See how “Dune: Part 2” stars rode the sandworm in exclusive behind-the-scenes clip

See how “Dune: Part 2” stars rode the sandworm in exclusive behind-the-scenes clip

You've heard about the Worm Unit, now you can see it in action with the help of stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Javier Bardem.

In Entertainment Weekly’s recent cover story on Dune: Part Two, stars Timothée Chalamet and  Zendaya detailed how it felt to perform the sci-fi film’s crucial sandworm-riding scenes. Chalamet told EW those sequences were filmed by a specific unit, christened the “Worm Unit,” that was led by director Denis Villeneuve's wife and producing partner Tanya LaPointe. He described the sandworm apparatus as “a little slab of worm…that they practically built, like a scale. And then you get two gripping devices.”

Now, you can see the Worm Unit in action for yourself in the exclusive behind-the-scenes clip above. LaPointe herself is featured, and recalls joining the “one-ton club” when she and her team emitted one ton of dust to “create the illusion of a sandworm crashing through a dune.” She also notes that, much like how all the actors portraying Fremen characters in the Dune movies had to go to “Fremen School” to learn the fictional language of Chakobsa, all the actors riding worms had to attend the “Denis Villeneuve Sandworm-Riding School.” The clip even includes footage of Villeneuve demonstrating proper technique.

"No one was in a better position to teach sandworm-riding than he was,” LaPointe says in the clip. “He grew up with the books, so he would demonstrate how to hold the Maker hooks. The hands had to be just right.”

<p>Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures</p> 'Dune: Part Two'

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

'Dune: Part Two'

When interviewed by EW about Dune: Part Two, Villeneuve described the difficulty of translating what Frank Herbert had written into a visual setpiece worthy of the big screen.

“In the book, it’s just written, ‘and then Paul rides the worm,’” Villeneuve said, “with no real clues of how a Fremen will actually jump onto a sandworm, this great beast with high speed and tremendous power. So from the worm behavior that we had created in Part One, I had to figure out how a human being could approach that.”

In the new clip, prop master Doug Harlocker explains how they designed Maker hooks (named for “Makers,” a Fremen term for sandworms) that could accomplish what the story required.

“You would extend the Maker hooks, climb onto the worm, and then once you’ve stabilized yourself on the worm, you could shoot the end of a Maker hook out on a line for 20 or 30 feet, and it hooks under the flap of a worm,” Harlocker explains in the clip. “As they pull the worm, it’s sensitive to that movement, and then those become your reins.”

One of the key sequences of Dune: Part Two is when Chalamet’s Paul Atreides rides a sandworm for the first time. It marks the moment that he fully becomes a part of Fremen culture. But Chalamet wasn’t the only actor who got to go for a ride.

“The only thing I asked Denis Villeneuve when we finished the first one was, if there’s a second one, I need to ride a sandworm,’” says Javier Bardem, who plays Fremen leader Stilgar. “And it happened!”

This behind-the-scenes featurette is included on the home media release of Dune: Part Two, which will be available to rent or buy on digital platforms on April 16, and to buy on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on May 14. Watch the clip above for more.

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