David Lynch's 1984 adaptation of Dune, with its grotesque baron, lithe Sting and pre-Blue Velvet Kyle McLachlan, sharply divided the audience for what's often considered SF's bestselling novel. It succeeded neither critically nor commercially — even the easy-going Roger Ebert dissed it, calling it "a real mess... incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless." Audiences generally agreed, and many of the novel's fans thought the baroque film took too many liberties.
To the author himself, though, the film succeeds at many levels, in some ways better than his novel. "As far as I'm concerned, the film is a visual feast," he says in the interview, going on to explain that he wants to frame some of the film's stills so he can have them around him. Herbert was heavily involved with the Lynch film, and even admits at one point that his own screenplay for Dune was horrible.
There's much more to the interview, posted in six parts — Lynch mentioning he'd finished a script for Dune 2, the two men saying they'd barely heard of each other until they came to work together, and Herbert explaining the political origins of his 1965 novel which has since spawned several adaptations and a sequel/prequel cottage industry.
I'm a history buff... and I got the idea that we had not looked at the messianic impulse in human society... the impact of a messiah, on history, as the creator of a power structure. Because no matter how good the messiah, other people enter the scene. Other people are attracted to the power structure. Every messiah I studied in history was a reformer.
Said Lynch of the project of adapting a book with such a large and rabid following: "You've got to be either stupid or crazy to try something like this."
You can watch all 6 parts here.
[via Edward Champion]