David Lynch does not court the press – preferring, instead, to tell his stories within his projects, on screen. He’s often described by the entertainment media as reclusive, but the fact is, he simply does his work and lets it speak for itself. That’s an approach that is at odds with the publicity-driven, marketing-heavy processes of modern TV and film production, so it was an enormous surprise when David Lynch appeared on stage at the Twin Peaks event for the Television Critics Association.
When the Twin Peaks TCA panel was announced for January 9th, we knew that something interesting would happen. There were hopes of another teaser or trailer, or of a snippet of footage as a work-in-progress – but that is just not David Lynch’s style. Instead, Showtime announced the premiere date (a big moment in itself), and unexpectedly presented the show’s co-creator and director to field questions for 15 minutes. As it turned out, David Lynch revealed himself to be more adept at side-stepping requests for information than the most tight-lipped Marvel Cinematic Universe star – as he demonstrated when he was asked how Twin Peaks compares to his other work, and what fans should expect from this revival.
“First, it was just the same as all the others. I see it as a film. A film in parts is what people will experience. It was a joyful, fantastic trip with this great crew and cast… This word ‘expect’ is a magical word. People expect things, and their expectations are met when they hopefully see the thing.”
Asked about the process of writing the show with his collaborator, Mark Frost, Lynch gave his most detailed answer of the session – almost evoking the scent of freshly milled trees.
“Well, in the beginning, many years ago, Mark and I were as if lost in the wilderness, as it always is in the beginning. Then we seemed to find a mountain and began to climb, and when we rounded the mountain, we entered a deep forest, and going through the forest for a time the trees began to thin, and then coming out of the forest we discovered a small town of Twin Peaks. We got to know the people of Twin Peaks and got to know this mystery… We discovered this world. And within this world there are other worlds. That’s how it started.”
Indeed, it seems it was Mark Frost that kickstarted this revival project in the mind of David Lynch, as the director explained when asked if he’d been thinking about Twin Peaks over the past 25 years.
“I’ve often wondered about this beautiful world and characters. Mark asked if I wanted to go back to this world. That’s what got us going again for this one.”
Interestingly, Lynch was asked about his dealings with Standards And Practices while making the original show back in 1991. Fans will be aware of the fact that, while it was a drama series that broke new ground in television programming, it was also a show that featured a great deal of disturbing themes, punctuated by violence. Reflecting upon those dealings, Lynch expressed surprise at how far small-screen boundaries could actually be pushed.
“We didn’t have hardly any problem with S&P in the old days, 25 years ago. In fact, I couldn’t believe the freedom and the things we did. If you look at the show, it’s kind of amazing. Sometimes dialogue had to be changed, but those changes led to a better thing. We had a lot of freedom.”
Hopefully that freedom is unchanged, and the new Twin Peaks series will retain exactly the aesthetic and approach to difficult subject matter that made it such a striking story a quarter of a century ago.