Twin Peaks 2017: Interview with David Lynch

Kyle as Favorite Actor

David Lynch: Kyle is at once kind of an innocent and also someone who is very smart.  And he is kind of an every guy and yet he’s for Agent Cooper, got this quality of intuition.  He’s got tremendous energy, he’s bright-eyed, he’s energetic and goes with intuition.  Kyle embodies all those things for me for Agent Cooper.  He is definitely Special Agent Dale Cooper.

David Lynch in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

 

Twin Peaks: Reboot

DL: I have said I love the world of “Twin Peaks” and I would think about it fondly during those years.  And sometimes would wonder what people were doing and wonder about how things were left.  But I didn’t really think of going back into the world until Mark Frost invited me to Lunch at Musso and Frank and we started talking and that was about five years ago.

David Lynch and Miguel Ferrer in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Directing and Painting

They say cinema takes seven arts, writing, and music, painting, many, many things.  But I came into the world of cinema through painting.  I was at the Pennsylvania Academy of fine arts, sitting in a small cubicle working on a painting in a garden at night and I was watching the painting, and I heard from the painting a wind.  And I saw the painting start to move.  And I said oh, a moving painting.  And that experience was what started it going.  And I made a stop motion animated film, a one minute film loop of six men getting sick and it was my first film, one minute long.  And I kept getting green lights in the world of cinema, but it came out of painting.

Music and Sound

For me, cinema is always sound and picture moving along together through time.  And it’s moving and sometimes it moves fast and sometimes it moves slow, like music.  And there’s many, many elements that go together to make a story in cinema, and all the elements are so critical, to try to get them as good as possible.  Then the whole thing can hold together.  But cinema is a lot like music, it has different movements and it sometimes can go very loud and it sometimes can go very quiet and the way the music comes in is so important and the way it goes out.  And that’s a thing in a theater and every theater is different, the picture is one way and it’s a little different in every theater and the sound is a little bit different in every theater, but it’s really important, now with the computers and I-Phones and all these things, the sound suffers tremendously.  And people think they have seen a thing, but they haven’t really seen it the way it was built and supposed to be heard and supposed to be seen.  So I say if you can get the word out, people should watch these parts of the film with headphones and get as close to the screen as they can to the image, with good headphones, and then they have a chance of getting in that world.  There’s so many distractions in our world. And just a car going outside a window can destroy a mood that you are trying to get into this story.  So all the things are very critical, how it’s seen, where it’s seen, how good the sound is and how good the picture is, the number of interruptions, it’s just real important that you can quiet everything down and make it dark and get into that world with the headphones and an image close to you.

Changes Over the Past 25 Years

I am the same person.  Just like you. When we talk to ourselves, we are always the same.   I love a lot of things.  I love working on wood, I like painting, I like music and I like cinema. And so getting back into the world of “Twin Peaks” is really thrilling to me and for the last five years like I said, I have been working on this.  So it was very good to get back with a crew and the cameras and the sound and build this thing with a lot of great people.

Ashley Judd and Richard Beymer in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

World of TV

The delivery system is television, but it’s exactly like making a feature film.  It’s telling a story with motion picture and sound.  And so it’s always the way it is.

 

Telephones

I like old phones, the ring of old phones. It’s a disturbance a telephone, and every time the phone rings and you know it’s for you, it’s a torment.  So, I don’t like email, so it’s a world of disturbances, it’s what it is.  And the glass box is a little different from that.

Mädchen Amick and Peggy Lipton in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Self Image

Well I always say that my doctors ask me to not think about that.  You can ask another question. I interpret it for myself, because everybody is different, and we are seeing the same thing and hearing the same thing and everybody, just like in life, we see the same things and we hear the same things and we try to figure out what’s going on.  So it doesn’t do any good.  I always say, you can’t dig up a dead author and ask him or her about their book, you read the book and figure it out for yourself.  And that is a beautiful thing, to see things like a detective think and feel and come up with your own conclusions, that is a very beautiful thing.  And it’s always that way.

 

Appeal of Twin Peaks—Then and Now

I don’t know what will happen, but the same thing was true for the first “Twin Peaks” and you don’t know what will happen, until you release something into the world.  It’s out of your control.  It was a big surprise that “Twin Peaks” traveled around the world and people really liked it.  And now, going back in, the rule was to follow the ideas, be true to the ideas, do it as good as you can, and when it’s finished, you release it.  And there’s nothing you can do.  You just do the best job that you can.

It’s kind of a mystery why the show traveled so well.  And people have said, they don’t really know how a small town, a story in the Northwest of America, appealed to the Japanese or the French. It just was an interesting, fantastic phenomenon, but it was a magical combination of things.

