Dune and the gathering

leading from
Early Development of the Alien Script 
and
Salvador Dali
and
Robert Venosa


Alexandro Jodorowsky

Jodorowsky calling
They tried to start on Alien as it was the script that was going somewhere, which meant putting aside Total Recall. And Ron did his best to help Dan get further with it, but before they could dig deep into the project, they became sidetracked when suddenly Dan received a phonecall from Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean director and this was somewhere in the summer of 1975. In Dan's memory, he wondered briefly if that was Paris, France or Paris, Texas, but no, it was really Paris, France.

By then Alexandro had made a movie called El Topo which was very well received, and this man over a transatlantic phoneline claimed that he had the backing and the rights to make a feature film of Dune which was to be an adaption of the novel by Frank Herbert by that name and he loved Dan's special effects that he did for Dark Star, and he knew that he had to do it as a budget with some creative people, so he hired Dan to work on it, to help him with the storyline and manage all of the special effects in general.

By then in the memories of a world according to Ron Shusett, the script project had been named Starbeast, it is a name that has been in a number of titles for sci-fi books, this is fair enough to know although there is no story of the realisation of this title at present 

Initiation
When Jodorowsky came into town, he phone Dan, who later went up to his hotel room, and there he was, and Dan was completely shocked. Dan remembered how in In El Topo, he had had this big beard and long hair down to his shoulders, and he was a raving lunatic. And in the book version of the film, the interview, there were pictures of him looking like a woman, and it was bizarre for Dan. But when the hotel room door opens, he was greeted by this charming, continental gentleman: clean shaven, styled steet-grey hair, wearing a cream coloured suit. I'll never forget this. The door opened and this elegant man stands there, and he gives me the most ingratiating smile and said "Hello", and bows Dan into a room. He was completely disorientated, enchanted and by the end of the day he would be a total fan. During the course of that quite wild day, he would come to admire and completely trust this high energy person named Jodorowksy

As they sat in the room, Jodorowsky interviewing Dan, a knock came on the door and  David Carradine walked in and so Dan got to meet him as well. From his suitcase, Jodorowsky produced a little piece of folded-up Oriental newspaper and said "This is holy marijuana.  This is for spiritual purposes. "

And Dan responded "Oh boy.

So they all smoked it and it was incredibly strong. The three of them spent this very wild afternoon. And while they were sitting around stoned, there was a remarkable moment in which Jodorowksy begins to talk. Carradine is crawling around under coffee tables doing Tai Chi positions, and Jodorowsky  has taken off his suit jacket and is running his fingers through his hair... which is now sticking out in all directions.  With this Dan  felt more comfortable when  Jodorowsky began to get a little wild, because Dan was a little bit of a strange person. And Jodorowksy started talking, in a way that suggest that he was in top form that day, Dan was mesmerized in the manner that perhaps one might be from listening to the likes of Orson Welles speak, Jodorowksy had this ability and he began to talk about the destiny of Man in the galaxy, because it was related to the concept of the picture which they were all discussing. Dan recognised that Jodorowsky was a mystic, and that he talked about a lot of things that were intriguing, but not very familiar to Dan and as a result, he couldn't really remember clearly what was being said. But Dan would remember his face and how it was inspired as he talked way with his hair standing out,  looking up through the ceiling with these wide eyes and he had incredibly huge eyes and this incredibly huge grin on his face like a person who's religiously inspired, and his hands were spread palms upward, and he was talking to David and Dan., relating to them personally at the same time, so that he was an incredible show. It would be one of Dan's most spellbinding things that he ever did to listen to Jodorowsky talk.

And then he did something strange to Dan, how one thing led to another Dan wouldn't be able to remember clearly because he was so stoned on the Marijuana being dazzled, interested and inspried
Jodorowsky spoke directly to Dan giving him some kind of instructions relaxing him in the chair and he only could remember that he was getting incredibly tranquil and they they were staring straight into each other's eyes for the longest time and Dan felt completely at ease, relaxed to such a degree that his conscious mind let got, he felt highly elevated when all of a sudden Jodorowksy says at the conclusion of a sentence ,  "LIKE THIS!" and he altered before Dan's eyes, seeming in one instant, all of his facial muscles relaxed and his eyes opened very wide, and at the the same moment, twenty years fell from his face. Dan could only describe that he had gone into a state of transcendental hallucination, he completely lost track of time and all of a sudden Jodorowksy says "LIKE THIS!" and out from his face shot these radiating lines of light, which produce around his head a shimmering, circular mandala or keleidoscope-like patten, with his face in the centre and his eyes locked onto Dan's, and the rest of the room vanishing into oblivion. Dan felt absolutely no sense of anxiety or discomfort at all. It was entirely stimulating and pleasant. And Dan was familiar with hallucinations set of by LSD but he was startled that this was being generated by someone's mind instead. Then Jodorowsky relaxed all of his features; the eyes that had been staring at Dan like something supernatural all of a sudden relaxed, the lids came down, and the face smiled, and the twenty years suddenly came back to his face. Jodorowksy settled, and the hallucinative visual and mental effect dispersed immediately as if like a a BLIP!, like rags in the wind, and so Jodorowsky said to Dan "That's enlightenment.

A couple of days later Jodorowsky called Dan back and said "All right, I want you to be my director of special effects. Now sell everything you own and come to Paris and prepare to have you life changed. I come into your life like a hurricane.

Back in the world of Ron Shusett,while Dan was in the process of leaving for Paris, Ron recalled that he said to Dan before he went “When you come back, I wanna work with you on these two projects - Star Beast and Total Recall” 

After Jodorowsky offered him this position, O'Bannon got a called from Gary Kurtz, the producer of American Graffiti who was now producing Star War and he was interested in Dam O'Bannon work on the special effects. However Dan told him about the Dune offer and asked if he could be offered and equivalent post, but Gary said he couldn't and Dan went with Dun

Within a few weeks of the call from Jodorowsky, Dan took the plane to Paris,  giving up his own car and his apartment, putting his belongings in storage and he went over there expecting to be there for several years.

Onto Paris
Dan was soon there in the company of Alejandro Jodorowsky, and he was very much a mystic and for a time one might say he was Dan's guru. But Dan was finding it quite a challenge in a foreign country and in a foreign language. When they were well under way, a lot of stuff was designed some months into pre-production. 

