The City of Absurdity   The City of Absurdity
David Lynch's Film Projects – delayed or abandoned

  Following is a list of all David Lynch projects – delayed or abandoned – I've ever heard of. For new projects that are currently in development see PICTURE FACTORY page.

Please drop me an E-mail if you have any further information about a project or any project not included. Thank you very much.

List of David Lynch's Projects:

Ronnie Rocket
One Saliva Bubble
The Metamorphosis

Gardenback | I'll Test My Log... | Red Dragon | Dune Messiah | Tai Pan | Up the Lake | Goddess | The Lemurians | You play the Black... | White Hotel | Mulholland Drive | The Rap Factor | Dream of the Bovine | owns rights for



(1970), abandoned
- became in parts Eraserhead

David Lynch:
"a story about adultery, really, but it had a lot to do with gardens and insects"

"When you look at a girl, something crosses from her to you, and in this story, that something was an insect which grew in this man's attic, which was like his mind. The house was like his head. And the thing grew and meamorphosized into this monster which overtook him. He didn't become it, but he had to deal with it, and it drove him to completely ruin his home."
"I couldn't think in a regular enough way, with regular dialogue, to make it work for them. A lot of people tried to help me, but the bits that I liked started floating further apart, and in between, was the stuff I didn't like"

back to top

I'll Test My Log With Every Branch of Knowledge

(1974), abandoned
"It's a half-hour television show starring Catherine as the lady with the log. Her husband has been killed in a forest fire and his ashes are on the mantelpiece, with his pipes and his sock hat. He was a woodsman. But the fireplace is completely boarded up. Because she now is very afraid of fire. And she has a small child, but she doesn't drive, so she takes cabs. And each show would start with her making a phone call to some expert in one of the many fields of knowledge. Maybe on this particular day she calls a dentist, but she makes the appointment for her log. And the log goes in the dental chair and gets a little bib and chain and the dentist X-rays the log for cavities, goes through the whole thing, and the son is also there. Because she is teaching her son through his observations of what the log is going through. And then sometimes they go to a diner and they never get to where they're going. That was the idea"

back to top

Red Dragon

(1982), abandoned
script Walon Green, based on the novel by Thomas Harris in which the psychopath Hannibal Lector (Silence Of The Lambs) appears the first time.

"[I was] involved in that a little bit, until I got sick of it. I was going into a world that was going to be, for me, real, real violent. And completely degenerate."
the film was finally directed by Michael Mann and released as "Manhunter"

back to top

Dune Messiah

(1984/85), abandoned

back to top

Tai Pan

(1985), abandoned
based on the novel by James Clavell

Synopsis: "Dick Straun, a pirate, smuggler, and ruthless individual, finds glory beyond his dreams as the Tai-Pan, or supreme leader, of Hong Kong."

back to top

Up the lake

(1986), abandoned

back to top

Goddess:The secret lives of Marilyn Monroe

(1986), abandoned
co-written by Mark Frost, based on the book by Anthony Summers

"I always, like ten trillion other people, liked Marilyn Monroe, and was fascinated by her life. So when this came along I was interested, but, you know, what's the drill? I got into it carefully...We met with Anthony Summers, who wrote the book. The more we went along the more it was sort of like UFOs. You're fascinated by them, but you can't really prove if they exist. Even if you see pictures, or stories, or people are hypnotized, you never really know. Same thing with Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys and all this. I can't figure out even now what's real and what's a story. It got into the realm of a bio pic and the Kennedys thing and away from this movie actress that was falling. I got cold on it. And when we put in the script who we thought did her in, the studio bailed out real quick."

back to top

The Lemurians

(TV) (1987), abandoned
co-author Mark Frost

"The Lemurians was a thing Mark [Frost] and I were going to do as TV show. Based on the continent of Lemuria, which was fictitiously thought of as a very evil continent. It was sunk way before Atlantis even rose, sunk because they were so evil. Jacques Cousteau inadvertently moved a rock, very early in his travels, part of it was 'Jacques, Jacques, had to move that rock.' A lot of poems in it. Part of the lore surrounds the leaking of Lemurian essence from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Anyway, the essence is leaking, and becomes a threat to all goodness in the world. It's a comedy!"

