The City of Absurdity   TWIN PEAKS
About the TV Show

David Lynch | Mark Frost | Angelo Badalamenti | Kyle MacLachlan | Sheryl Lee | Ray Wise | Robert Engels


David Lynch (Writer/Director/ "FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole")

"We were at Du Par's, the coffee shop at the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura and all of a sudden, Mark Frost and I had this image of a body wrapped in plastic washing up on the shore of a lake."

[Lynch and Frost developed Twin Peaks by drawing a map of the fictional town] "We knew where everything was, and it helped us decide what mood each place had, and what could happen there. Then the characters just introduced themselves to us and walked into the story."

The pilot was written in only nine days and shot in 23. "I didn't feel we compromised, and I felt good."

"These shows should cast a spell. It's sort of a nutty thing, but I feel a lot of enjoyment watching the show. It pulls me into this other world that I don't know about."

"It's been a real thrill to watch the show. The commercials are even thrilling. I like to see who's been advertising on it. Like Mitsubishi and McDonald's. Big companies."

"I didn't try to make 'Twin Peaks' realistic – it's sort of a mythical town and it's a desire town. It's where you'd want to go at 10 at night to just float and see what was gonna happen. The story revolves around what happens when the most popular girl in high school is mysteriously murdered – she's found floating face down at the Packard Saw Mill. We then get to know the secret lives of all the people in the town as an FBI agent attempts to unravel the crime."

"In the pilot, there's been a brutal murder of one of the most popular girls in the high school. and that's the starting point. It's about certain people in the town and an ongoing investigation, and it's about secrets. "

"I love the world of Twin Peaks. It has its own rules, and its mood, and its way of being...."

"Twin Peaks is about entering a world, falling in love with it, working within it, and letting it talk to you. To me, if it doesn't have honesty, and you don't obey those rules, then it won't work, it won't feel good, and the audience won't stay with it. That's also true of painting, or any movie."

"What is it about the ambience of that town and the dark firs looming in the deep wood carvings that lends itself to this time, this mystery and this sense of doubleness about all the characters? Just picture this kind of darkness and this wind going through these needles of the Douglas firs and you start getting a little bit of a mood coming along. And if you hear footsteps and you see a little in the window and you start moving toward it, little by little you're sucked in. And a mood, this fantastic mood and a sense of place comes along, and hopefully you like to go back and feel this each week."

"What's special about it to me is that its a bit of a dream. Its a warm and tender dream, a place you can go to. I love the mood of the place - its based a little bit on the B-Movie."

"We lucked out on the pilot, and everything fit just right. But any time limit is arbitrary and absurd. There's no law that says you have to end a show at a certain time. Other countries don't end shows on the hour. I don't know which countries. But I heard they did."

"I liked the idea of a continuing story that sucks you into a deeper world. But Laura Palmer's killer was never meant to be discovered. The mystery was meant to float permanently above the action. Once it got solved, something beautiful was lost."

I love the idea of a soap opera, of having the luxury of time for characters to unfold and reveal more and more about themselves. That study of human nature is fantastic to me. As an executive producer, I'm kind of like an overseer and that's how l'm going to stay with the series.

"The murder of Laura Palmer was the center of the story, the thing around which all the show's other elements revolved – like a sun in a little solar system. It was not supposed to get solved. The idea was for it to recede a bit into the background, and the foreground would be that week's show. But the mystery of the death of Laura Palmer would stay alive. And it's true: As soon as that was over, it was basically the end. There were a couple of moments later when a wind of that mystery – a wind from that other world – would come blowing back in, but it just wasn't the same, and it couldn't be the same. I loved Twin Peaks, but after that, it kind of drifted for me."

"You can give them [the audience] information but not the wrong information. In the case of Twin Peaks, Mark Frost and I never intended to solve the murder of Laura Palmer, it may recede into the background but it needed to be there because that was the mystery that enabled everything to happen. And once it was gone, it was over, and the show just drifted. So human beings love mysteries...I love a mystery, that at the end of the mystery, allows you room to dream. Continue the dream."

