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A rare copy of the “Dune” storyboard by director Alejandro Jodorowsky sold for 2.66 million euros


The working document (“storyboard” in cinema jargon) by Franco-Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky for his accursed adaptation project of Dune, was awarded Monday for 2.66 million euros (including costs), well beyond the estimate, at Christie’s in Paris.

A mythical object for science fiction enthusiasts, this big book dating from the mid-1970s was only estimated between 25,000 and 35,000 euros by the auction house. “The estimate had to take into account the reality of the market which we discover totally upset by the current theatrical success of Dune by Canadian Denis Villeneuve”, observed the auction house.

The auctions quickly flew and ultimately gave rise to a tough battle between two foreign bidders, over the phone. The winning bidder is American.

In the form of drawings, the storyboard brings together the plans of what should have been the film never made for lack of funding. Alain Delon, Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali were expected in the main roles.

Drawings in one of the copies of the storyboard of "Dune" by Alejandro Jodorowsky.  The document was on display to the public three days before the auction organized by Christie's in Paris.  (ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

These worksheets are signed by a comic book star, the Frenchman Moebius (alias Jean Giraud, died in 2012), and by the Swiss illustrator HR Giger (died in 2014), who will then create the creature of the film Alien (1979). Both had to provide the artistic direction of this titanic project and their storyboard was intended to “arouse the interest of major American production houses“, according to Christie’s.

Drawing in one of the copies of the storyboard by "Dune" by Alejandro Jodorowsky.  The document was on display to the public three days before the auction organized by Christie's in Paris.  (ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

We are aware of a few other copies: one was offered for auction a few years ago, another is in the possession of Jodorowksy (…) and a third is partially reproduced online“, said the auction house.”It is difficult to estimate the total circulation. We can assume that between ten and twenty copies were produced“.

Drawing in one of the copies of the storyboard by "Dune" by Alejandro Jodorowsky.  The document was on display to the public three days before the auction organized by Christie's in Paris.  (ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

Figure of the counter-culture today in the nineties, author of experimental and psychedelic films El Topo (1970) and The sacred mountain (1973), Jodorowsky had seen very tall for Dune. He expected between ten and fifteen hours of film. According to film specialists, the ideas in gestation for the Dune by Jodorowsky have influenced major films like Star wars (1977) or Blade runner (1982).

First book in a cult science fiction cycle written by the American Frank Herbert in 1965, Dune returned to the limelight this year thanks to the film Denis Villeneuve made, after David Lynch’s version in 1984.



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