Storyboards of failed 1970s ‘Dune’ adaptation up for auction in France

One of the ten storyboard copies for the 1970s 'Dune' adaptation is displayed to the public before an auction at Christie's Paris gallery. The project never went ahead after running out of funding.
One of the ten storyboard copies for the 1970s 'Dune' adaptation is displayed to the public before an auction at Christie's Paris gallery. The project never went ahead after running out of funding. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)
It was one of the greatest cinema collaborations never to go ahead bringing together Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger and Pink Floyd. Its storyboards will be sold in Paris on Monday.

It has entered film folklore as one of the great missed opportunities: the doomed 1970s adaptation of ‘Dune’ that was supposed to bring together Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger and Pink Floyd.

The project famously collapsed after four years of work by cult Franco-Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, but now his storyboards are going up for auction in Paris on Monday. 

With a new version of ‘Dune’ starring Timothee Chalamet packing cinemas around the world in recent weeks, interest in Jodorowsky’s version has been reignited and Christie’s is valuing the drawings at 25,000 to 35,000 euros ($28,000 to $40,000). 

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They are collected in one large notebook, and were made by celebrated French graphic novelist Moebius (alias Jean Giraud, who died in 2012) and Swiss illustrator Giger, who went on to design ‘Alien’ in 1979 and died in 2014.

The tumultuous project was due to include surrealist Dali, Rolling Stones frontman Jagger, actor-director Orson Welles and silver screen legend Gloria Swanson in the cast, with Pink Floyd among the bands approached for the soundtrack. 

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It collapsed for lack of funding — a story retold in the 2013 documentary ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’.

The brainchild of author Frank Herbert, ‘Dune’ was first published in 1965 and became a six-volume space opera of massive influence, not least on ‘Star Wars’.

Following the latter’s blockbuster success, Hollywood took renewed interest in ‘Dune’ in the early 1980s. 

That led to David Lynch’s version, released in 1984 with a cast including British musician Sting and Patrick Stewart of ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’, which had its own troubles and became one of the decade’s biggest flops. 

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Jodorowsky’s storyboards have taken on mythical overtones among sci-fi fans — said to have influenced later genre hits including ‘Blade Runner’. 

“We know of several other copies: one was offered for auction several years ago, another is in Jodorowsky’s possession… A third has been partially reproduced online,” said Christie’s. 

It said around 10 to 20 copies were produced, though it was hard to be certain.


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