Jodorowsky shortly went to England and had plucked up a young artist who did book covers for scifi books, named Christopher Foss. For the first time, Dan saw someone's work that he liked as much as Ron Cobb's work. It was a time for major discoveries for Dan and he found himself then in contact with some remarkable fantasy artists,  Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud and Robert Venosa, all who were very big names back then, and he was also to discover their work since they were all working on the Dune project. At this time he was doing all he could to get Ron Cobb involved in the movie too

Robert Venosa, Cadaques, 1975


Giger via Dali 
The trail of events for Giger started when he receives a cal from Bob Venosa, who was a fellow painter of Giger’s who has previously worked with Ernst Fuchs and used to be entertained by the surrealist Salvador Dali, since they lived in the same village, Cadaqués, Spain, had taken Giger’s catalogue to show him, and asked Dali what he thought of it, Dali approved and then would show the catalogue to Alejandro Jodorowsky who intended to film Frank Herbert’s book Dune and was there trying to get Dali interested in it. Dali said to Jodorowsky showing him a painting "This is a fantastic artist, very good for you!"

This unnamed catalogue would eventually be referred to by Giger as his "Necronomicon" although the book would not be published for a while longer. Robert Venosa told Giger how keen Jodorowsky was about his work too, and curiously enough Giger was expected to turn up to discuss the film's artistic elements. This seemed like a good reason for Giger to make a visit to Spain to meet Jodorowsky, who, by the time Giger had arrived there, had gone off elsewhere. However Dali showed a polite interest in his work and introduced him to his wife Gala, describing her as a specialist in monsters and nightmares, whose external appearance external appearance completely belied her inner world. Gala then expressed her opinion to Giger that he would only need to wear a mask in order to completely match the world of his pictures, and this led her into an hour long diatribe against the evils of the world, of which she had years of experience. She was one of the most impressive ladies that Giger had ever met in his life.  Dali decided that Giger must be Austrian because he worked in a detailed style like the Viennese Fantastic artists such as Ernst Fuchs. When Giger was Dali's house, he was presented by Dali as an Austrian painter to the girls at his home, and Dali gave the girls any name he could find because there were so many people visiting him that he couldn't remember their names. The people would all come after 5pm when he was done working. There were all sorts of artists and good-looking people, all sorts of gangsters and he loved to be surrounded by musicians. 

Dali and Giger, Cadaques, 1975
Giger then returned to Switzerland, stupidly leaving his current girlfriend in Cadaqués, where Dali used her as a model, he tried to seduce her and even tried to couple her with a young hippie. Dali wanted to celebrate the ceremony himself and supervise the accompanying rituals, in his own special way. Giger however was secretly amused by the whole affair, as he had just read John Fowles' "The Magus" and quite understood what Dali was up to as if he were behaving like the character Mauric Conchis from the novel. Because his people always tried to treat him like a king or a priest, they did what he wanted.

Abdul Alhazred's Necronomicon
It appeared that according to one version of Dan O'Bannon's story, Alejandro Jodorowsky had discovered something in the Bibliotech National, a document that was someone's PhD thesis which was a study of the actual Necronomicon that was peceived to be an imaginary book that HP Lovecraft imagined and wrote about, and that book among other things, contained an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning. The student who wrote the thesis had since disappeared. Alejandro must have known that Dan O'Bannon was a great fan of Lovecraft, but this thesis was a study of the Necronomicon, quoting many individuals but it was primarily written as a long essay quoting substantial chunks of the Necronomicon from different translations, in Latin, Greek and English and this was the nearest that Dan had got to the real thing. He was certainly struck by this and felt that it needed to be brought to the attention of English speaking readers 
(See: Summoner of the Demon)


Dan O'Bannon Meets H.R. Giger

When Jodorowsky first asked Giger to work on Dune, he took Giger to a concert by the Paris based band Magma, it started two hours late. Giger was fascinated by their music to the point of being very fulfilled, he had never heard anything so loud, and afterwards he told them "I felt just like Christ when he was on the cross." This would eventually lead to Giger creating an album cover for their album Attahk in 1978.

Jodorowsky went to an exhibition of paintings at an art museum in Paris, Giger had designed the poster for an exhibition at the Galerie Bijan Aalam,  (22, passage Vero-Dodat, Paris) titled "Le Diable" which was of course about the devil, it began December 5th 1975 and would close the 10th of January 1976. Jodorowsky was very enthusiastic and so he said to O’Bannon one Sunday, "come with me. I have a new artist to meet”. 

At the exhibition, Giger was exhibiting the Necronom paintings that would eventually become the Alien. Since O’Bannon considered Jodorowsky to be like a guru to him, he would go anywhere that Jodorowsky wanted him to go and he was showing Dan the world at that time.

Giger stayed in a hotel in Paris and so they went to see him at the suite where he was staying, Giger remembers that he met them at the Atelier One, it was the the hotel suite where Jodorowksy was staying. So they went inside, and there met Hans Rudi Giger who was about Dan’s age, who looked to Dan more or less like Dracula. He was entirely dressed in costume black leather clothing, his hair was black, and he had very pale skin as if he had been avoiding the sun, and Dan likened the expression on his face to being intense maybe like Edgar Allen Poe.

Giger came up to Dan holding some tin foil and said to him, "would you like some opium?"

Dan asked "why do you take that?"

