Dune: Part Two opens today, and no doubt intending to capitalize on a big box office weekend and Austin Butler’s sure-to-be-talked-about explosive performance therein, Focus Features dropped a new trailer for The Bikeriders, starring Butler, Tom Hardy, and Jodie Comer. 


I continue to be very invested in this film, both as a fan of director Jeff Nichols, and as a fan of Danny Lyon’s photo essay of the same name that inspired Nichols to make this film. I have the book, and it’s a dream to one day have the wall space and money to buy prints from The Bikeriders and hang them like a mini-gallery. My favorite photo from the essay is “Memorial Day Run, Milwaukee, 1966”, featuring the coolest chick ever. I really hope the film recreates this shot.


This new trailer puts Butler front and center, but it also lays out the plot: two guys start a “riding club” that morphs into one of the first and biggest outlaw motorcycle clubs in America. A woman is caught in the middle, Kathy, played by Jodie Comer. Kathy is a prominent figure in the photo essay, just as her husband, Benny, played by Butler, features in many of the photos, too. Everyone has aggressive Chicago accents, but credit to Austin “Extended Elvis Voice” Butler for doing the most grounded and realistic take out of the central three actors. I maintain that like Southern accents, the Chicago accent is hard to do and easily slides into caricature and it’s probably best just not to try, but Butler doesn’t sound like he’s pushing it very hard. He’s just landing on that flat “A” and calling it a day. 


While Dune 2 is expected to be one of the biggest films of the year, The Bikeriders is aiming for sleeper success as counterprogramming to the bigger popcorn movies of the summer. It’s not a bad move, especially with Butler featured heavily—Comer has top billing but they’re selling this as an “Austin Butler movie”, which makes The Bikeriders the first movie to do so (Elvis was a Baz Luhrmann movie first, an Elvis movie second). Between Dune and The Bikeriders, we’re about to find out if Austin Butler has the goods to be a real movie star. He certainly has the chops to be a formidable talent, but Austin Butler’s movie star test starts now.