Dune: Riding the Worm

One component of Paul Atreides’ initiation into the Fremen culture involved him having to harness and ride one of the giant sandworms of Arrakis. This sequence consisted of a number of elements, which included some shots from the location shoot in the actual desert outside Juarez; some bluescreen work shot on one of the stages at Estudios Churubusco; some miniatures shot in post-production — and some live action with a section of full-scale worm built on the backlot.

The “worm” consisted of two segments mounted on a frame which ran on rails, hitched by cables to a pickup truck which would speed away from the set. The camera ran on parallel dolly tracks while Kyle MacLachlan as Paul would run beside the “worm”, through clouds of dust blown by big wind machines, and jam his Maker Hook into the folds between the segments.