Giger replied "I am afraid of my visions"

Dan replied "It's only your mind"

Giger replied "That is what I am afraid of"

(Curiously Stanislav Grof mentioned that Giger was suffering from depression and so the Swiss Doctors was on big prescribed doses of opium, which Grof didn't think was a great therapeutic approach. See also Giger's use of opium)

When they went inside, Jodorowsky talked with Giger about the Dune project, spending an afternoon, trying to decide if he wanted to get Giger involved in it and then going ahead to contract with Giger to do some designs. As they were talking, O’Bannon was looking at a book full of Giger’s pictures that had been printed up to accompany the exhibition of his work in Paris, it was actually Giger's book "Arh+" that printed back in 1971. O’Bannon found it to be very powerful and then asked to borrow the book, Giger said yes, and Dan took it back to his own hotel room that night and he spent the night carefully looking through the works in the books. He realised that he had been struck by an experience of a particular artistic depths and originality that he had never seen before, it was indeed a moment of transformation for Dan. The paintings were disturbing but in the context of great beauty, so O’Bannon told himself “ If you could get this guy to design a monster movie, you would have something absolutely original and unique." and he remained very much haunted by his work when he got back to America.  Dan imagined that if he wanted to, Giger could paint Pickman's model from HP Lovecraft's story . if he wanted to. In that story "Pickman's Model", the artist Pickman painted a horrifying monster a horrifying humanoid animal like thing as life like as a photograph.

cover of HR Gger's book "A Rh+"

The way it was working out with Dan’s mind, since he wanted all the people that he could from the creative team from Dune to get involved in his his space monster movie, this would have meant that it would have an extraordinary look for it possibly as strange as Jodorowsky’s Dune.


Jodorowsky hires Giger

Later in December 1975, so Giger wrote in the Giger’s Necronomicon, that out of curiosity he went to see Jodorowsky in his office in Paris,  and Jodorowsky thought he could still use Giger for Dune designs and here they discussed the whole project,

When they got around to talking about money, Jodorowsky said to  Giger " You may be a genius, but we can't pay you as a genius"

Giger asked about what the other contributors were getting and Jodorowsky replied "Foss gets 4000 Francs a month

And so Giger thought, this was a modest salary indeed for a creative designer of a project costing twenty million. Jodorowsky went on to explain to him at length about what good publicity it would be for him. And as they parted they agreed that Jodorowsky would telephone Giger about the salary, and gave him the script so that he could start work right away. As soon as Giger returned home, he received a call from one of Jodorowsky's assistants saying that he should produce a view of the castle on the planet which they had spoken about, 55x65cm and bring it to Paris where they could look at it and see it was suitable for the film. 

At this time, Jodorowsky wasn't thinking of the work of others, but only his own work,  the fact that he wanted to describe different planets, and with each planet an aesthetic, with tables, chairs, all things that are in a palace. He needed to have this discourse with the psychology of the characters. Baron Hakonnen who ruled Giedi Prime was the darkest character of Dune, and because of his psychology, his was the dark world. Giger was needed to illustrate the planet, the palace, the objects and everything on this planet. including the planet, the palace, the objects. And so it was that Giger had a world that Jodorowsky would call shadow. He liked that Giger illustrated one part of that. That was his thing, something Jodorowsky would call "the diablo". Giger had a great respect for the evil that was inside the human being and in nature

Designing Castle Harkonnen

Giger's Castle Harkonnen

The return of Giger to Dali
Some time later,  Giger would return to see Dali at his museum. He asked Dali, if he would provide an introduction to his book Necronomicon. Dali said he would do it, but he asked for something from Giger in return. He wanted his sculpture Armour For A Dog, to which he agreed in 1976.  He would visit Dali at the hotel Meurice in Paris to pick up the introduction. Giger wanted something large, if possible across two pages of the Necronomicon, so he gave Dali a large sheet of paper and he created the drawing with a felt tip pen.


