Cannes 2011: JODOROWSKY'S DUNE Underway at Last!

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
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Cannes 2011: JODOROWSKY'S DUNE Underway at Last!
It's a documentary and not the full-blown narrative feature we've craved for decades, but at last a full accounting of Alejandro Jodorowsky's unrealized version of Frank Herbert's "Dune" will see the light of day. Titled Jodorowsky's Dune, the documentary is being directed by Frank Pavich and is already well underway.

The news broke earlier today (thanks to a tweet by Travis Stevens, who's serving as one of the film's producers), at trade publication Screen Daily (subscriber only) and The Hollywood Reporter. Interviews in Europe with Jodorowsky, the great designer H.R. Giger, and "other surviving members of the original team" have been completed, according to THR, and the filmmakers are now moving to the U.S. to complete the second half of the production.  

Way back in the mists of time, I attended a book signing by Frank Herbert at A Change of Hobbit, a bookstore in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Mr. Herbert, who was kind, friendly, and down to earth, was asked about a movie version, and he said he was excited that Jodorowsky was in the midst of preparations. At the time, as a budding cinephile, I had no freakin' idea who this "Jodorowsky" was, but if Mr. Herbert gave him his stamp of approval, I figured I better find out, which led me to El Topo and The Holy Mountain and a whole other region of phenomenal cinema.

Personal stories aside, tidbits about Jodorowsky's version have leaked out over the years. For example, Hasko Baumann's breezy and informative Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures, which I reviewed when it played at Fantastic Fest in 2007, included looks at some of the concept art created by Jean Giraud. But now, we'll get the whole story.

Pavich previously made N.Y.H.C., a raw, honest, well-made look at the underground hardcore music scene, and so I have high hopes for Jodorowsky's Dune. While we wait, check out the "Unseen Dune" section of the site Dune Behind the Scenes.

And for further commentary on the project, rejoice that our friend Grady Hendrix wrote an entire article about at his fine website, complete with commentary, cast breakdown, images (one of which we have borrowed) and insight.  
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Frank PavichAlejandro JodorowskyAmanda LearBrontis JodorowskyChris FossDocumentary

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Around the Internet

jcaplesMay 13, 2011 3:52 AM

Peter, has Moebius' artwork for Dune ever been collected? I've seen some of it here and there, in print and on the web, and was always puzzled why someone couldn't have thrown that together as a book.

Ard VijnMay 13, 2011 4:17 AM

An interesting amount of "surviving members of the original team" is still with us at the moment, so I hope the documentary will shed some light on any chances of a reboot prehaps?

Joshua ChaplinskyMay 13, 2011 10:43 AM

This is fantastic. Jodorowsky's ideas for Dune were crazy.

Kurt HalfyardMay 13, 2011 2:58 PM

As an addict of all thing DUNE (except, curiously for the novels themselves) this doco cannot come soon enough.

And I quite like 'the fallout' from Jodorowsky's failed production, we got ALIEN and we got David Lynch's very much underrated sci-fi vision.

AirchinapilotMay 13, 2011 3:23 PM

I really wish the SyFy version hadn't been done so that we could get an HBO version a la "Game of Thrones". I'm a huge fan of the Lynch film -- warts and all (ha) -- which deserved a series rather than cramming it all into a messy feature-length version.

Sean "The Butcher" SmithsonMay 14, 2011 8:03 AM

Ooooh neat, a doc on the Jodorowsky DUNE. There seems to be quite a bit of info out, but this promises to be THE last word on the film that never was.

That said -

Hmmm. I need to see NYHC. It's very rare filmmakers get the scene right. Easier in doc form though, so it's probably pretty good. But holy ugh, when filmmakers try to get the hardcore scene in narrative it's always tragic. Bruce McDonald's HARDCORE LOGO is really really really off base, as is the recent pic about Muslim punks, which I forget the title of at the moment.
I digress, but I will end by saying music oriented films based on an underground scene, or something so elusive as "punk" should only be done by people who lived it (I know Billy Talent is in HARDCORE LOGO, but he aint no Sammytown from FANG or Nick Blinko from RUDIMENTARY PENI)