Jodorowsky Persuades Dali to be in his Film
Excerpt from the documentary film, Jodorowsky’s Dune – The greatest film never made
In 1974, Alejandro Jodorowsky began working on possibly the most ambitious film ever attempted — a feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s DUNE. The following is a transcript of one of my favorite parts of the film – the interaction between Jodorowsky and Dali as told by Jodorowsky himself.
In that time,
I was seducing Dali…
because I wanted Dali
as the mad emperor of the galaxy.
Dali, to us, he seemed to be
the only emperor of the world…
with that extraordinary talent,
with his speech and his wording.
Dali says, “Nobody can understand Dali because
myself, never understand my work.
Never Dali understand
one painting of Dali…
because Dali only create enigmas.”
Dali was something, eh?
The first time we went to New York
was with Michel Seydoux.
We went to the St. Regis because
Michel Seydoux liked the St. Regis Hotel.
And we discovered that Dali
was also at the St. Regis Hotel!
I was reading a book about the Tarot.
And then I take a page
It was the Hanged Man…
I write, “I want to see you because
I will make a picture with you.”
He like it. To have this kind of
invitation. He say, “I will see you.”
I wait for you in the bar.”
The bar had a 6-meter long painting…
pre-Rafaelite, where there was a king…
and the nobles had a face
like they were hiding something.
Dali told me, “I like it here because
there is a 6-meter painting…”
dedicated to a fart.”
Dali told me,
“We are going to see each other in Paris.
I am going to think about it.”
In Paris, on the Champs Elyses,
there was a very fancy restaurant…
and he was there with his court.
He had 12…
Twelve persons at the table and him.
I want to ask something to you.”
“What, Mr. Dali?”
“When we was young, myself and
Picasso, we went to the beach.”
And we open the door of the car…
“…always in the sand, we find a clock.”
Dali asked, “Do you find, in your life,
a clock in the sand?”
And I say, “What I can answer?”
It was very quick, like this, because…
all the 12 person
are awaiting my question.
Because if I say I find,
all the time, clocks…
I will be a vanity person. Ridiculous.
If I say I never find a clock,
I will be a poor guy.
And suddenly came to me, I say:
“I never find a clock.
But I lost a lot.”
“Okay!” And then,
“I wait you in Barcelona!”
It was a game.
Also, Jodorowsky was part
of the surrealist movement…
and Dali liked that.
So it was a game between them.
Who would win the game?
He was going through his first adventure
with Amanda Lear…
this sort of
extraordinarily sexy person.
Nobody ever knew
if it was a man or a woman…
a completely incredible character.
A sort of muse, a poet’s muse.
And you had to meet him,
you had to tame him…
and he needed to tame you.
So he would make you go
through these initiations each time.
She treated me very well…
and she became an ally…
because I promised her the role
of Princess irulan.
“Be careful because Dali is destructive.
If he says ‘yes’, he is going to do
everything to destroy the film.”
Dali say to me, “I will work with you…”
but I want to be the actor…
Best paid actor in Hollywood.
“I want $100,000 per hour.”
I went back and told Alejandro,
“We’re never going to make it!”
But I couldn’t pay him
“the most in the world.”
That would be impossible.
Then step by step…
because we were stubborn
and because Alejandro would tell me…
that Dali was the only one
who could play the emperor…
the totalitarian emperor…
we had the idea of paying him…
by the minutes used.
I go to see Alejandro…
and ask, “How many minutes
is he going to be filmed?”
How many minutes
will he be in the movie?”
“Maximum five, probably three.”
So I said, “That’s the idea!”
I go back to see Dali and I say,
“I will pay you $100,000 per minute!”
He says, “That’s brilliant!
I will be the $100,000 a minute actor!”
I said, “I will take a mold of you,
and I will make
the emperor of the galaxy…
“…he is so afraid to be killed,
he will have a robot. And the robot will act.”
And Dali said, “Yes, if you give me
the sculpture for my museum.”
“Okay.” And then like this, I have Dali.