Alejandro Jodorowsky's never-made adaptation of Dune is getting a documentary

While we're on the topic of Dalí, news has come out of the Cannes Festival that director Frank Pavich is making a documentary titled Jodorowsky's Dune that delves into the history of Alejandro Jodorowsky's doomed adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel.


Before the 1974-1976 project went belly up, Jodorowsky's production team for Dune was perhaps the most insane who's who in film history. Moebius and H.R. Giger were brought on to do production designs, Alien writer Dan O'Bannon was in charge of special effects, Pink Floyd was slated to do the soundtrack, and the cast included Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, David Carradine, and Hervé Villechaize (Tattoo from Fantasy Island). Also, Dalí was to play the Emperor, for a fee of $100,000 an hour.

As awesome as this cast sounds, this definitely wouldn't be the Dune from the book. The film was going to be in the neighborhood of 14 hours long, and Jodorowsky (El Topo, Santa Sangre) didn't exactly buy Herbert's vision of the book. Here are some of the director's thoughts on the project (via Dune Info):

I did not want to respect the novel, I wanted to recreate it. For me Dune did not belong to Herbert as Don Quixote did not belong to Cervantes, nor Edipo with Esquilo [...] I felt in enthusiastic admiration towards Herbert and at the same time in conflict (I think that the same thing occurred to him)... He obstructed me... I did not want him as a technical adviser ... I did everything to move him away from the project... I had received a version of Dune and I wanted to transmit it: the Myth was to give up the literary form and to become Image...

In film, the Duke Leto (father of Paul) would be a man castrated in a ritual combat in the arenas during a bullfight (emblem of the Atreides house being a crowned bull...) Jessica - nun of the Bene Gesserit -, sent as concubine at the Duke to create a girl which would be the mother of a Messiah, becomes so in love with Leto that she decides to jump a chain link and to create a son, Kwisatz Haderach, the saviour. By using her capacities of Bene Gesserit - once that the Duke, insanely in love with her, entrusts her with his sad secret - Jessica is inseminated by a drop of blood of this sterile man... The camera followed (in script) the red drop through the ovaries of the woman and sees its meeting with the ovule where, by a miraculous explosion, it fertilises it. Paul had been born from a virgin; and not of the sperm of his father but of his blood...

Illustration for article titled Alejandro Jodorowsky's never-made adaptation of Dune is getting a documentary

Even if Jodorowsky's Dune was going to be an unmitigated train wreck, it's good to know that someone's plumbing this lost history.


And if the concept art was an indicator, the film would have been absolutely ba-zonkers. Check out the designs by Moebius, Chris Foss, and H.R. Giger, who, in all likelihood, used his designs for a Japanese stereo ad.


[THR via Slashfilm. Hat tip to our many tipsters.]



Artistic Check

Artist Cameo Check

Bizarre casting Check

Midget Check

Something (and by something I mean everything) lost in novel adaptation Check

Someone was on LSD Check

More than likely to piss off fans of book Check

Castration Check

Orson Wells Check

This might have been the greatest SF train wreck of all time.