Austin Butler’s Role in Dune Continues a Peculiar Casting Trend for Feyd-Rautha, Originating in the 70s

In Dune: Part 2, a casting tradition for Feyd Rautha in the book’s various film adaptations was continued in a surprising way by Austin Butler.

Collage of Austin Bulter and Sting, both playing Feyd-Rautha, in Dune Part 2 and Dune 1984 respectively.

Dune: Part Two has proven to bea massive critical and commercial success following its release, and one of the many praised elements has been Austin Butler’s performance as Feyd-Rautha, which continues a tradition among the cinematic portrayals of the character. The performance was memorably psychotic, and there is a high level of physicality and charisma in it that helps Austin Butler play well onscreen against Timothée Chalamet. The brutal knife fight between their two characters serves as the climax of the film.

Feyd-Rautha was introduced in the original Dune novel by Frank Herbert as a late stage foil for Paul. The character is the nephew of the story’s primary antagonist, the cruel Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (played by Stellan Skarsgård in the new films). Feyd is a ruthless killer and sadist who takes pleasure in the pain of others, which is in keeping with his Harkonnen heritage. Despite these deeply unsavory qualities of Feyd’s character, there’s a surprising pattern in his casting in the film adaptations.

Austin Butler (Sort Of) Continues Feyd-Rautha’s Rock Star Tradition

A coincidence between all the silver screen versions

Mick Jagger in Freejack.
Sting as Feyd-Rautha in Dune (1984)
Sting as Feyd-Rautha holding a knife in Dune
Feyd Rautha standing in front of Harkonnen guards in Dune Part Two

Austin Butler continues a trend of rock stars being cast in the role of Feyd-Rautha thanks to his memorable role as Elvis in the 2022 biopic of the same name. The most notable example of Dune‘s rock star casting is, of course, the first adaptation of Dune in 1984. Directed by David Lynch, the movie attempted to condense the entire book into a little over two hours. Lynch always makes fascinating creative choices, and one such choice was casting The Police frontman Sting as Feyd. Though an inexperienced actor, Sting brought an entertaining energy to the role.

Sting wasn’t the first example of this trend either. In the early 1970s surrealist Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, hot off the groundbreaking successes of his films El Topo and The Holy Mountain, began development on an incredibly ambitious adaptation of Dune. As detailed in the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dunethe director gathered an all-star team of creatives to help flesh out the project. He even got as far as casting Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger for the role of Feyd, set to play opposite Jodorowsky’s own son as Paul. The project fell apart but still influenced Lynch’s later Dune adaptation.

Why Casting Feyd-Rautha As A Rock Star Makes Perfect Sense

Elvis remains Austin Butler’s breakout role

Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha pointing a knife at Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune Part Two

The casting tradition, on the surface, doesn’t seem to have carried over to Denis Villeneuve’s modern Dune films considering Austin Butler is an actor and not a rock star. Yet the role that won Butler the opportunity to play Feyd-Rautha was likely his tenure as Elvis Presley. Austin Butler began acting as a teen, but his leading role in Baz Luhrmann’s maximalist biopic about Elvis Presley proved his acting chops and earned him an Academy Award nomination. Butler’s time as the King of Rock and Roll likely impressed Villeneuve too.

Rock stars may seem like an odd choice when casting a sadistic villain, but the idea does make sense. As a character introduced late into the story, Feyd-Rautha should be a memorable scene stealer, one who can command attention and be physically imposing. The overflowing charisma of a rock star fits nicely into that mold, and Austin Butler was able to bring that quality to Feyd-Rautha and created one of the standout villain performances of the last ten years in Dune: Part Two.

Related Posts

Taylor Swift Under Fire as She Reignites ‘Feud’ Rumors with Billie Eilish

There’s yet another update in the saga Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ll know all about this alleged ‘feud’ between…

A Taylor Swift Song Doesn’t Stand A Chance Of Making It Into The Eras Tour Movie Now

Thanks to the changes Taylor Swift made to her Eras Tour setlist, one particular song is never making it into The Eras Tour movie now. After a two-month hiatus, Taylor Swift resumed The…

Taylor Swift Trades Mobile for Vintage Camera to Snap Romantic Moments with Travis Kelce on Rainy Boat Ride in Italy

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s romantic escape in Lake Como filled with sweet moments and cosy eveningsTaylor Swift and Travis Kelce stole a sweet escape from the…

Taylor Swift Reignites Feud with Kim Kardashian in Latest Album – With Mutual Friends Like Lana Del Rey, Gigi Hadid, and Ice Spice, Will They Be Forced to Take Sides?

On her recent record-breaking album The Tortured Poets Department, Taylor Swift reignited her decades-long feud with Kim Kardahian.On the track thanK you aIMee, the 14-time Grammy award-winner sings of…

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s Marriage in Turmoil: Report Reveals They’re Living Separate Lives

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are reportedly on “two different pages” in their marriage amid rumors they are headed toward divorce.“Jen and Ben are having issues in…

Joe Alwyn Flirts with Blondes at Cannes Bash While Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce Savor Italy Romance

There’s no denying Joe Alwyn has a thing for blondes … the actor’s surrounding himself with a group of women whose hair color just happens to match that of…