Source quotes 
  1. Alexandro Jodorowsky: Then, suddenly, in a bookshop in the pages of an English magazine I found splashed III a thousand colours what I had believed impossible to -depict. These spaceships that pleased and moved me were Chris Foss'. I covered the studio walls where I was preparing the film with his works. All masterpieces. I hired various sleuths to track him down. You see, in those heady days I had power! I had a multi-million dollar commitment behind me: a commitment that remained unfulfilled. I had it in my power to call upon the best brains of our generation to collaborate on a project that was to give a messiah to the world. Not a human being, but a film. A film that would be our master. Dune had made me its apostle; but I needed others, and one of these was Chris Foss. (20th Century Foss)
  2. Alexandro Jodorowksy: What the hell would this mutant be like? Because he had to be a mutant to draw like that! These were not drawings. They were visions! Would he be some neurotic old man? A maniac drug addict? Would one be able to talk to him? Then Chris Foss turned up, completely English with his tap-dancer's shoes, his tight suit as worn by Casanovas in sophisticated dives, with a tooth of quick-gold (I thought it was a diamond), with a yellow shirt of imperial silk, the blinding tie of an aesthetic hit-man, with a child's smile so penetrating he could turn into a hyena. Yes: Chris Foss was a true angel, a being as real and as unreal as his spaceships. A mediaeval goldsmith of future eons; a being who carried his drawings with the same ultra-maternal care as the Kaitanese Kangarooboos carry the children born of their self-insemination. (20th Century Foss)
  3. Alexandro Jodorowsky: Chris arrived very nervous and mistrustful. He was afraid that we would impose a style on him, that we would limit him. But when he realized that he had total freedom he fell into ecstasy. He bought himself a special glass drawing-board which made his paper transparent, so that the lines seemed to float in space. And he plunged into his work for hours, millennia. He would go for long walks in the small hours to a little plaza where lepidopterous creatures with human skin and prehistoric perfumes would entwine their pink tongues with long, transparent hairs around his British member. I also saw him slake his physicoemoto- intellectuometaphysical thirst with alcohols seeping like tears from eyes slashed open in the aggressive air of a hotel corridor.  (20th Century Foss)
  4. Alexandro Jodorowsky: And thus were born the mimetic spaceships, the leather and dagger-studded machines of the fascist Sardaukers;- the pachydermatous geometry of Emperor Padishah's golden planet; the delicate butterfly plane and so many other incredible machines, which I am sure will one day populate interstellar space. Chris Foss knows that today's technical reality is tomorrow's falsehood. Chris also knows that today's pure art is tomorrow's reality. Man will conquer space mounted on Foss' spaceships, never in NASA's concentration camps of the spirit. I was grateful for the existence of my friend. He brought the colours of the apocalypse to the sad machines of a future without imagination.  (20th Century Foss)
  5. Dan O'Bannon: A Chilean film member name named Alejandro Jodorowksy, telephoned me from Paris, "Paris, France" "Paris, Texas?" "no Paris France" He had made an art film named El Topo which was very well received, and this man over this transatlantic phoneline claimed that he had the backing at the rights to make a feature film of Dune (5:39, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  6. Ron Shusett: I addressed myself to that, and Dan suddenly got a job in Europe to co-write and direct DUNE – but it was not the version that was made ten years later by David Lynch. It was [Alejandro] Jodorowsky, a Polish director. Dan went off for six months, just as we were starting to work on his project. (cinefantastiqueonline.com, September 2008)
  7. Ron Shusett: And he loved Dan's work that he did on designing the special effects for dark Star, and he knew he had to do it at a budget with some creative people so he hired Dan to work on it, help him with his storyline and also with his special effects, and Dan went off within a few weeks. He went off to Paris and France and places and was working on the Dune project, There for six months.  (6:10, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  8. Dan O'Bannon: And I wasn't the only there, he had gone to England and he had plucked up a, and artist who did covers for science fiction books named Christopher Foss, and for the first time I saw somebody whose stuff I liked as much as Ron Cobb's stuff.  (6:31, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  9. Ron Cobb: Alexandro Jodorowsky. He was the strange fellow who made El Topo and The Holy Mountain... El Topo is mainly the one seen here. Holy Mountain wasn't seen very widely; it's a slightly more elaborate version of El Topo, surreal violence and all. He decided that he wanted to make Frank Herbert's Dune. He loved Dark Star so he contacted Dan and made Dan director of special effects for Dune and whisked him off to Paris (Fantastic Films, July 1979, p27)
  10. Dan O'Bannon:  I met Giger when we were working on Dune, and I'd looked at his picture books and when I got back to America I was still haunted by his work. (Fantastic Films #10, p12)
  11. Interviewer: Now, you have an obvious interest in Lovecraft and arcane things and Lovecraft's circle people as well. Can you talk about your project the Necronomicon a little bit, what drove you to start to do that?
    HR Giger: Well now, i came across this project in a very mysterious way, back in 1975 I was in Paris working with Alexandro Jodorowsky, actually on a film then, and he was very much a mystic and you might say for a time he was my guru, and he discovered something in the Bibliotech National, a er, a document, and it was someone's PhD thesis and he brought it to my attention and I looked at it and it turned out to be a study of the Necronomicon, the real Necronomicon, the closest I had ever gotten to the actual original text, and I was so struck by this that I felt it needed to be brought to the attention of English speaking readers, so I spent the better part of ten years carefully translating this into English and I finally got it to a point where it's ready to be seen by the public at large. All that remains is a … to discover a way to market this so that people who want a copy can obtain it.
    Interviewer: So this document, was it written by multiple individuals
    HR Giger: No, it was a, it was a PhD thesis of a student at the erm, was it the Sarbonne or something, i forget the…. he certain quoted many other individuals but it's primarily written, a long essay quoting substantial chunks of the Necronomicon from different translations obviously, the Latin translation, the Greek translation, the English translation, and this author had managed to obtain... the opportunity the book had originally copies, copy extensive passages from the, because it was then the last several years, a couple of books marketed under the name of the Necronomicon, but when you open them, they turn out not to be the real thing. So i became very impatient with these erm fictional Necronomicons and at least I saw the real thing (2009 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival: Dan O'Bannon's "Howie" Acceptance Speech  http://vimeo.com/15911259 )
     
