After Being Cut From Dune 2, Tim Blake Nelson Has A Humorously Honest Take That Involves An A+ Stanley Kubrick Story

 Tim Blake Nelson in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
Tim Blake Nelson in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Tim Blake Nelson is one of the most recognizable character actors of our time, with credits that include Lincoln, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and O Brother, Where Art Thou? The star has been performing in mostly supporting roles for years, and it seems like he still has career hits and misses. Nelson was recently cut out of the monster blockbuster Dune: Part Two, which was a big bummer for the actor. However, he still is keeping his head held high, and he even shared a funny Stanley Kubrick story to give some perspective.

In a recent interview on the Inside of You podcast, the star chatted about his professional highs and lows, including his experiences working with auteur directors like Steven Spielberg and The Coen Brothers. He also opened up about being cut out of the latest Dune flick, having been told his scenes made the movie too long. While this may have truly been the case, he still felt like the cut could’ve been a reflection of his own performance. He said told podcast host Michael Rosenbaum:

Of course, one always wonders, as an actor, whether if you’d just been a little better, then they wouldn’t have been able to excise that scene.

This likely is more of his own personal desire to be the best he can be rather a real reflection on why his scenes may have been cut. After all, Part Two, in its final form, was close to three hours long, so cuts were inevitable. Director Denis Villeneuve admitted to cutting some of his favorite Dune scenes from the first film, including one involving Josh Brolin singing. Stephen McKinley Henderson's scenes were cut from the massive sequel as well, so Tim Blake Nelson Nelson shouldn’t take it too personally.

However, this conversation did prompt a great story about an actor friend of the Incredible Hulk star's, who ended up being fired from Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut. Tim Blake Nelson recalled the tale, which sounds like a somewhat surreal experience, saying in the YouTube clip:

I won’t say the actor’s name, because I don’t wanna embarrass him or her, but it’s such a funny story. I had a friend who went to do Eyes Wide Shut, and he/she was playing a nice role and did a couple of days. And Stanley Kubrick came and knocked on his/her door and took him/her down the hall and put him/her in front of a monitor and said, ‘I want to show you your scenes.’ And showed the scenes and his/her coverage. And then [he] proceeded to say, ‘I’m going to let you go. It’s not working.’ And then he said, ‘It’s not you, it’s me. It’s not you, it’s me.’ And this person, of course, said, ‘Yeah, right.’

This is a somewhat surprising story about Stanley Kubrick, who has a thorny reputation. There are stories about the acclaimed director, such as him allegedly putting Shelley Duvall through hell while making The Shining. A Clockwork Orange BTS fact also involves him making the film a torturous production for Malcolm McDowell. This is one of those rare stories where it seems Kubrick was trying to let an actor down easy, despite the sentiment not really sticking.

Tim Blake Nelson shared this story to convey that he can’t imagine a skillful director like Denis Villeneuve to be the one who couldn’t get those since-omitted Dune: Part Two scenes to work. That's in the same way that Nelson couldn’t imagine the 2001: A Space Odyssey helmer being the one to blame for his friend's performance. Ultimately, even in his own disappointment, Nelson still had some sweet sentiments to share about working with Villeneuve and co.:

So there’s a part of me that’s saying, ‘Yeah, right. Denis Villeneuve. It’s that the movie was too long. It’s not that I fucked the performance up.’ … But I love Denis. I had a great time, and I hope I get to do something with him again. I would still go over and do the part just for being directed by him and filmed by Greg Fraser and working with Josh Brolin. I would go do it again even knowing I was cut out of it, because I had a great time.

Considering how great the character actor has proven to be, I doubt the cut was a reflection on his performance. However, it’s great to hear that he had a wonderful time on set, regardless and, hopefully, this team can collaborate again in the near future. There is a Dune: Messiah in the works, so there’s always a chance we can see him return to the sprawling, sand-filled franchise.

It may be a while before another collaboration comes into fruition but, in the meantime, Tim Blake Nelson fans can still see the actor in his upcoming film, Greedy People, which is expected to hit theaters in October. For more information on other exciting titles heading to the big screen soon, make sure to consult our 2024 movie release schedule. Also, know that Dune: Part Two will begin streaming for Max subscribers on May 21.