David Lynch’s ‘Dune’ poster cutout
The adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic, Dune, had its Hollywood debut in 1984 by David Lynch and producer Dino DeLaurentis. However, the complexity of the novel was too vast to fit into a single film of just over two hours. The movie miserably failed to capture all the nuances of the book, leading to chaos on the set.
Previous attempts by other directors had failed before Lynch, including Alejandro Jodorowsky, who couldn’t adapt the story due to the mammoth requirements, and Ridley Scott, who also abandoned the project after realizing it needed more resources.
Lynch’s vision was to adapt the novel into an eight-hour movie, but after discussions with the producers, he agreed to reduce the footage to five hours. Still, DeLaurentis kept the final cut and reduced the film’s duration to 137 minutes without Lynch’s approval.
Recreating the planet Arrakis in all its splendor was a daunting task that required an almost unfathomable amount of resources. Therefore, the producers moved the filming to Mexico, where labor and equipment rentals were cheaper. They managed to build 80 sets in a total of 16 locations and have more than 20,000 extras without exceeding the production cost. However, they also had to make some gruesome cuts, such as building costumes out of body bags.
Bob Ringwood, the two-time Oscar-nominated costume designer who worked with Lynch on this production, analyzed the costumes of the characters, creatures, and organizations that make up the planet Arakis. He explained the sinister aspect of the Space Guild Navigators, whose costumes were made of body bags. He revealed that the San Diego fire department found these body bags, used and painted with tar, in an abandoned fire station. When they opened them, they found remains of decomposed bodies in liquid form. Despite the disruption, they used them, modifying and disinfecting the bags, but did not tell any of the actors.
Almost 40 years later, we are preparing to receive the second part of the version directed by Denis Villeneuve with all the enthusiasm that his first trailer is causing. Dune – Part Two opens on November 17TH.