Alejandro Jodorowsky’s DUNE

Looking at unmade Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films and television…

Dune book

The movie of Frank Herbert’s Dune, attempt 2.

Frank Herbert's Dune

BACKGROUND

Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel Dune, won the 1966 Hugo award and was followed by the sequel Children of Dune in 1969.  Associate Producer Robert Greenhut convinced Arthur P Jacobs to purchase the rights to Dune, which his company, AJPAC did in 1971…

Arthur P Jacob’s DUNE.

Jacob’s fatal 1973 heart attack lead to the rights being sold to a French consortium.

Dune Pirate Ship by Chris Foss

DEVELOPMENT

After El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973), Alejandro Jodorowsky was chosen to direct the film and began to gather a group of spiritual and passionate people to work with him on his, not completely faithful script.

  • Jean “Mœbius” Giraud, a French comic book artist who did westerns under his own name and science fiction as Mœbius.  Giraud did the storyboard for the film.
  • Dan O’Bannon, who co-wrote, edited, starred in and did effects for Jon Carpenter’s Dark Star (1974) to do the effects.
  • Chris Foss, a science fiction cover artist to do the spacecraft and HR Giger to the Harkonnen homeworld.
  • Salvador Dali was invited to play  Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, but only accepted if he could be the highest played actor ever.  He was offered $100,000 per minute of screen time, and the part was written so that the Emperor, fearing assassination usually appeared as a robot duplicate (using a puppet.)
  • Orson Welles agreed to play Baron Vladimir Harkonnen after Jodorowsky promised to have the chef from his favourite restaurant on set.
  • David Carradine agreed to play Leto Atreides with the character’s son, and the film’s central character,  Paul Atreides, to be played by Jodorowsky’s own son, Brontis Jodorowsky.

 

Original-Dune-poster

CANCELLATION

The producers went to America looking for funding.  Although there was some interest in the film, Jodorowsky and his passion to stick his vision made US companies unwilling to commit to the project.

 giger_castle_harkonnen

LEGACY

  • O’Bannon would later write Alien (1979) which Giger, Foss and Giraud would work on.
  • Jodoworosky would go on to write the comics “The Incal,” (with art by Giraud) “The Techno-Priests” and “The Metabarons” all set in the “Jodoverse” or “Metabarons Universe.”  The stories used unused images and ideas from Jodoworosky’s Dune.
  • A version of Giger’s Harkonnen palace would appear as the Engineer’s base in Prometheus.
  • The 2013 documentary Jodoworosky’s Dune details the failed attempt.

~ DUG.

Jodorowsky

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