David Lynch’s ‘Dune’ Poster Cutout: A Chaotic Production with Macabre Measures
Before the release of the new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic ‘Dune’, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, there was David Lynch and producer Dino DeLaurentis’ adaptation in 1984. Despite being a vindicable film, it failed to capture all the nuances of the book due to the immense requirements that the story required to be brought to the screen.
Other directors failed before Lynch in their attempts to bring ‘Dune’ to life, including Chilean Alejandro Jodorowsky in the 70s and Ridley Scott. Lynch’s vision was to adapt the novel into an eight-hour movie, but after discussions with producers, he eventually agreed to cut the footage to five hours. DeLaurentis kept the final cut and, without Lynch’s approval, reduced the length to 137 minutes. Lynch was so angry that he never worked in Hollywood production again.
Recreating the planet Arrakis in all its splendor required an almost unfathomable amount of resources with a budget of 40 million dollars. To save costs, filming was moved to Mexico where labor and equipment rental were cheaper. The team built 80 sets in a total of 16 sets and had more than 20,000 extras, including costumes made 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. Among them, he explains the sinister aspect of the Space Guild Navigators made from used body bags. The costume designer admits that the bags could date from the 1940s and when they opened them, they found remains of decomposed bodies in liquid form. Despite this, they used the bags anyway, without telling any of the actors.
Although this story remained in the DVD extras without much media noise, now almost forty 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.