The Great Sci-Fi Epic That Never Was
The documentary ''Jodorowsky's Dune'' chronicles renegade filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempt to make a ''Dune'' movie so ambitious it would be a 'prophet;' here's our timeline of the colossal project's colossal collapse
Jodorowsky becomes a cult phenom with his films El Topo and The Holy Mountain.
French producer Michel Seydoux offers Jodorowsky a movie deal. The director wants to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel Dune, even though he’s never read it.
Jodorowsky writes the script in a castle outside Paris and starts putting together a team of “spiritual warriors” who can execute his vision.
He seeks out David Carradine to play heroic leader Liet Kynes. In their first encounter Carradine chugs the director’s $60 supply of vitamin E.
Jodorowsky persuades Orson Welles to join the cast by promising that all his meals will be prepared by the chef of Welles’ favorite restaurant in Paris.
He reportedly runs into Mick Jagger at a party in Paris. Jagger agrees to appear in the movie as Feyd-Rautha, comely teen royalty.
He tracks down Swiss artist H.R. Giger to design the Dune sets. (Giger would later create the titular creature in Alien.)
Jodorowsky agrees to pay Salvador Dalí $100K per minute to play the mad emperor Shaddam Corrino IV.
He casts his son Brontis, then 12, as protagonist Paul Atreides; puts him on a martial-arts training regimen.
He visits Pink Floyd at Abbey Road studios and yells at them for eating Big Macs while he’s explaining his project. They agree to do a Dune soundtrack.
Jodorowsky binds his 3,000 meticulously crafted storyboards into a massive book to impress Hollywood studios; only two copies have survived.
Seydoux and Jodorowsky pitch Dune to Hollywood; studios balk at the $20 million price tag and the director’s unwillingness to compromise on anything, including a proposed run time of 12 to 20 hours.
The project collapses for good. While Giger and F/X maestro Dan O’Bannon go on to films including Alien, Star Wars, and Total Recall, Jodorowsky throws himself into comic books.
Jodorowsky sees David Lynch’s Dune with his sons in Paris. He rejoices that the movie is “awful” and “a failure.”
His first film in 23 years, the autobiographical The Dance of Reality (produced by Seydoux), premieres at the Cannes Film Festival — as does Jodorowsky’s Dune.