David Lynch says he “died a death” during Dune

David Lynch says he “died a death” during Dune

Dune director David Lynch says that not insisting on final cut when making the 1984 film led to his career’s biggest failure.

david lynch dune

Paul Atreides said that fear was the mind-killer and bringer of total obliteration. But David Lynch may attribute that more to studios. As Dune marks its 40th anniversary – Denis Villeneuve actually does justice to the Frank Herbert property – David Lynch is reflecting on the nightmare that was dealing with the suits while making his 1984 sci-fi film.

Speaking with NPR, David Lynch said that Dune was the failure he learned from the most – and it came down to him making the mistake of trusting the studio. “I knew already one should have final cut before signing on to do a film. But for some reason, I thought everything would be OK, and I didn’t put final cut in my contract. And as it turned out, Dune wasn’t the film I wanted to make, because I didn’t have a final say.”

David Lynch hasn’t made a movie in 18 years (unfortunately his cryptic tease for something new was an album and not a new film) but took his lesson from Dune and put it to use for the seven features that followed. “So that’s a lesson I knew even before, but now there’s no way. Why would anyone work for three years on something that wasn’t yours? Why? Why do that? Why? I died a death. And it was all my fault for not knowing to put that in the contract.”

David Lynch’s Dune no doubt has its supporters but what Villeneuve has done with the works transcends even the most visionary of his predecessors. The story behind Lynch’s Dune is, to many, far more interesting than the film itself – it’s just too bad it broke its director to the point where he blamed himself. Even still, that he could use the lessons he learned to insist on creative control on his future projects – whether in film, television, music, and beyond – might have been worth all of the headaches.

What do you think the legacy of David Lynch’s Dune is 40 years on? Is it the colossal failure most think or does it have merit? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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