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Dune Special: Director Denis Villeneuve describes the Box of Pain scene

MRT’s Path to Dune continues this week with director and script co-writer Denis Villeneuve recounting the Gom Jabbar test scene. You can watch the image with the video embedded below.

Set early in Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, this scene follows Timothée Chalamet’s hero Paul Atreides meeting with Gaius Helen Mohaim, played by Charlotte Rampling, and leader of the Bene Gesserit religious group, one of the greatest political forces in the galaxy. We also briefly see Lady Jessica, played by Rebecca Ferguson, as Paul’s mother and a member of the Bene Gesserit. Through a series of mental conditioning and consuming the Melange spice, the Bene Gesserit developed their minds and attained superhuman abilities.

Their leader, Reverend Sister Gaius Helen Mohiam, is obsessed with using selective breeding to produce an all-powerful Bene Gesserit superhuman called the Kwisatz Haderach. He sends the Lady Jessica to breed this superhuman as Duke Leto’s concubine, but Jessica has a son named Paul. Now is the time to test whether Paul has inherited these powers from his mother and see if he has the potential to become a Kwisatz Haderach.

In this scene, Paul goes through the first steps of the test by sticking his hand in a torture box, while the Reverend Sister holds a poisonous needle called Gom Jabbar around her neck. By holding his hand still and enduring the psychological pain, Paul can prove that he is a human, not an animal. If he speaks or takes his hand out of the box, Reverend Priestess will kill herself with Gom Jabbar. These events signal the great fate that awaits Paul.

Commenting on the scene, Villeneuve says, “This is a very important scene. We are learning about the power of the Bene Gesserit, this women’s union is the strongest force in Dune. Here we also come to know a secret and something is revealed after Paul’s identity.” it says:

“I was pretty excited about shooting this scene with a name like Charlotte Rampling and Timothée Chalamet. It was one of the first scenes I shot with Timothée. While shooting the scene, Paul’s character was going through a process, it was like exorcism. It would also trigger and awaken an unknowing power. It’s a truly transformative process.”

Villeneuve says he realized how accurate he was in choosing the lead actor while filming this scene:

“I witnessed this transformation of Timothée on camera, it was amazing and it was such a powerful moment for me because I realized I had chosen the perfect actor as Paul Atreides.”

For more on this upcoming science fiction piece, check out our previous Dune Journey news and House Atreides, Fremen‘s, and House Harkonnen Don’t forget to review.

Dune hits theaters on October 22 in Turkey and the USA, and on October 21 in many European countries.

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