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The Dune 2 Scene You Didn't Realize Was Improvised

Denis Villeneuve's "Dune: Part Two" is the kind of movie that shows off its craftsmanship. Every sprawling desert shot, every knife fight and worm ride, every gorgeously scored montage declares how much careful planning and intention went into the construction of the film. "Dune: Part Two" is already blowing people away at the box office, and it's easy to see why. It's the kind of meticulous spectacle that cinemas are made for.

Yet even in the most carefully planned movies, there are always moments of surprise and improvisation. It's impossible to foresee everything that could happen during filming, after all, and great actors will always bring new twists that the writers and directors never could have foreseen. In the case of "Dune: Part Two," Austin Butler improvised one particular moment as the villainous Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen. In the scene where Stellan Skarsgård's Baron Vladimir Harkonnen assigns dominion of Arrakis to Feyd, he leans down to kiss his nephew on the lips, seemingly as a kind of blessing. Feyd then pulls his uncle back down for a second kiss, holding his gaze fiercely afterward as if to assert his own power.

Apparently, this moment was an on-set addition from Butler. "He's game for anything," the actor told Access Hollywood in reference to Skarsgård. "He's the best." When asked if he enjoys shocking his co-stars, Butler said that surprises are just part of acting. "It's always about how you're trying to affect somebody else," he said.

The Dune movies avoid the Harkonnens' more problematic traits

In Frank Herbert's "Dune," Baron Harkonnen is portrayed as a sexual deviant in no uncertain terms. It's one part of the novel that fails to hold up under modern-day scrutiny. The baron is the only character heavily implied to be gay, and his sexuality is blended with incestuous and pedophilic desires, gluttony, and violence. The confluence of homosexuality with perversion and evil is obviously deeply problematic, and it makes sense that Denis Villeneuve and his team would want to steer clear of this particular aspect of the Harkonnens.

There are some things that "Dune: Part Two" just gets wrong from the book, but for the most part, the film's changes are understandable and fitting. If you've read the novel, the kiss between Feyd-Rautha and the baron may evoke these more complicated portrayals of the Harkonnens, but the scene has a totally different intonation in the movie. It's not a sexualized moment but an exchange of power. The baron knows that Feyd will likely take his place in the near future, but he maintains the public air of being the one really in charge of the family. By taking control of that public moment with a second kiss, Feyd asserts before the whole crowd that he's really the one running the show now.