15 little known facts about the making of Dune

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1. Director David Lynch turned down the opportunity to direct Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi in order to direct Dune.

2. Helena Bonham Carter was originally cast as Princess Irulan, but scheduling conflicts with A Room with a View forced her to leave the film. Jodie Foster, Brooke Shields, Kim Basinger, Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal, Bridget Fonda and Sarah Jessica Parker were also all considered to play the princess.

3. Some big names were also in the running for the role of Paul Atreides. Val Kilmer turned it down, Dexter Fletcher was very seriously considered and Christopher Reeve auditioned.

4. Dune wasn’t just an epic movie, it was an epic production, too. It employed 1700 production crew members and required eighty sets built upon sixteen sound stages. It took over six years to make and David Lynch’s worked on it for three and a half years.

5. To make the location perfect for shooting, two hundred workers spent two months hand-clearing three-square miles of Mexican desert.

6. Some of the movie was at the same location and at the same time as the fantasy movie staring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Conan the Destroyer.

7. The movie alludes strongly to Bible stories; such as, most strongly, the story of Moses. Patrick Stewart’s character, Gurney Halleck actually gives two quotations that are from the Old Testament of the Bible- Job 24:5 and Habbakkuk 1:9 – The first “Behold, as a wild ass in the desert go I forth to my work” – which he says as they arrive on Arrakis, Job 24:5. And “They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup as the east wind. And they shall gather the captivity of the sand.” – Habbakkuk 1:9.

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8. Sting’s character Feyd-Rautha was originally to have stepped out of the “steam bath” nude. Sting had agreed to shoot the scene nude, but the studio panicked and told the costume designers that they had to put something on him. The skimpy winged g-string he wore was made almost at the very last minute before the scene was about to be shot.

9. The instrument played by Patrick Stewart, the “baliset”, is actually a Chapman Stick, an electric guitar and bass created in the 1970s by Emmett Chapman, who plays the music heard in the movie.

10. The bodyshields used in Dune represent the first time in film history, that a computer-generated human form was used in a movie.

11. Feyd-Rautha, played by Sting, and The Beast Rabban, played by Paul. L. Smith, are men of very few words. Smith spoke only 34 and Sting says a mere 90 and that’s in the three-hour version of the film.

12. The suits worn by the Guild members were body bags that were found in a disused fire station dating back to the early 1920’s. The bags had actually been used several times, something that was kept from the cast members until after shooting was completed.

13. Upon completion, the rough cut of Dune without post-production effects ran over four hours long, but Lynch’s intended cut of the film (as reflected in the 7th and final draft of the script) was almost three hours long. However, Universal Pictures and the film’s financiers expected a standard, two-hour cut of the film and was what finally it the screen.

14. Subsequently, Patrick Stewart has said in interviews that every cast member lost two scenes to cut made in editing. He also said the stillsuit was the most uncomfortable costume he had ever worn.

15. David Lynch was originally signed to do two sequels to this film, based on Frank Herbert’s novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. The box office failure ensured that the plans never came to fruition.

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