Alejandro Jodorowsky says it’s “impossible” to make a good Dune movie. The Chilean filmmaker should know, since he attempted to do it back in the 1970s. Even with collaborators like H.R. Giger, Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, Udo Kier, and Mick Jagger, Jodorowsky was not able to properly tackle Frank Herbert’s iconic source material. With that being said, he will go and check out Denis Villeneuve’s take on Dune when it’s released later this year.
When recently asked about Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, Alejandro Jodorowsky says he’ll see it, “with pleasure, because it will be different. It’s not the same. It’s impossible to do.” David Lynch took a stab at it in 1984 and did not come up with the best results, which Jodorowsky also points out. The director pulls no punches when talking about Lynch’s version. He had this to say.
“The first time they said it was safe to do Dune, and [David Lynch] did it, I was ill, because it was my dream. They showed the picture in Paris, and my son said, ‘You need to see the picture.’ I was ill to do that. Ill. And then they start to show the picture, and step by step, I was so happy, so happy, so happy because it was a sh*tty picture. I realized, Dune, nobody can do it. It’s a legend.”
Alejandro Jodorowsky was used in the publicity for David Lynch’s take on the source material back in the 1980s. “When they’re doing Dune, for the publicity, they said, ‘The picture Jodorowsky cannot do!’ They used me in the publicity.” Denis Villeneuve and Warner Bros. won’t be taking that road this time around. However, if they do, “I’ll take all the publicity for me!” Jodorowsky says. He goes on to say, “But in the darkness, they’re saying, ‘We’ll now do the big enormous picture Jodorowsky didn’t do! We’ll be fantastic! The director is a genius!'” Jodorowsky also notes that, “Nobody can be a genius in Hollywood. Nobody. Because it’s a business.”
While nobody has seen Denis Villeneuve’s Dune yet, there is a massive buzz surrounding the project, thanks to insiders who have seen bits and pieces of footage. We should be receiving our first real look at the movie this month when the trailer arrives with the re-release of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. As for why Frank Herbert’s book is impossible to turn into a movie, Alejandro Jodorowsky believes he knows why. He explains.
“Dune is a book that’s like Proust. It’s science fiction but it’s very, very literary. It’s very difficult to find images to put in the film because pictures are optical. When I had the idea to do that, it was in an ecological [crisis]. I was feeling what all the people feel today. We’re in an ecological problem, because the Earth is changing, and your crazy President doesn’t believe that. That is Dune in the beginning.”
While Alejandro Jodorowsky was not able to make his version of Dune, it did go on to inspire a lot of people, including George Lucas, who took some of those designs and implemented them into Star Wars. Whether or not Denis Villeneuve is the right director for the job remains to be seen, but there are a lot of science fiction fans hoping that he made the right movie. He also has a sequel in development, so that will also help get the story told the right way. The interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky was originally conducted by Indie Wire.