The following information was provided by Dominic Kulcsar:
"I remember several months ago seeing a brief interview with David Lynch on a program, I think, that was called, Hollywood Men.
He spoke about his attempt to make a deal with his project The Lemurians, and it was about investigators trying to track down extra-terrestrials who were the descendants of the Lemurians , and what they would do was put an add in the newspaper and ask people to (I think) draw the eyes and ears on a face, and if they were too straight, or something, the person who did the drawing was obviously a Lemurian."

back to top

You play the black and the red comes up

(1989), abandoned
co-author Monty Montgomery, based on the novel by Richard Hallas

A film about "absurdity, insanity and nobody ever being in control of things- ideas," Lynch says, and he's "been playing with for a long time."

back to top

The White Hotel

(1990), abandoned
written by Dennis Potter, based on the novel by D.M.Thomas

Synopsis: "By turns a dream of electrifying eroticism recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud, and a horrifying yet calmly unsensational narrative of the Holocaust, this PEN Silver Pen winner is now recognized as a modern classic that reconciles the nightmarish with the transcendent."

back to top

Mulholland Drive

(1992), delayed
co-written by Robert Engels

David Lynch is currently (1998/99) working on a TV project entitled Mulholland Drive.

back to top

The Rap Factor

(TV), abandoned
based on the book by Delacorta

Synopsis: "Zulu, an ultra-cool private eye with a Ph.D from Yale, must solve the murder of Bashma, a beautiful young rapper who has been found dead in her apartment."

back to top

Dream of the Bovine

(1993), abandoned
co-written by Robert Engels

David Lynch:
"I wrote a comedy with my friend Bob Engels called 'Dream of the Bovine,' which was a really dumb, really stupid, meant-to-be-pitifully-bad-quality budget thing. Not too many people were interested in that."

"I wrote a script called Dream of the Bovine, and no one cared two wits about that script. Very stupid comedy."

"...a really bad, stupid and repulsing comedy, but I found the whole thing just fantastic"

"To make this film, I must be free, this is an absolute priority. This liberty gives you the total responsability for what you project on other people"

Robert Engels: "[it's about] three guys, who used to be cows, living in Van Nuys and trying to assimilate their lives."

The action should take place in Paris 1911 and Lynch wanted to film it in black and white. Besides that someone mentioned that the story is inspired by an unknown novel.

back to top

David Lynch owns film rights for:

  • Barry Gifford's novel "NightPeople"(unconfirmed!)
    "Lost Highway are two words from Barry Gifford's novel Night People. Two words that made me dream.
    ...and I said to Barry, "I love those two words together we should make something called Lost Highway. The phrase had a lot of potential for me. The unknown was suddenly pulling me in and I was ready to go into another world. It became about mood and those kinds of things that can only happen at night. It held promise and intrigue and mystery."

  • Joe R. Landsdale's novel "Much Mojo" (unconfirmed!)
    Synopsis: "Cleaning out the house of their recently deceased uncle, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine discover a child's skeleton wrapped up in pornographic magazines and are forced to confront the ugly possibilities while searching for answers."

  • Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder by John Gilmore (unconfirmed!) "The Black Dahlia murder hit post-War Los Angeles like a bombshell. Beautiful Elizabeth Short's naked body was found drained of blood and cut in half."

Other planned projects:

Geek Love, unconfirmed
based on the novel "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn
(I've been told that Tim Burtons production company owns the rights now)

"A wild, often horrifying, novel about freaks, geeks and other aberrancies of the human condition who travel together (a whole family of them) as a circus. It's a solipsistic funhouse world that makes "normal" people seem bland and pitiful. Arturo the Aqua-Boy, who has flippers and an enormous need to be loved. A museum of sacred monsters that didn't make it. An endearing "little beetle" of a heroine. Sort of like Tod Browning's Freaks crossed with David Lynch and John Irving and perhaps George Eliot -- the latter for the power of the emotions evoked."
(Horror Editor's Recommended Book, 11/01/96)

List of Seven
based on the novel "List of Seven" by Mark Frost

back back to top

Other Works page | David Lynch main page
© Mike Hartmann