The 53-year-old director - who is at the helm for the adaptation of Frank Hertbert's iconic space novel - revealed the impact the 25-year-old actress had and how he instantly saw her character come to life.
Speaking in the October issue of British Vogue magazine, he said: "I remember meeting Chani for the very first time when Zendaya made me believe that she has been raised on an alien planet, in the deep desert, in the roughest environment.
“We all know Zendaya is a brilliant actress but I was particularly amazed by the high precision of her acting skills, her intelligence, her graceful patience and her great generosity.
"She’s one of the most professional artists I’ve ever worked with.”
The filmmaker's comments come after he revealed he already has big plans for a sequel to the movie if and when a follow-up gets greenlit by the studio.
He explained: "When you make a movie in two parts, when you do the first part you have to know what you're going to do in the second part.
"So I will say that I will be very ready to go quite quickly."
He did note there is a lot of work to be done before any potential shoot, with plenty of preparation needed.
He added: "To go quickly in a movie of that size, you still need to make sets, costumes, so we are talking about months."
However, Villeneuve insisted he's already done enough prep that he could jump into action next year if there's interest in a follow-up blockbuster.
He added: "If ever there's enthusiasm and the movie is green lit sooner than later, I will say that I will be ready to shoot in 2022, for sure. 2022, for sure.
"I would love to because I am ready to go, and I will say that I would love to bring it to the screen as soon as possible."
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