 

Collaborating with Mark Frost

When Mark and I start writing together, it’s really an enjoyable fun experience.  I don’t know exactly how it unfolds, but we start one place and talk and think and ideas start coming in. There were certain things that were there from the start that we wanted to follow, but then more ideas came along and the thing became what it is.  It’s a process and a real good process.

 

Making Movies

I will make movies, for sure, if I got an idea.  To make a film or anything, you have to get an idea that is thrilling enough to get you out of the chair and go to work.

Direction of Series

This is just the first two hours and then three and four were also available and so it’s something that’s not finished until it’s finished.  And just like anything, you watch it and you feel it and you go along and it adds up to something in the end and then you can think about that.

 

Red Curtains

In the Pilot of “Twin Peaks” we were required to come up with some alternate ending, in case “Twin Peaks” was a bust, they would release it Europe as a feature.  So they kept saying David, you have got to come up with an alternate ending while we were shooting.  And so nothing was happening, and we were editing at Consolidated Film Industries, CFI, on Seward Street and it was about seven o’clock at night on a Summer night.  And we came out of the editing room finished for the day, and it was Dwayne Dunham and Brian Berdan, editor and assistant editor and I, came out of the room.  And we went into the parking area and we were talking, and I leaned against the roof of a car.  And that felt really beautifully warm.  Not too hot, just very warm.  And I was learning against this, and the red room came in.  Every single thing was there in an instant.  And I said Dwayne, and I went and wrote that down.  And then I showed that to Mark and we made a few changes and there it is.  25 years later there we are back in there.

Concept of Doppleganger

I don’t know what it is.  I don’t really even think about it so much.  Ideas come and then there is this two always.  There’s something about duality and unity that is a human cosmic sort of thing.  Duality and unity.  And maybe that is something that is in the air and it conjures these opposites.

 

Notion of Silence

They say that in the transcendent, in the unified field, there is infinite silence alongside infinite dynamism.  These two opposites co-exist together.  I have a recording studio and so when you close the doors and even when the machines are off, it’s so well sound proofed that you experience it really, really quiet.  But to dive within and experience that silence, that is an unbelievable experience.  It’s very blissful but it’s absolute silence.  Silence is so powerful and it’s so missing in the world, it’s a really noisy world.  So silence is this basis in which all these sounds and all these things come, there’s something about that with music too.  It’s really quiet and the timing of when something emerges and how it emerges, how loud it gets at what points and how it goes, it’s all coming off of this idea of no sound, of silence.  So it’s very interesting to think about silence.

Meditation

DL: I practice transcendental meditation, which is a technique brought back for this time by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it’s a technique to effortlessly dive in and experience the internal level of life.  It is so blissful to transcend and it’s an all-positive area within every one of us human beings, and when we transcend and experience that, we infuse some of that all-positive and the result is as I say, negativity starts to lift away and it’s like bringing in the gold and saying goodbye to garbage.  Life gets better and better.  And then we are on our way to unfolding our true potential as human beings, which is enlightenment, and totally fulfillment and liberation.  And it’s a beautiful thing for the human being.  Everybody should be meditating, everybody should be transcending and diving within every day, and the key to peace is within that as well.  So it’s a beautiful thing and that is silence within, and it’s blissful and powerful.

I have a foundation to try to raise money to try to give this technique to people who can’t afford it on their won.

Being Artist

I don’t even think about that.  I like to catch ideas and the idea I always say dictates everything.  You could be sitting and say oh I have an idea to go to the store to get some coffee.  That’s an idea.  Or you can be sitting and get an idea, and ideas dictate everything.  So you can be sitting in a chair and get an idea for a chair, a new chair.  And you get so fulfilled with the thrill of it, that you get some wood, you go into the woodshop and you start building that chair.  And how do you build it?  You just remember the idea, and this goes like this and this goes like this, and so beautiful.  And, you start building it according to the idea.  And, what might come out is that someone could say that there is a certain style, but it wasn’t that you were trying to make a style, it was trying to realize an idea, translating an idea to some medium.

 

Feature Filmmaking

It’s not such a good time for the feature film like the French New Wave of the 1960s for instance, when it was a glorious time for the art houses.  Art houses were getting more business than the regular theaters.  And it was beautiful. People were really experimenting and finding a new way of cinema.  And then it changed.  And now, the art houses are gone and what’s in the theaters in not necessarily, it’s what a lot of people want and it’s a business.  But it could come back.  I am off to the Cannes Film Festival and that is a festival that celebrates cinema.  And the kind of cinema that used to be and still is being made, but it’s usually a cinema that might last in a theater in New York for a week and then go to DVD or Blu-Ray and that’s the way you will see it from then on.  So there’s sadness, you get an idea that is thrilling for a feature film, and then you have to think well, it’s built for the theater, but how many days will you have it in the theater?  It’s kind of depressing.

I think that there’s plenty of people out there who get ideas and will make films that will be great.  They just may not be shown in a theater