Before Denis Villeneuve managed to stage his version of Dune, Alejandro Jodorowski broke his teeth trying to stage his own. Back on a funny anecdote concerning Charlotte Rampling, who turned down a role at the time.
Adapting Dune on the big screen was not easy as the work of Frank Herbert is so rich and abundant. Before Denis Villeneuve managed to deliver his version, David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky both attempted to deliver theirs, without success.
Despite the difficulties, the director of Twin Peaks still managed to release his film on the big screen in 1984, unfortunately butchered by the studios. As for the filmmaker to whom we owe El Topo, he had to abandon his project at the end of the 1970s. The company was too ambitious, too expensive, too crazy, as the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune (2016) relates.
The director spent a considerable amount of time trying to make this film, bringing together an incredible troupe of talents, from David Carradine to Orson Welles, including Alain Delon and Salvador Dalí. Among these big names, a young woman in her thirties had caught the eye of Jodorowsky: Charlotte Rampling.
The filmmaker offers him the role of Jessica Atréides, mother of Paul, who should have been played by Brontis Jodorowsky, son of the director. In Villeneuve’s version, Rebecca Ferguson plays this character opposite Timothée Chalamet. Rampling takes the script that Alejandro hands him and begins to read it.
The actress then returns to the director to give him a categorical refusal. Out of the question for her to play in this production. “In the script, there was a character called Rabban. He and his army had to pull down their pants and shit. [pour insulter le duc Leto, campé par David Carradine]. So she said to me: “But I can’t act in a movie that pisses off two thousand people!” She is the only actress who despised Dune “, said Alejandro Jodorowsky.
It is therefore for a story of excrement that Charlotte Rampling declined the filmmaker’s offer. Ironically, she will slip into the costume of Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in the Dune de Villeneuve, more than 40 years later.
Note that Jodorowsky also had to deal with the whims of Salvador Dalí, who demanded 100,000 dollars an hour to play Emperor Shaddam IV. The famous artist also demanded a sequence in which he sits on a toilet adorned with two crossed dolphins. Their two mouths were to be used to separate urine from stool. “Because the pee and the poo must not mix, it is too unsightly”, he had declared.
Definitely, with all these stories around human excrement, it is not surprising that Michel Seydoux, producer of the film, decided to flush the toilet in order to evacuate this project into the sewers of the aborted works.
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE TRAILER