Auction house Christie’s recently announced the upcoming sale of one of the very few known copies of the Dune storyboard for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unmade adaptation of the pioneering science-fiction novel by Frank Herbert.
Coming up for sale in a “Livres rares et Manuscrits” (“Rare Books and Manuscripts” sale on 22nd November 2021, this rare document features a cover by acclaimed SF artist Chris Foss, and has an estimated sale value of €25,000 – 35,000 (£21,000 – 30,000).
The unmade film project was to have featured the talents of Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius, Chris Foss and H. R. Giger as art directors, Pink Floyd and Magma on the soundtrack and star Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, David Carradine and Alain Delon.
“[This is] an extraordinary artifact from one of the most iconic science fiction filmic adaptations,” notes Vincent Belloy, Christie’s Book Specialist, “a doomed project which inspired legions of film-makers and moviegoers alike.
“The sale of one of these surviving copies is a major event and an extraordinary opportunity for collectors and fans to acquire a legendary document in the history of cinema.”
As Chris Hallam recently recounted, Dune was originally published in 1965 and its success led to several sequels and the acquisition of film rights in 1974, and Franco-Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky started working on the project.
He conceived a film that would be between ten and fifteen hours long to do justice to Dune’s worlds and characters. Pre-production work was done by Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius, British artist Chris Foss, and Swiss artist HR Giger. Together , they led most of the preliminary work and were in charge of the artist direction of the whole project -designing the characters, costumes, vehicles and environments.
The book offered is one of a few created to try to drum up some $5 million by kickstart and producer Michel Seydoux, featuring reproductions of just some of the drawings made by Moebius, Foss and Giger, including a near-complete story board of the movie, with dialogues in French and English.
As a working document and a promotional tool, there are probably less than ten surviving copies.
Although the film failed to gain Hollywood backing and the project was abandoned, it’s been suggested the level of detail and commitment to the project impressed many that saw it, paving the way for other, less ambitious SF blockbuster projects – including Alien, directed by Ridley Scott (1979), its murderous creatures designed by Giger.
The storyboard will be on public display in the Paris galleries of Christie’s from 18th – 22nd November 2021
UPDATE, 24th November 2021 – The book sold for €2,660,000
• This is the cover of the French edition of Jodorowsky’s Dune (Collector’s Edition w/ BD, DVD & Book). Directed by Frank Pavich. Cover by Swedish illustrator Killian Eng. The story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel. Limited to 2500 copies, includes BD, DVD, Book, Poster and four Artcards. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD. France released, Blu-Ray/Region B DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( DTS 5.1 ), English ( DTS-HD Master Audio ), French ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Alternative Footage, Blu-Ray & DVD Combo, Booklet, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Collectors Edition, Deleted Scenes, Interactive Menu, Posters, Scene Access, first screened at the Cannes Film Festival
Here are some more interior images from this rare book, taken from previously sold examples published by other auction houses, or sold as individual artworks…
I’ve also been sent this fan poster created from the unmade film’s concepts (Thanks to Brian Quinlan for this)