In the late 1970s, Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis commissioned emerging filmmaker Ridley Scott to direct a film adaptation of the acclaimed novel. Dune. This happened after Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed attempt, but before David Lynch – the eventual director of the 1984 film of the same name – entered the game. By then Scott had evidently given up on the project, emotionally unwilling to devote more than two years to production. However, it seems that there were other reasons that involved Mexico City … specifically, its aroma.
In an interview with Total Film (via Games Radar), Ridley Scott recently spoke about his proposal to move Dune to the big screen. To begin with, the octogenarian filmmaker assured that the story of Paul Atreides and his misadventures on the planet Arrakis —the guiding thread in Frank Herbert’s primeval novel— “It was always something filmable”regardless of the enormous creative and technological demands. He even boasted of having conceived a “pretty good” project, based on a script signed by novelist Rudy Wurlitzer.
However, Dino De Laurentiis’ production plans put the director of Alien and their enthusiasm diminished.
«We did a very good version of Dune, because at the beginning I worked very, very closely with the scriptwriter. Always supported the aspect of the film in what he or she was writing“Scott commented to Total Film. “And then Dino got me into it and we said, ‘We did a script, and the script is pretty good.’ So Dino said: ‘It’s expensive, we’re going to have to do it in Mexico.’ I said that?!’. He said: ‘Mexico’. I said, ‘Really?’ So he sent me to Mexico City«.
Indeed, Ridley Scott set foot in the capital city of the Mexican Republic, but his interest in adapting the inadaptable science fiction book ended there. Was their experience really worse than a desert world, inhospitable and plagued by gigantic sandworms?
«With the greatest respect to Mexico City, in those days [la urbe estaba] quite smelly«Said the filmmaker. I didn’t love it. I went to the studio in Mexico City where the floors were dirt floors in the studio. I said, ‘No, Dino, I don’t want to make this a hardship.’ And so I retired [de la película]«.
As a curious fact, let’s remember that Dune David Lynch was filmed in various locations in our country; mainly, in the Churubusco Studies of Mexico City, then the Federal District.
From Ridley Scott, they currently remain on the Mexican billboard The last duel and the controversial drama (or comedy?) The Gucci house. On the other hand, don’t forget that Dune by Denis Villeneuve —The most recent adaptation of the homonymous novel— is now available through HBO Max Latin America.
The entry Ridley Scott resigned from Dune for not wanting to film in Mexico City was first published in Cine PREMIERE.