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Dune 2 has started pre-production

Dune Part Two has started doing some 'pre-shooting' in Italy, before production starts in Hungary on July 21, which is sooner than expected

Dune: Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson as Paul and Jessica

Dune: Part Two is going into production earlier than initially thought, with filming beginning in the summer rather than the autumn. Given the scale of the project, both the production and post-production will be epic undertakings and it will be all-hands-on-deck to meet the November 2023 release date.

Deadline are reporting that Denis Villeneuve and team are ‘pre-shooting’ – which probably means doing test shots – in Altivole, Italy in the Veneto region from July 4, for two days. Full-on production with a bulk of the cast returning is scheduled to begin on July 21 in Budapest, Hungary – which is where the first movie also filmed. Juggling the schedules of a vast cast, who are all in-demand on other projects, must be something of a nightmare. Zendaya has just been shooting a film with Luca Guadagnino and only finished at the end of June – for just one example.

The shoot in Italy is reportedly taking place at the modernist Brion Tomb, which looks ripe for the futuristic science-fiction of the Dune universe. Carlo Scarpa designed the concrete structure in the 60s and 70s, and it includes a reflecting pool, and an arcosolium. It also has gardens with Byzantine and Japanese influences.

Returning cast-members include Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and Stellan Skarsgård. New cast-members include Christopher Walken, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, and Léa Seydoux. They will be hoping to replicate – or exceed – the success of the first Dune, which made $400 million at the box office despite being released on HBO Max at the same time.

The first movie also won critical acclaim, and was nominated for ten Oscars – winning six. The release date of Part Two was recently pushed back by a month, into a pre-Thanksgiving slot alongside the Hunger Games prequel.

While we wait for more information on Dune Part Two, check out our guide to the best science fiction movies.