Vista of Brion Tomb of Altivole, Italy. Photograph by Laura Serafin.

Filming of ‘Dune: Part Two’ Movie Starts in Italy, With Florence Pugh

Wider production, with full cast, to commence late-July in Hungary.

On Monday, July 4, the second part of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune movie adaptation started pre-shooting at the Brion Tomb near Altivole, Italy. Verified photographs from local sources have shown substantial crew activity in and around the landmark for days, however the major reveal came with actress Florence Pugh sighted leaving the set, on July 6. Actual filming was expected to take place for two days and the area is allegedly closed off to the public through July 10.

Meanwhile, Deadline reports that full-scale production of Dune: Part Two is now scheduled to commence on July 21, with most of the cast expected to gather at Origo Studios in Budapest, Hungary. This was one of the key locations during filming of the first movie. Dune: Part One also shot scenes in Jordan, Norway, and the United Arab Emirates.

A Trip to the Imperial Capital?

Florence Pugh leaving set, after filming 'Dune: Part Two' scenes at the Brion Tomb.
Florence Pugh leaving Dune: Part Two movie set. Credit: @bishopsanatomy (Twitter)

The Brion Tomb—renovated as recently as 2021—was originally commissioned in 1969 as a monumental burial ground for the Brion family. Architect Carlo Scarpa was committed to the project until his own death in 1978. This L-shaped area, attached to the small cemetery of San Vito, features two sarcophagi under an arcosolium, chapel, and zen garden. Byzantine and Japanese influences are apparent throughout.

Where in the Dune universe does this peaceful environment fit? While there may not be a definite answer until the movie releases in November 2023, the presence of Florence Pugh makes it highly probable they’re filming for scenes set on Kaitain, homeworld of House Corrino. The actress plays the role of Princess Irulan—eldest daughter of the Emperor—and it would fit perfectly story-wise to show her walking through those colorful gardens, perhaps interacting with another member of the court… or a certain visitor.

Further clues are offered by an ornamental set piece, photographed on July 4. A golden door or screen, foreign to this real location, certainly fits the luxury we’d expect from this royal setting. Kaitain is a world known for its splendor, both in terms of towering buildings and alluring environs. This is after all the planet from which Emperor Shaddam IV, played by Christopher Walken, rules over all of the known universe.

Golden ornamentation on set of 'Dune: Part Two' at the Brion Tomb in Italy.
Set decoration at the Brion Tomb. Credit: Anonymous photographer (Dune film Facebook group)

Another possibility, we had considered prior, was that we could see some of these elements as part of a hidden sanctuary within the Fremen sietch. The natives of Arrakis have been working in secret, already for generations, towards the dream of transforming their planet into a paradise. Knowing that this filming involved Pugh; it’s especially unlikely that this scene is related to Caladan, however the architectural design here is reminiscent of some of those locations from Dune: Part One.

Beautiful Gardens in the Dune Universe

Regardless of which exact scene this unique setting will be used for, it’s clear that Denis Villeneuve has a vision for greenery and ornate gardens in the movie. Prior to the director and his crew being first spotted near the Brion Tomb, in mid-June, they were reportedly exploring another iconic location in Italy, namely the Boboli Gardens of Florence.

The scenery there indeed does feel fit for an Imperial court. According to la Repubblica, the production of Dune: Part Two was willing to pay €150,000 for the rights to film onsite for several days. This was rejected, potentially for financial or preservation reasons.

View of the Boboli Gardens in Florence.
Boboli Gardens.

Update (July 6): Write through to reflect confirmed presence of Florence Pugh on set.

Stay tuned to Dune News Net, for our ongoing coverage of Dune: Part Two‘s production and other related news.