  12. Shadowlocked: Did O’Bannon’s Rules Of Writing ever make it to press?
    Dan O'Bannon:
    It did not. It’s just sitting over on a corner of my desk, gathering dust. Over the years I’ve read a couple of Necronomicons published. I bought and read them and I was very disappointed, and I finally got annoyed. At the very least if you’re going to write a nNecronimicon, it should be scary…I just started compiling notes, and by the time it was done I realised I had a book. It’s not a long book, but it shouldn’t be long. It’s certainly dense. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Jekyll and Hyde…?
    Shadowlocked: Yes, I have.
    Dan O'Bannon: When you read it, you feel you’ve read a novel, but if you go back and count the pages, you realise there’s only forty pages. My Necronomicon is like that; it’s very dense but it’s not hundreds of pages long, at which point it would become dull. So it’s almost done, but I’ve had various things in my life getting in the way of completing it.
    Shadowlocked: So this is something we can look forward to in the near future, maybe?
    Dan O'Bannon: Absolutely. It should have been done a year ago, but family problems intervened, so huge that I just didn’t have the time to write anymore. Things are starting to smooth out now again at last, so if I do anything at all next, it’s going to be to finish that and get it out. So much of it is finished, it’d just be a crime not to finish it... ( shadowlocked.com 2007) 
  13. Daily Grindhouse: Can you give us a feel for that project?
    Diane O'Bannon: It’s very interesting how he did this. He has a backstory on how he found it. It’s actually the dissertation of a PhD student. Alejandro Jodorowsky told Dan that it existed in Sarbonne (University of Paris library) and he went and found it. Now the student -the PhD student who wrote the dissertation – vanished. Nobody knows what happened to him. So, Dan felt free to take the information and use it. The PhD student actually found The Necronomicon. He wasn’t a believer, but he did the most research on it, so Dan is basically putting out his version of the dissertation. ( dailygrindhouse.com 2011)
  14. Ron Cobb: This was the first big break for Dan after Dark Star. While Dan was over there, he did his first big schpeil on me, saying, "You should use Cobb, he's done this and this, he designed the ship in Dark Star, and he would be ideal for this." They contacted me and sent me a contract and I signed it. It was all very crazy. (Fantastic Film, July 1979, p27)
  15. Dan O'Bannon:And I was brought in to manage all of the special effects in general, it was was, quite a challenge in a foreign country and a foreign language, and oh, when we were well under way, when a lot of stuff was designed, some some months into pre-production, Jodorowsky when to, um,  an exhibit of Giger's paintings as some art museum, and he was very enthusiastic and, erm,  then he contracted with Giger to do some designs, and I was, I was moved, I was impressed at his originality, and er, i found the paintings disquieting, disturbing in the extreme. That was how I, I first encountered Giger's work.(3:43, Alien Legacy, Starbeast DVD) 
  16. Dan O'Bannon: Giger was hired onto Dune just before the project collapsed. We just met once in a hotel room in Paris where I spent an afternoon with him and  Jodorowski. I took a couple of his books home and studied them and I remember thinking this guy could just be do one unbelievable job on a horror movie. (Cinefex 1, p36)
  17. Dan O'Bannon:And I wasn't the only there, he had gone to England and he had plucked up a, and artist who did covers for science fiction books named Christopher Foss, and for the first time I saw somebody whose stuff I liked as much as Ron Cobb's stuff. He had another artist he wanted me to meet. He had another artist he wanted me to meet. He had seen this guy's work in a, a show that was in Paris at the time. Took me over to, to really one of the fancy hotels in Paris, not the one I was staying at, where this artist named Hans Rudi Giger was staying while his show was on display in Paris. Giger brings up this little tin foil, he said "would you like some opium?", I said "why do you take that?", he said "I am afraid of my visions", I said "It's only your mind", he said "that is what I'm afraid of" He brings out a book, an art book, with his paintings in it, I started looking at this, and he and Alejandro go into a big discussion about Dune, I started looking at these paintings and it took a minute for it to register what I was seeing, but, ah, what I seemed to be seeing was very disturbing (6:31, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  18. Dan O'Bannon: I LOVE GENIUSES, and have been privileged to work with several. On was H.R.Giger, I met him in Paris and he gave me a book of his artwork. I pored over it through one long night in my room on the left bank. His visionary paintings and sculptures stunned me with their originality, deep feelings of terror. They started an idea turning over in my head. Nobody had ever seen anything like this on the screen. Giger's work , I thought, could become centrepiece of an idea I'd been playing around with for some time, essentially a scary version of Dark Star. (Something perfectly disgusting by Dan O'Bannon, 2003, Alien Quadrilogy DVD set)
  19. Ron Cobb: They had Chris Foss, the English SF pocketbook cover-artist who does the junkyard spaceships in Paris working on Dune with H.R.Giger, the guy who's on the Omni with the weird face, he's very well known in Europe. (Fantastic Film, July 1979, p27)
  20. Starburst: You were working on the preproduction of Dune in France. Why did the project collapse?
    Dan O'Bannon: I was never privy to the discussions, but basically what happened  was that the financiers got cold feet and backed out. It was going to be a good film and they would have made a lot of money out of it, but that's the way it goes sometimes. (Starburst , Alien Interview Pt 2, p23 )
  21. Starburst: How far had the production got?
    Dan O'Bannon:Oh, completed all the pre-production and the whole film was designed and a million dollars had been spent. We had Giger on it, Moebius, Chris Foss and Ron Cobb was to come onto the project as designer and general creative thinker.(Starburst , Alien Interview Pt 2, p23 )
  22.  Starburst: Well, they have all contributed to Alien now in some capacity. It's interesting to see some of Giger's paintings and Foss' Dune.
    Dan O'Bannon: If you look at the Foss' paintings you can still see what the film would have looked like overall. It was really going to be that colourful and fabulous.
    (Starburst , Alien Interview Pt 2, p23 )
  23. H.R. Giger: So many people have wondered:'How do you get into films?' I was lucky; Bob Venosa a fellow painter, who often used to be entertained by the surrealist Salvador Dali - they lived in the same village. Cadaqués in Spain - had taken my catalogue to show him. He asked Dali  what he thought of my work. Dali evidently approved of it, for he showed the catalogue to the producer Alexandro Jodorowsky, who intended to film the Dune trilogy, a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. Venosa told me on the telephone how keen Jodorowksy was on my work. What he told me seemed to be a good reason for making a journey to Spain. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, Jodorowksy had already left.(Giger's Alien, p6)
  24. Seconds: You met Dali at one point, right?
    Giger: Several times, but he didn't always recognise me. He always thought I was Austrian, because I worked in a detailed style like the Viennese Fantastic artists such as Ernst Fuchs.  When I was at Dali's house, he presented me as a painter from Austria to the girls at his hime - he gave the girls any name he could find because there were so many people visiting him that he couldn't remember their names. The people would all come after 5pm when he was done working. There were all sorts of artists and good-looking people, all sorts of gangsters and he loved to be surrounded by musicians. Amanda Lear wrote a book about him. For some time she was his lover. At the time, they didn't know if Amanda was a guy or a girl. David Bowie brought her in and told Dali she was a man in order to make her more mysterious
