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Why Dune 2's Director Had To Cut A Very Specific Curse Word - 'I'm Sorry, I Failed'

As the man behind movies like "Blade Runner 2049," "Arrival," and the "Dune" films, Denis Villeneuve is probably used to answering all sorts of strange questions. In a red carpet interview during the "Dune: Part Two" opening in Montreal, the filmmaker came prepared and brought a strange story to the table. As it turns out, the Quebec native tried and failed to insert a very specific Montreal Easter egg in "Dune: Part Two" — a particular regional curse word, "tabarnak."


Director of Dune Denis Villeneuve (and Quebecker) reveals! #dune #duneparttwo #denisvilleneuve #dunepart2 #timotheechalamet

♬ original sound – BuzzFeed Canada

"I was convinced that if I was able to put the word 'tabarnak' in one of the movies, it would please the people from Montreal," Villeneuve said. "But I asked Josh Brolin to use the word at one point and it didn't work out. It doesn't live well in the mouth of an American. I'm sorry, I failed, I failed."

The swear word, which is also spelled "tabernak," comes from the word tabernacle – meaning a house of worship — and is used as an all-purpose profanity in the Montreal area. Despite Villeneuve's grand idea and Brolin's no doubt valiant attempt at pronunciation, the word ultimately failed to make the leap into the "Dune" universe, presumably saving casual tourists a ton of confusion about why the locals in Montreal keep swearing like the guy in "Dune: Part Two." 

More movies and TV shows should follow Villeneuve's example

Under the right circumstances, an exotic-sounding swear word like "tabarnak" might fit right in a movie that features people whose names range from Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler) to, well, Gurney Halleck (Brolin). Nevertheless, Denis Villeneuve's decision to omit the profanity just because it sounded a bit wrong for the occasion is incredibly on-brand for a director known for his vision.

Villeneuve choosing to leave out a curse word he really would have liked to include indeed shows rare restraint that's all the more notable considering all the times movies and shows have made characters swear whether it fits the project or not. The very first episode of Netflix's "Avatar: The Last Airbender" also features the series' first swear word when Lieutenant Jee (Ruy Iskandar) uses mild profanity, which arguably comes across as an unnecessary shock tactic. Speaking of which, Xoop deemed the much-hyped Marvel Cinematic Universe occasion of Chris Pratt dropping the MCU's first F-bomb in "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3" one of the worst MCU moments of 2023 – because Star-Lord lashing out at Nebula (Karen Gillan) that randomly and harshly is both pointless and overkill.

Sure, there's a time and a place for actors who keep swearing in movies. However, it's arguably rarer and more noble to restrain from throwing in profanity just for the sake of it — which is precisely what Villeneuve did in "Dune: Part Two."