The first clip from the forthcoming documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune has been released. You can watch it here below.
The universe works in perplexing ways, especially when it comes to the cinema. There have been more than a few books written about the great films that went unmade for a variety of complex and infuriating reasons. I own three of the best books about the subject: David Hughes’ The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made, Tales from Development Hell, and Chris Gore’s The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made. And every time I read about how we could have had a Spider-Man movie written and directed by James Cameron or a Marx Brothers comedy that would have paired the esteemed comedy trio with legendary filmmaker Billy Wilder or Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verheoven’s medieval war epic Crusade I feel saddened.
There must exist an alternate reality where all these glorious geek projects escaped from the accursed bowels of Development Hell, liberated forever from the locked filing cabinets containing piles of fantastic scripts that were shelved simply so spiteful studio could prevent them from ever being made. I like to believe that reality exists somewhere, and it may never be possible to visit that potentially awe-inspiring world but it would be all worth it if Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s film version of Frank Herbert‘s classic 1965 sci-fi adventure Dune managed to see the light of a film projector.
In 1974 the iconoclastic Chilean filmmaker responsible for such conscience-altering cult classics as El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre signed on to make a film version of Dune that would be financed and produced independently of the Hollywood studio system. With a starting budget of $9 million Jodorowsky assembled a creative team that consisted of influential artists such as Jean “Moebius” Giraud, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss, and Dan O’Bannon and set about writing the screenplay adaptation of Herbert’s beloved novel. The director’s casting wish list was a cornucopia of international talent that included David Carradine, Charlotte Rampling, Mick Jagger, Gloria Swanson, Orson Welles, Alain Delon, and the legendary surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Jodorowsky’s son, Brontis Jodorowsky, was to play the film’s young hero Paul Atreides, and British rock group Pink Floyd agreed to compose and perform the Dune soundtrack. After two years of pre-production the film ran into a shortage of funds and was shut down due also to the sprawling nature of Jodorowsky’s script and a lack of interest from the major American movie studios.
Jodorowsky and his cast and crew were sent packing, but all was not lost: during his time working with Giger, Dan O’Bannon — also a budding screenwriter and filmmaker — became entranced by the Swiss painter’s nightmarish artwork and was influenced by the imagery to write the script that would become the original Alien. Jodorowsky and Moebius would later use the ideas they developed during their time working on Dune to create the comic book series The Incal.
Jodorowsky’s Dune, directed by Frank Pavich, takes a look back at the enormous amount of preparation that the filmmaker and his first-rate creative team put into making Jodorowsky’s grandiose vision for the project a reality through interviews with the filmmaker and several of his surviving collaborators, including Giger and Foss as well as director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) and online film journalists Drew McWeeny and Devin Faraci, original concept artwork, and so forth. As a fan of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Dune, both the book and the subsequent film directed by David Lynch back in 1984, this documentary is high on my list of must-see films this year, that is if it’s released this year. As of now Jodorowsky’s Dune has no U.S. distributor or release date but it’s safe this movie will become a film festival favorite in the near future.
For now please enjoy this clip of Jodorowsky sharing with us his unrealized intentions for the film version of Dune that sadly was never made.
Clearly this was going to be more than just a mere movie for the filmmaker.