(Note: Please fire up "Zendaya Is Meechee" on YouTube for the ideal experience whilst reading this article.)
On the heels of yesterday's thirst-trapping Dune casting news comes yet another excellent addition to Denis Villeneuve's ensemble: Per Collider, Zendaya is in talks to join Villeneuve's new adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel. The actress, best known for her roles in The Greatest Showman and Spider-Man: Homecoming, will play the role of Chani, which would make her the love interest for Timothee Chalamet's Paul Atreides.
In the original story, Chani is a warrior tasked with protecting Paul on his journey. (I love how everyone has sci-fi names in this like Chani and Harkonnen and Beast Rabban, and then there's... Paul.) Anyhow, Chani is literally Paul's dream girl – she pops up in his dreams long before the two even meet.
Zendaya's casting follows yesterday's announcement that Oscar Isaac will play Duke Leto, the (literal) daddy of Chalamet's Paul, joining an ensemble that includes Blade Runner 2049 star Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban, Stellan Skarsgaard as the antagonist Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica (Paul's mom), and Charlotte Rampling as Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam (of the Massachusetts Mohiams?!).
For the unfamiliar, Dune is a futuristic sci-fi tale in which various families are in charge of individual planets, with the noble house of Atreides taking control of the desert planet Arrakis – the only source of a highly-coveted and extremely valuable substance known as spice melange. Once the Atreides family takes charge of Arrakis, it sparks an interstellar battle over the planet and its resources.
Villeneuve is directing the adaptation (planned as the first of two parts) with Greig Fraser (Rogue One, Zero Dark Thirty) serving as cinematographer. A release date has yet to be revealed, but given the epic scope of this one, I doubt it'll be a quick turnaround.