The “Dune” prequel series at HBO Max from Legendary Television has cast Emily Watson and Shirley Henderson in lead roles, variety has learned.
Officially titled “Dune: The Sisterhood,” the series was ordered at HBO Max in June 2019. The show is set 10,000 years before the events of “Dune” and is based on the novel “Sisterhood of Dune” by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson. Per the official logline, the show “follows the Harkonnen Sisters as they combat forces that threaten the future of humankind, and establish the fabled sect known as the Bene Gesserit”
Watson will play Valya Harkonnen and Henderson will play Tula Harkonnen. The character descriptions say the two sisters “have risen to power in the Sisterhood, a secret organization of women who will go on to become the Bene Gesserit.”
Watson is a two-time best actress Oscar nominee — one for her work in “Breaking the Waves” and another for “Hilary and Jackie.” Her other film credits include “Gosford Park,” “Red Dragon,” and “The Book Thief.” In television, she earned an Emmy nomination for her supporting role in the hit HBO limited series “Chernobyl.” She has also starred in shows like “The Third Day,” “Genius,” and the 2017 miniseries version of “Little Women.”
She is repped by Independent Talent Group, UTA, and Schreck Rose.
Henderson is perhaps best known to American audiences for playing Moaning Myrtle in the films “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” as well as for her roles in the “Bridget Jones” franchise. Henderson has also starred in films like “Trainspotting,” “Okja,” and “24 Hour Party People.”
She is repped by Hamilton Hodell and Goodman Genow.
variety exclusively reported that Diane Ademu-John is the creator, co-showrunner, and executive producer on “Dune: The Sisterhood.” Alison Schapker serves as co-showrunner and executive producer. Johan Renck will direct the premiere episode and executive produce. Renck previously worked with Watson on “Chernobyl.”
Denis Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts, Scott Z. Burns, Matthew King, John Cameron and Cait Collins executive produce with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert for the Frank Herbert estate. Anderson serves as co-producer. The series is co-produced by HBO Max and Legendary TV.
Legendary is also producing the recent film reboot of “Dune.” The first of the two planned films was released in October 2021, grossing just over $400 million worldwide. The sequel is currently in production and is expected to be released in November 2023. Villeneuve is the director of both films, with Spaihts and Villeneuve writing the screenplays of both films as well.
“Dune” won six Academy Award nominations after its release, and also received nominations for best picture and best adapted screenplay.