In 1974, cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to create the big-screen adaptation. As well as enticing some of the greatest actors of the time, Jodorowsky enlisted some of the most promising writers and artists. Without these meetings, some of the most iconic sci-fi cinema productions would never have been made.
Herbert traveled to Europe in 1976 to find that $2 million of the $9.5 million budget had already been spent in pre-production, and that Jodorowsky's script would result in a 14-hour film. "It was the size of a phone book," Herbert later recalled.
Jodorowsky took creative liberties with the source material, but Herbert said that he and Jodorowsky had an amicable relationship. The project ultimately stalled for financial reasons. The film rights lapsed until 1982, when they were purchased by Italian filmmaker Dino De Laurentiis, who eventually released the 1984 film Dune, directed by David Lynch.
Even though production collapsed after two years, Jodorowsky's team of then-relatively unknown concept artists continued exploring the themes and styles started on the project and ended up changing modern science fiction forever.
H.R. Giger went on to Ridley Scott's masterpiece Alien, Dan O'Bannon wrote Alien and Total Recall, Jean "Moebius" Giraud created artwork and futuristic worlds for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Tron, and The Fifth Element, and Chris Foss would go on to work on Alien and Superman. Jodorowsky's films Sante Sangre, El Topo, and The Holy Mountain have recently been released on Blu-ray in the U.S.
Director Frank Pavich of Jodorowsky's Dune tackles one of cinema's most enthralling "what could have been" stories, weaving interviews with the charismatic Jodorowsky, his collaborators, and supporters, together with animation to bring Moebius' storyboards to life. Even though the project exists only in the imaginations of its creators and as the hundreds of illustrations they left behind, Pavich's documentary chooses not to dwell on failure, but rather celebrates the ways in which the creative dreams of Dune planted seeds for many other iconic films that came after it.
This is an inspirational story about the power of the creative spirit, one that establishes Jodorowsky as a master of cinema and a true visionary of our time. Jodorowsky's Dune will available on DVD and Blu-ray on July 8, 2014.
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