    . (Seconds, 1994, Issue #25. H R Giger Alienated, Biomechanical modifier H R Giger watches the clock)
  25. Seconds: I read on one of your books that Dali tried to seduce your own girlfriend.
    Giger:
    Yes, He was very successful because people always did what he wanted; they treated him like a king or a priest. They also wanted him to play the king in Alexandro Jodorowsi's version of Dune that was never filmed. Dali was supposed to get paid I-don't-know-how-many millions for each hour. (Seconds, 1994, Issue #25. H R Giger Alienated, Biomechanical modifier H R Giger watches the clock)
  26. Giger: The whole thing really started in Salvador Dali's house, (delighted to have surprised his listener with the revelation) I have a friend in Spain who is often in Dali's house, and he brought some of my work to him. Dali always had a lot of people around - sometimes 30 or 40 persons. And he showed my books and catalogs all the time because he likes my things. (STARLOG/ September 1979, p29) 
  27. Giger:Once Alexandro Jodorowsky came to Spain to ask Dali to play the Emperor in his film Dune. So Dali showed him my work and Jodorowsky was impressed and thought that I could do something for the film. So they called me and i came to Spain. But too later, Jodorowsky wasn't there. So I met Dali." (STARLOG/ September 1979, p29)
  28. Giger: J’ai néanmoins continué dans cette voie et j’ai donné un exemplaire du « Necronomicon » à mon ami Salvador Dali. Dan O’Bannon qui travaillait sur « Alien » est passé chez Dali qui lui a présenté mon « monstre »  (Translation: Nevertheless, I continued on this path and I gave a copy of the " Necronomicon " to my friend Salvador Dali. Dan O'Bannon , who worked on " Alien " came to Dali who presented to him my "monster.")(www.agentsdentretiens.fr/)
  29. One day Giger receives a call from an artist friend who lives in Spain not far from Dali's home. He tells him that Jodorowsky is at Dali's house trying to get him interested in Dune and that they are expecting Giger to appear to discuss the film's artistic elements. Giger immediately flies to Spain but arrives too late - Jodorowsky has left. Giger meets with Dali anyway and even better, his wife Gala. "One of the most enchanting women I have ever met in my life, " he would say after the visit (Giger's Biomechanics)
  30. Later he travels to Paris for a short visit with Jodorowsky and some of his co-workers. One of them in Dan O'Bannon, who wrote the script. ( Giger's Biomechanics)
  31. (In spite of enormous efforts on both sides of the Atlantic, Jodorowsky will never realize Dune. While ?????... (what's this? source needs to be found and this finished)
  32. Tom Gabriel Warrior: You later met Dali in person.
    H R Giger: When I first went to Spain, he wasn't there, his place at Portlligat was locked. Later a friend of mine in Cadaques, American artist Robert Venosa who had previously worked with Ernst Fuchs, established a connection with Dali, but I felt uncomfortable to disturb such a famous artist. But I finally went to meet him, and I was very impressed. Some time later, I also went to see him at his museum.
    I asked Dali, if he would provide an introduction to my book Necronomicon. He said he would do it, but he asked for something from me in return. He wanted my sculpture Armour For A Dog, to which I agreed in 1976. I visited Dali at the hotel Meurice in Paris to pick up the introduction. I wanted something large, if possible across two pages of the Necronomicon, so i gave him a large sheet of paper and he created the drawing with a felt tip pen.  (Zero Tolerance  #26, p25 Nov/Dec 2008)
  33.  Giger: I always need a reason to go somewhere, Jodorowsky was the reason, but I was able to meet Salvador Dali. He was very nice. Two months later, I went to Paris to visit a friend and I went to see Jodorowsky, who said "Could you do some designs for me?  (STARLOG/ September 1979, p29)
  34. H.R. Giger: But later, when I was visiting Paris, I went purely out of curiosity to see him in his office. He clearly still thought he could use me for the Dune designs. When I got back to Zurich I got some of my ideas down on paper and went to Paris to hand my suggestions over to him in person. Jodorowsky flew to the United States in search of a producer, taking my work and that of some other people. Presumably he had not luck for I never saw him again. All I had left was the address of another disappointed man, ( he was to have done the special effects in Dune); his name was Dan O'Bannon, the author of Alien. )(Giger's Alien, p6)
  35. H.R. Giger: I first heard about Dune through Bob Venosa, an American painter of fantastic realism who lives in Cadaqués with his family and was a frequent visitor at Salvador Dali's house. It was a project for a three hour 70mm science fiction film, in which Dali was to play a leading role for a fee of $100,000 an hour (he was later invited to leave the film because of his pro-Franco statements). Bob Venosa telephoned to say that the director Alexandro Jodorowsky, to whom Dali had shown my catalogue, was interested in my work. So I went to Spain, but unfortunately Jodorowsky had already left. Dali however, showed a polite interest in my work and introduced his wife Gala, describing her as a specialist in monsters and nightmares whose external appearance completely belied her inner world. Gala then expressed the opinion that I would only need to wear a mask in order to completely match the world of my pictures, and this led her into an hour long diatribe against the evils of the world, of which she had years of experience. She was really one of the most impressive ladies I have ever met. I returned to Switzerland, stupidly leaving my current girlfriend in Cadaqués, where Dali used her as a  model  and tried to couple her with a young hippie. Dali wanted to celebrate the ceremony himself and supervise the accompanying rituals, in his own special way. I was secretly amused by the whole affair, as I had just read John Fowles' "The Magus" and quite understood what the old fox was up to.  (Giger's Necronomicon, p66)
  36. H.R. Giger: In December 1975 I went to Paris for a private view of an exhibition about the devil, for which I had designed a colour poster. While I was there, I went to Jodorowsky's studio and left my Paris address. Jodorowsky called me over and showed me the preliminary studies for 'Dune'. Four science-fiction artists were busy designing space-ships, satellites and whole planets. As a gesture to me, a couple of photocopies of vaguely suitable pictures from my catalogue had been left lying around. Jodorowsky said that he would like me to try some designs - I could create a whole planet, and would have a completely free hand. Three dimensional models would be made from my sketches and the actors superimposed on them. I could also design costumes and masks, etc, according to my own ideas. My planet was ruled by evil, a place where black magic was practiced, aggressions were let loose, and intemperance and perversion were the order of the day. Just the place for me, in fact. Only sex couldn't be shown, and I had to work as if the film was being made for children. Jodorowsky was fed up with having his films censored. A team of thirty specialist would transform my ideas into film,, I was thrilled by the idea. When we came to talking about money, he said, "You may be a genius, but we can't pay you as a genius". When I asked him what the other contributors were getting , he said "Foss gets 4000 Francs a month" - a modest salary indeed for a creative designer for a project costing twenty million.. He explained to me at length what good publicity it would be for me, etc. We parted after we agreed that he would telephone me about the salary and he gave me the script so that I could start work right away. On returning to Switzerland I was astonished to receive a telephone call from one of Jodorowsky's assistants saying that I should produce a view of the castle on the planet which we had spoken about, 55 x 65cm and bring it to Paris, where they could look at it and see if it was suitable for the film. Such are the penalties of being a 'Petit Suisse'. (Giger's Necronomicon, p66)
