Chris Foss on Working with Giger and Moebius on ‘Dune’

Chris Foss is one of the great masters of British SF art. Apart from painting numerous book covers, he also worked as the concept artist for Alien, Superman, and the version of Dune that was being made by the Franco-Chilean surrealist, Alejandro Jodorowsky. Sadly, his work for Alien and Dune was never seen. Ridley Scott rejected his depictions of the ‘Nostromo’ for alien, as he thought it was far too interesting and would distract the audience from the main action. And despite extensive preparation, Jodorowsky’s Dune was never made. The studio pulled the plug at the last minute. It wasn’t a wasted effort, however, as the work Jodorowsky and the French comic artist, Moebius, had put into Dune was used by them as the basis for the comic book series, the Metabarons.

A documentary came out a few years ago about the making of Jodorowsky’s Dune. Jodorowsky states that he wanted it to blow the audience’s mind. It was to have the effect of taking LSD, but without actually using the drug. Certainly the concept art looks truly awesome. Apart from Foss and Moebius, Jodorowsky also employed as concept artist H.R. Giger, the creator of the ‘Alien’. Giger produced various designs for Vladimir Harkonnen’s cast, and for a train, very much in his distinctively nightmarish style. Among the actors lined up for the film were Orson Welles as Vladimir Harkonnen and Mick Jagger as Feyd Rautha. Jodorowsky’s son, Brontes, was to play Paul Atreides. And the Emperor of the Galaxy would be played by the great surrealist egotist himself, Salvador Dali. But only for half an hour. So Jodorowsky and his team intended to fill in the rest of the time, that have been occupied by Dali, by using a robotic version of him. It’s a pity that the film was not made, as with those artists and performers, it truly would have been a genuinely mind-blowing experience.

In this clip, Foss talks about how wonderful it was working with Moebius and Giger, but says that he enjoyed it because what he was doing did not interfere with them, and their work did not interfere with his own. Looking on YouTube a few years ago, I found that Foss had put up a series of short videos about himself and his work, so if you’re interested, try looking to see if they’re still there.

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2 Responses to “Chris Foss on Working with Giger and Moebius on ‘Dune’”

  1. ashiftinconsciousness Says:

    The documentary, Jororowsky’s Dune, was excellent. He would have made it a great movie, something worthy of the genius of Frank Herbert.

    The Dune Chronicles are my favorite books. I’ve read them a number of times and fully enjoy them every time. I own every book by Frank Herbert I’ve ever found. I also own most of the Dune prequels and sequels by his son and Kevin Anderson even though I don’t enjoy their writing nearly as much as Frank Herbert’s.

    I noticed your interesting blog name and considered mentioning something about it once, but decided against it. Glossu was quite the beast, incredibly different than Abulurd, huh?

    • Beastrabban Says:

      Definitely, having strangled his own father! I took the monicker Beast Rabban because I’m one of the few fans of David Lynch’s 1984 version of Dune, even though it took a lot of liberties with the book. I also really like the Dune 2000 miniseries, and the way Ian MacNiece portrayed Vladimir Harkonnen.

      I’d very much like to see the documentary on Jodorowsky’s Dune, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available on DVD over here in Britain. I tried looking for it on the shelves of the record and DVD stores over here, and they don’t stock it. And the last time I looked, no-one had put it up on YouTube either. Grrr!

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