Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“Alien”: This movie wouldn’t have been made if it weren’t for the failure of the first “Dune”

Is there a chance that a film that no one has seen could influence contemporary cinematography? As you can guess, absolutely, because not only was a great legend created, but we also got one of the most recognizable science fiction films.

If it weren’t for the failure of an attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s “Dune” to the screen, it would be well known to everyone “Alien: 8th Passenger of the Nostromo” it could never have been created.

Alejandro Jodorowsky he dreamed of a movie. It was supposed to be an artistic and ambitious experience, requiring huge funds. And that was it the first step to the fall of the giant.

The film was to last over ten hours, and the cast was to include names that still arouse admiration: Salvador Dali, who asked for enormous amounts of money for every hour spent on the set, Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, and the music was to be provided by the cult band Pink Floyd.

Where did the idea to direct “Dune” come from? Because Jodorowsky knew that in Hollywood, a film adaptation of this novel is considered impossible. It is true that the artist himself had never read Herbert’s novel, but he knew from his friends that it was a unique story. He saw this as an extraordinary opportunity for himself. Apparently both men (director and writer) liked each other, but Jodorowsky did everything to distance the author from the newly created work.

“I didn’t want to respect the novel, I wanted to create it anew. In my opinion, Dune did not belong to Herbert, just as Don Quixote did not belong to Cervantes, or Oedipus Rex did not belong to Aeschylus (sic!),” said Jodorowsky in a documentary about “Dune”, which was not made.

Dan O’Bannon, who was not well known at that time, was supposed to work on the visual effects of “Dune”, and although Jodorowsky’s great vision did not come to fruition, the path to creating another famous spectacle opened up for O’Bannon.

O’Bannon’s adventure began after Jodorowsky’s Dune was canceled. The visual effects specialist had to leave Parisbecause he was left with no money and no apartment. He experienced a nervous breakdown, but he did not abandon the film world and started writing scripts. As it turned out, it was one of the things that were supposed to help him repair his budget.

“I needed money, and the only way I could think of to make it and get off Ronnie’s sofa was to write a screenplay…”

Thanks to the support of another screenwriter and writer with whom he stayed during this difficult time, Ronald Shusett, a script was created entitled “Star Beast”, which, after being bought by Fox, was renamed the well-known “Alien”.

While working on this cult production, many people who had previously collaborated on Jodorowsky’s film met: Jean Giraud, i.e. famous comic book author, painter Hans Rudolf Giger, responsible for creating the iconic xenomorph costume, or Chris Foss – graphic designer and illustrator.

Thanks to a film that was never made, the foundations were laid for another cult science fiction work, which then became a huge franchise. The director himself claims that if only he managed to finish “Dune”, its impact on cinema would be absolutely revolutionary, and everything would have worked if it weren’t for these stingy producers.