  37. Giger: I did designs for Dune - of Harkonnen Castle - and made slides of them, Jodorowsky went to the states, but at this time there was no money for science fiction films - in 1975. I think the film was to have cost about $20 million. That was a lot of money. (STARLOG/ September 1979, p29)
  38. Giger: Dan O'Bannon was also working for Jodorowsky. After this disaster, he went back to Los Angeles. And that's when he wrote the story of Alien. (STARLOG/ September 1979, p29) 
  39. Interviewer: How did you find his work?
    Dan O'Bannon: Well, once again through Jodorowksy, I was over there in Paris in 1975, Jorodorowksy was bringing together these amazing fantasy artists, Jean Giraud, like Chris Foss, different countries and Giger had a show at the Pompadou art museum , I believe it was, and Alejandro went to it and came back very enthusiastic and he had Giger over at his hotel suite and he had me to meet him and I met him there, he brought with him a book of his work which had been printed to accompany the show and I looked at it and I was fascinated and I asked if I could borrow it to look at over night and I took it back to my hotel room and I stayed up all night looking through it and I was transformed. I would say that Alien was part of that moment in my life. "Boy Gee Whiz, if somebody could get this guy to design a monster movie, nobody would have seen anything like that ever on the screen." And of course it's impossible, nobody's ever going to achieve that. (http://vimeo.com/15911259
  40. Dan O'Bannon: From the moment I met him in Paris and stared at his work, I knew that he could paint what others couldn't begin to imagine. I fought for a year to get him on the picture, because I feel he could paint Pickman's model if he wanted to. (Mediascene 35, p19)
  41. Dan O'Bannon: When he came into town, he called me, and I went up to his hotel room, and there he was, I was completely shocked. In El Topo, he had had this big beard and long hair down to his shoulders, and he was a raving lunatic. And in the book version of the film, the interview, there were pictures of him looking like a woman, and it was bizarre. But when the hotel room  door opens, I'm greeted by this charming, Continental gentleman: clean shaven, styled steel-grey hair, wearing a cream coloured suit. I'll never forget this. The door opened and this elegant man stands there , and he gives me the most ingratiating smile and says "Hello", and bows me into a room. I was completely disorientated... and enchanted. Well by the end of the day I was a total fan. During the course of that one day.... it was quite a wild day; Jodorowsky's a high-energy person... I came to admire and completely trust him. And he did a remarkable thing that day. He... I'll drop a name... David Carradine. We were sitting in Jodorowsky's hotel room (O'Bannon lights up a hash pipe)  Anybody want any.
    Phobos: No
    Dan O'Bannon: (inhaling) So he's interviewing me. Knock on the door, and David Carradine walks in. So I met David carradine. And Jodorowksy produces some grass. He goes to his suitcase and gets out this little piece of folded-up Oriental newspaper and says , "This is holy marijuana.  This is for spiritual purposes. " And I said "Oh boy." So we all smoked, you know, and it was incredibly strong. So the three of us spent this very wild afternoon. And while we're sitting around stoned, there is a remarkable moment in which Jodorowksy begins to talk. Carradine is crawling around under coffee tables doing Tai Chi positions, and Jodorowsky  has taken off his suit jacket and is running his fingers through his hair... which is now sticking out in all directions. I felt more comfortable when  Jodorowsky began to get a little wild, because I'm a little strange. And he starts talking, and he's really in top form that day. If you've ever seen a person like Orson Welles speak, you know what it's like to be mesmerized by watching somebody talk. And Jodorowsky has that ability. And he began to talk about the destiny of Man in the galaxy, because it was related to the concept of the picture which we were all discussing. Jodorowsky's a mystic, and so he talked about a lot of things that were intriguing, but not very familiar to me; as a result, I can't recreate a word of what he said. But I do remember his face... it was inspired. He's speaking, his hair's standing out, he's looking up through the ceiling with these wide eyes... he had incredibly huge eyes and this incredibly huge grin on his face like a person who's religiously inspired, and his hands are spread palms upward, and he is talking to these people, to us. And, of course, relating to us personally at the same time, so that he was an incredible show. Absolutely one of the most spellbinding things I've ever done was listen to him talk. And then he did a strange thing to me. And the damnable thing about it was, he led into it so casually that I took no mental record of what led up to it. All I remember is that I was very stoned, and he had me dazzled and interested and inspired. He was speaking directly to me, giving me some kind of instructions, relaxing me in the chair. All I can remember is that I was getting incredibly tranquil, and that we were staring straight into each other's eyes for the longest time. I felt completely at ease, he had me so relaxed that my conscious mind let go. I was feeling mighty elevated when all of a sudden, he says at the conclusion of a sentence, "LIKE THIS!" and he altered. In one instant, all of his facial muscles relaxed and his eyes opened very wide, and at the the same moment, twenty years fell from his face. I went into a state of transcendental hallucination, that's the only way that I can describe it. I've completely lost track of time... all of a sudden he says, "LIKE THIS!" and wham! out from his face shoot these radiating lines of light, which produce around his head a shimmering, circular mandala or keleidoscope-like patten, with his face in the centre and his eyes locked onto mine, and the rest of the room vanishing into oblivion.. I felt absolutely no sense of anxiety or discomfort at all. It was entirely stimulating and pleasant. And I was familiar... you know, this was not a.... this was startling to me only in the sense of having it generated by someone's mind instead of LSD. Then he relaxed all of his features; the eyes that had been staring at me like something supernatural all of a sudden relaxed, the lids came down, and the face smiled, and the twenty years suddenly came back to his face. And he settled, and the hallucinative visual and mental effect dispersed immediately. BLIP! like rags in the wind, and he said "That's enlightenment. " So a couple of days later, he called me back and said , "All right, I want you to be my director of special effects. Now sell everything you own and come to Paris and prepare to have you life changed. I come into your life like a hurricane." And so in two weeks I was in Paris. In two weeks, the complete transition had been made. It was overwhelming. And then for six months we worked on Dune. It was a dazzling experience, and Jodorowsky was impressive. It was progressively more clear what the picture was going to be like, because he was having every stage designed by many brilliant artists. He brought these artists from France and England and Switzerland, and I worked with them... and their was was... oh, I was so impressed. He put me in charge; I was the boss of thirty men. He had hired this company called Eurocitel, which is a special effects facility located in Paris and engaged them to do all the special effects for Dune under my supervision. He had me review their equipment to see if it was adequate and meet all the personnel that had selected to do these different tasks. I was very skeptical before I went over... but they had all the facilities and all the skills they needed, and I was impressed.
