”

“Last November I shot an episode of a Netflix UK series called Black Doves with Ben Wishaw and Keira Knightley. And just before that, I played the main baddie in La Signora Volpe with Emilia Fox. It was shot in Italy which was lovely, as it has been lashing rain at home for weeks. It’s directed by Ireland’s own Declan Recks who I had worked with before on The South Westerlies, so that was a bonus.”

Dune: Part Two is currently playing in cinemas.





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