"There are certain things about it that deal with human nature that are going to strike human beings, and there are certain things about it that are very American."

"In a way Agent Dale Cooper – and Kyle would admit it – takes some things from me, you know. It may be a bit of an influence."

Referring to the scene in the pilot when Cooper finds something underneath Lauras fingernail:
"The thing I loved about it is that Kyle's obsessed. Not in a bad way. He's goofy."
"There's a magical line that you have to feel or you get into trouble. And sometimes you think that you feel it but you don't. It's interesting to go up on the line – you should go up to the line. The fingernail is near that line."

On the network's decision to place the show on hiatus six episodes before cancellation:
"We feel that there's people out there that really love Twin Peaks. We're in trouble and we need their help."
"We've all known the true "Twin Peaks" fan is a party animal and not home on Saturday night, and they have sorely missed the opportunity to have a party on a weeknight."
"We are looking forward to seeing which weekday night ABC will call 'party night' in the future."

Why Josie's in the drawer pull:
David Lynch: I miss Josie. Maybe we should bring her back.
Mark Frost: Uh, we kind of killed her, Dave...
David Lynch: Oh... Well, maybe she's not dead. I mean, can't we turn her into a piece of furniture or something?

Here you can order "Lynch on Lynch", the ticket into the world of David Lynch edited by Chris Rodley.


Mark Frost (Co-Writer)

"We drew a map. We started with the image of a body washing up on lake. We knew the town had a lumber mill, at the specifics we weren`t sure of."

"David [Lynch] was enthusiastic about the challenge of TV, about writing micro-films within commercial restraints."

"We were in exactly the right place at the right network, at the right time. The end of the Reagan era, a new decade – there were a lot of pointers."

"We own the show. There is no studio around that can milk this thing until it drops dead."

" had to do with David [Lynch]. When he got on the set, very often he threw out the script – which didn't please me all that much. But he would go off and do his own thing. He wasn't showing up all that often. He'd come in and direct an episode every once in a while."

"One day David [Lynch] called me up and said, 'Mark, there's a giant in Cooper's room,' and I said, 'I believe you'."

"He [David Lynch] wasn't really involved with the scripts. Then he'd go off on his own thing and leave us hanging."

"He wasn't really around for the first season. It was me and Bob Engles and Harley Peyton. We were shooting in an old ball-bearings factory with a skeletal production staff, just barely making the shows for the budget we had. It was like guerilla filmmaking. We made seven shows in 49 days, and I guess that was what was so much fun about it."

"I got an astonishing note from one of the censors they thought the act of twisting the chery stem was in some way a reference to oral sex. I called her up and said, 'What in the world would make you think that? You must have an absolutely filthy mind.' Censors, the whole idea is so childish. You feel like you're talking to hall monitors in school again."

"I'm a realist about how the networks work. In a business that's driven purely by economics, the fact that one or two unique shows happen to get on and reach the public for a brief time doesn't constitute a trend. I kept saying let's wait and see what happens. I didn't think Twin Peaks would change television. I thought TV would go on being what it's always been, which is a kind of flea market for entertainment browsers."


Angelo Badalamenti (Composer)

On the writing of the Laura Palmer Theme:

"David would say that the music should begin very dark and slow. He said imagine you are in the alone in the woods at night and you hear only the sound of wind and possibly the soft cry of an animal. I'd start playing and David would say, īThat's it, that's it! Now keep playing for a minute, but get ready for a change because now you see a beautiful girl. She's coming out from behind a tree, she's all alone and troubled, so now go into a beautiful melody that climbs ever so slowly until it reaches a climax. Let it tear your heart out.' Not a single note was ever changed."


Kyle MacLachlan (Special Agent Dale Cooper)

"I see my character as Jeffrey Beaumont (whom he played in Blue Velvet) grown up. Instead of being acted upon, he has command on the world."

"David is the keeper of the flame. This is his world. The show is unique because of the combination, the balance, of Mark and David. That uniqueness is not necessarily transferable. It may madden the staff when David directs a segment, because he throws the rules out. But to us actors that freedom is an elixir, a magic potion. It's hard to have it watered down once you've tasted it."


Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer/Madeleine Ferguson)

"People thought she was this all-American girl living a perfect life, but things are never as they appear to be. She had secrets"

"Laura has a wild streak in her, and I do, too. I just try to keep mine under control, which is, in the end, what would keep us from being friends. It would be hard to watch what she's doing to herself."

"To be known as someone who's dead is kind of strange. In Japan they made a wax corpse of my body and had a funeral on the day Laura was supposed to be killed. They showed me pictures from their version of People magazine, with hundreds of people at the funeral. So strange!


Ray Wise (Leland Palmer)

"When I first came in on "Twin Peaks" it was originally for the role of Sheriff Truman. David and Mark were seeing me for that role. And then we talked, our first meeting we talked for about 20 or 25 minutes about just life in general. And the first cars that we owned. I think David's was a Volkswagen and mine was a little 1960 Alfa Romeo convertible that was in pretty good shape. Anyway, we talked about our cars and a couple of people that we had in common, and that was the extent of the interview. They called back a few days later and my agent said, "Ray, they're interested in you for the part of Leland Palmer." And I said, "Wait a minute. Leland Palmer? Who's he?" So I opened up the script and I quickly rifled through the pages and said, "Ah yes. There's Leland Palmer, right here. Un huh. He hears that his daughter has been murdered. OK, he cries here . . . he goes to the hospital to identify his daughter's body and he breaks down and cries here." And I thought, "Oh my, this guy spends a lot of time crying, a lot of time with grief." And that was my introduction to Leland Palmer. I had to quickly look him up in the script. And then several days later, we were all chosen for our various parts, and we flew up to Seattle about a week later to begin the pilot. And I thought Leland was a pretty normal, straightforward, simple kind of a guy, who was a pretty good lawyer in town, reasonably intelligent, reasonably articulate, who was well liked, and unfortunately had a young daughter who was murdered. That's what I thought he was in the beginning."

"Leland, through his grief, has become terribly, terribly sad. Just moping around in corners. And he can't seem to be able to deal with the thought that his daughter is gone, that she was murdered violently. He sort of regresses back to a time in his past when he used to listen to big band music on the record player, that his father introduced him to. He loved that big band music, so he would play these songs from that era, the big band music, and they would soothe his spirit a little bit and calm him down and make him feel a little better. When he played these songs, he would naturally kind of do the dance of the time, which was a kind of a modified jitterbug. He would vary it with some slower steps. If people were watching very closely, they would have seen that the imaginary partner that Leland was dancing with varied in height from time to time and that sometimes that person would get very small. That was little Laura, when she was a little girl. Leland taught her how to dance. She would stand on his feet, and he would take the steps for her. So all of these things were going through Leland's mind at the time: the soothing music, dancing with his daughter. Then it would become too much for him and he would start to cry and to wail, and hold his head in his hands. That was the beginning of the Leland Shuffle – doing that modified jitterbug holding your head in your hands and wailing and crying, and dancing with yourself."

"Mark [Frost] went on to explain my last show and the meaning of the last show. And they also filled me in on some of the background that I hadn't been aware of--that BOB had been inside me for the last four or five years. Leland is a true innocent, in a sense, because he was totally possessed by this evil spirit BOB. So when they told me that it really took the edge off it for me. I was able to accept it a lot better after that."

"Yeah, they made us do everything but sign a paper [to keep the secret who killed Laura Palmer]. They stamped numbers on all of our scripts, so that if one of our scripts fell into foreign hands, they would know the party responsible for losing it. It sounds funny, but it was true that they tried to impose maximum security on the set, so that no one would know and so there wouldn't be any leaks. They even tried to fool the crew sometimes. They would have us do certain scenes with a couple of different actors, and they would film it and actually waste money and waste film – shoot superfluous footage, just so people wouldn't know who the real killer was."


Robert Engels (Writer/Executive Story Editor)

"A TV show about free-floating guilt that people just responded to"

back up

Twin Peaks | David Lynch main page
© Mike Hartmann