‘Dune’ Star Austin Butler Put on an All-New Voice to Play Evil Prince: ‘The Baron Would Be a Big Influence’

“I started thinking about the way that he speaks, and that being linked to the person that you see with the most power from the time that you’re a child,” Butler explains

Austin Butler
Austin Butler attends the screening of "Elvis" during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 25, 2022 in Cannes, France (Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

In a pivot from his Oscar-nominated portrayal of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” Austin Butler created an all-new voice to play the evil prince Feyd-Rautha in “Dune: Part Two.”

In the sequel film to Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 blockbuster, Butler wears a bald cap and dons pale skin makeup, and his chilling vocals bear no resemblance to the Southern accent it took him so long to craft (and get rid of) to play Elvis Presley.

“I felt that because he grew up with the Baron, the Baron would be a big influence on him in many ways,” Butler said in a cover story for Entertainment Weekly published Tuesday. “So then I started thinking about the way that he speaks, and that being linked to the person that you see with the most power from the time that you’re a child, who you do end up emulating in some way.”

Played by Stellan Skarsgård, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen is Feyd-Rautha’s uncle. The despotic villain plotted the downfall of House Atreides, Paul’s (Timothée Chalamet) family, in the first film. He even has the Emperor (to be portrayed by Christopher Walken) in his oily clutches.

Butler described the dark prince he portrays as a “psychopath swordmaster mixed with Mick Jagger.” He also explained the harsh conditions in which he filmed his debut scene as Feyd-Rautha, a sequence in which the prince fights a trio of opponents in a gladiator arena to prove himself as heir to the Baron in House Harkonnen. 

“It was 110 degrees and so hot,” Butler recalled. “I had the bald cap on, and it was between two soundstages that were just these gray boxes of 200-foot walls and sand. It became like a microwave. There were people passing out from heatstroke. And that was just my first week.”

Butler, who had to go to the hospital after he wrapped filming “Elvis,” embraced another moment to give acting his all.

“It really bonds the entire crew,” he said. “There’s something so humbling about being in such an uncomfortable environment.” 

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