Austin Butler Praises Zendaya as 'Queen' and Reflects on Childhood Encounter

Stars Revisit Early Days in Unexpected Trip Down Memory Lane.

by Nouman Rasool
Austin Butler Praises Zendaya as 'Queen' and Reflects on Childhood Encounter
© Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

In a recent visit to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Austin Butler, renowned for his portrayal in "Elvis," shared insights into his journey with Zendaya, his co-star in the highly anticipated "Dune: Part Two." The actors, both of whom started their careers on the Disney Channel, have indeed traversed a significant path since their early days in the entertainment industry.

Butler, 32, was on the show to promote the sequel to the sci-fi epic "Dune," where he revealed that Zendaya, aged 27, was initially slated to join him but had to bow out due to illness. "Her voice is completely gone," he explained, lauding her dedication for attending the film's screening despite her condition and affectionately dubbing her "such a queen."

Nostalgic First Meeting

The conversation took a nostalgic turn when Fallon inquired about the duo's first encounter.

Contrary to the common assumption that their paths crossed through Disney Channel engagements, Butler clarified that their actual first meeting was during a "Teen Vogue" shoot in 2012. This revelation was accompanied by a throwback clip from the shoot, showcasing a younger Butler ambitiously expressing his desire to play an American James Bond—with a British accent, no less—a moment that, upon reflection, made him laughingly question his younger self's aspirations.

Zendaya's career soared with leading roles in Disney's "K.C. Undercover" and "Shake It Up," whereas Butler made appearances in "Wizards of Waverly Place" and ventured into Nickelodeon territory, highlighting their versatile acting backgrounds.

Their reconnection for "Dune: Part Two" not only signifies their growth as actors but also marks a full-circle moment from their youth. In "Dune: Part Two," Butler takes on the role of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, a pivotal character in the saga's unfolding drama.

The film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, also features return performances from Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, alongside newcomers such as Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh. This sequel promises to delve deeper into the epic's lore, exploring Paul Atreides' quest for vengeance and the complex dynamics of love and destiny.

Butler's encounter with Sting, who originally portrayed Feyd-Rautha in David Lynch's 1984 adaptation, at the New York City premiere was a standout moment for the actor, bridging the past with the present in this enduring saga.

Austin Butler