    PHOBOS: How did you and Jodorowsky get along?
    O'BANNON: Very well. We were very close. He was very helpful to me in my personal growth. We had a little joke between us... I call him my 'guru'... except it wasn't a joke. There is a saying that the disciple doesn't find the Master, the Master finds the disciple. Well Alexandro found me. He told me, "You never says anything bad about me." And I never have. Of course at times, he could definitely bully you. I loved him, still do, but he was a man with emotions, and sometimes he would get mad and yell and shout. But Alexandro showed me a whole new viewpoint on things. His central interest was the occult. Alchemy, yoga, the Kabbala... you name it, he studied it. He styled himself a 'white' magician... and he was in touch with an underground circle of sorcerers in different parts of the world. he is the world's authority on the Tarot. He must have read every book that's ever been written on the subject, and he spent all his time studying these cards and arranging them in different orders and trying to find a pattern. For the record, he considered the Taro of Marseilles to be the authentic original... the "product of a consciousness" he called it. He was a genuine, practising mystic. Basically it was a glorious experience, and then it was over. The financial backers pulled out. They sent me back to the States around Christmas of '75, to try to find some special VistaVision equipment, and while I was back here staying with friends, I got a telegram informing me that Dune was postponed indefinitely. And everything fell apart. You see, I had my whole future laid out. I said "Here will be this huge, gigantic production, and I'll be known as the Director of Special Effects, and I'll make money, and I'll be able to go back to Hollywood as some sort of superstar of special effects, and I'll get work. " Whereas, instead, here I was back in L.A. with no job, no apartment, no car, no money, and all my belongings in storage. In desperation, I immediately went out and joined up forces with a fell I had known for a long time, Ron Shusett, a producer, With him, I wrote a screenplay called Alien,  I wrote it the spring after Dune fell through, because I had to do something really fast to salvage my personal situation. (Phobos No. 1 Summer 1977 (many thanks to DUNE ⟡ MdC & TΛU)) 
  42. Dan O'Bannon:Basically what really happens was that in the summer of '75, just after Jodorowsky had offered me the Dune thing, Gary Kurtz called me. He had produced American Graffiti and was now producing Star Wars, and he was interested in having me work on the special effects. I told him about the Dune offer and asked if he could offer me an equivalent post. He said he couldn't, so I went with Dune. (Phobos No. 1 Summer 1977, p15 (many thanks to DUNE ⟡ MdC & TΛU))
  43. Jean Giraud/Moebius: It was a big project
    John Musker:And the financing just fell through, did they, well how come the movie never happened, what happened
    Moebius: I think that because Dino De Laurentiis wanted the movie since the beginning, and he tried hardly to buy the rights to Frank Herbert. And Frank Herbert, I don't know what why he did not want to sell. maybe he thought it was the Mafia or something like that, he did not want to sell the right to Dino De Laurentiis, and so Dino De Laurentiis was "Rrrrrrrgh, I will have it " you know
    John Musker:And he got it didn't he?
    Moebius:He got it, I think we were working in Paris on that Project and Dino Le Laurentiis was running away in Hollywood saying "Never buy that project, it will ruin Hollywood, you know, those damned French people" So when Jodorowsky came to sell the project, prrrrrpppppppt, he had nothing and Dan O'Bannon, ahhhhhh, (mimicking vomit) (An evening with Moebius" by The Creative Talent Network® animation expo 2010.
  44. Dan O'Bannon: ....the idea for Alien, a lot of it came from inspirations I had when I was working on, on Dune with Jodorowsky and er, with Rudi. In particular, I had the idea for Alien as a movie for a long time, but I knew that I needed... the monster had to be something completely original that no one had ever seen before, and erm, when i saw this book I suddenly realised that this was the artist that I needed. Very simply, I looked at this and I said "If I could get this guy to design the monster in a monster movie, it would be something that no one had seen on a movie screen before," and at that point, I was in no position to hire Hans or do anything accept write the script, (http://alienexplorations.blogspot.co.uk/l)
  45. Alexandro Jodorowsky: When I was preparing Dune, I was looking to Salvador Dali to play the Emperor of the Galaxy, and I saw Dali in New York, in Paris and in Barcelona. We had a good relationship and he [showed me a Giger painting] and said "This is a fantastic artist, very good for you." (Rue Morgue #, p19)
  46. Alexandro Jodorowsky: And in the same conversation, Dali showed me a catalogue of Giger" I think this person have a talent", I see that , I say "it's incredible", it's what I'm searching for, the Harkonnen for the bad guys, gothic planet, gothic characters, and then I went to search Giger. (Jodorowsky's Dune) 
  47. Giger:  In Paris was the place where Jodorowsky and Dan O'Bannon saw my work displayed...
    and they wanted me to join them.
    (Jodorowsky's Dune)
  48. Giger: I met Jodorowsky for the first time in Paris. This was the evening when he attended...
    a Magma concert.
    (Jodorowsky's Dune) (June 3rd?)
  49. Giger:  I was just amazed by the quality... and I told them I felt just like Christ when he was on the cross. I was fulfilled, it was fascinating, the music. (Jodorowsky's Dune)
  50. Chris Foss:. Mais celui avec qui j’ai préféré travailler, c’est Jean Giraud. Très souvent sur Dune et Alien, je dessinais un décor nu et il rajoutait les personnages. Et encore une fois, c’est quelqu’un qui était extrêmement drôle. ( Translation): But the one with which I preferred to work, is Jean Giraud. Very often on Dune and Alien I drew a naked decor and it adds the characters. And again, this is someone who was extremely funny. (Popcorn No11, p62)
  51. Stanislav Grof: He suffered from depression and the Swiss Doctors gave him opium so he was on big prescribed doses of of opium which I didn't think was a great er, therapeutic approach. (http://expandingmind.podbean.com
  52. Cinephage: Et vous avez aussi conçu plu- sieurs pochettes de disques pour Emerson
    Lake & Palmer, Debbie Harry...

    Giger:
    Oui, Magma également. La première fois que Alejandro Jodorowski m'a demandé de travailler sur Dune, on était à Paris et il m'a emmené à un concert de Magma. Ça a commencé avec deux heures de retard. J'étais fasciné car jamais je n'avais entendu quelque chose de si fort. Je n'aime pas la pochette que j'ai faite pour eux. Ils me donnaient trop de « conseils » (rires).
    Cinephage:
    And you also designed several album covers for Emerson Lake & Palmer, Debbie Harry ...

    Giger: Yes, Magma also. The first time Alejandro Jodorowsky asked me to work on Dune, it was in Paris and he took me to a concert of Magma. It started with two hours late. I was fascinated because I had never heard anything so loud. I do not like the bag I made for them. They gave me too much "advice" (laughs). (Le Cinephage 07 1992)
     

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