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David Lynch: 17 Lynchian Revelations from The Man From Another Place

Director David Lynch loves coffee and cheese. He's just like us! Well, not exactly . . .

26875351Director David Lynch’s films have added the helpful descriptor “Lynchian” to our vernacular, an adjective used to describe things that are just . . . not quite right. But it’s been some time since this cult-legend has made a film.

His last, Inland Empire, appeared in theaters in 2006. So Lynch fans were thrilled this year by the news that new episodes of his wonderfully weird series Twin Peaks are slated to arrive in 2016. (If you haven’t seen Twin Peaks, it is available on Netflix; stop everything you’re doing and watch it immediately. Especially the first season.)

Dennis Lim, a writer and curator of New York’s Film Society at Lincoln Center, has written an appreciation of the director in a new book The Man From Another Place. It reads as an excellent review of Lynch’s career, expertly condensed and easily digestible (no difficult film theory language here) for buffs and snobs alike.

We’ve compiled a list of perplexing and fun revelations from Lim’s book that can only be described as, for lack of a better term, Lynchian.

Download The Man From Another Place on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


 

eraserhead

Photo: Eraserhead. Courtesy of American Film Institute.

Just to put things in a “huh, what?” perspective: Lynch, born in 1946, is a direct contemporary of Steven Spielberg, and his first film, Eraserhead, premiered just two months before George Lucas’s Star Wars.

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Lynch became a father at age 22. “Eraserhead is commonly interpreted as a film about fear of fatherhood or of sex, a parable of reproductive dread,” Lim writes. Lynch has been married four times and has four children, one from each marriage.

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To pay the rent during production of Eraserhead, Lynch took up delivering the Wall Street Journal for cash.

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A Hollywood producer ran from the room, screaming, “People don’t act like that! People don’t talk like that!” after a screening of Eraserhead.

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blue velvet

Photo: Blue Velvet. Courtesy of De Laurentiis Entertainment Group.

While making The Elephant Man, Lynch suffered from serious imposter syndrome. “That’s the only time I really considered suicide as a way to stop the torment,” he said.

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When Lynch met Isabella Rossellini, he said, “you could be Ingrid Bergman’s daughter,” unaware that she is, in fact, Ingrid Bergman’s daughter.

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One screening response card of Blue Velvet read, “David Lynch should be shot.”

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twin peaks

Photo: Twin Peaks. Courtesy of Lynch/Frost Productions.

Mark Frost and Lynch met through their agents. They initially brainstormed on a project about Marilyn Monroe and went on to create Twin Peaks together. Frost then went on to create The X-Files. You may have heard of that show.

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Twin Peaks was “a short lived phenomenon,” Lim writes, “going from pilot to finale in a mere fourteen months.”

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SPOILER ALERT: To ensure that the identity of Laura’s killer not be leaked, the scene in which Maddie is killed was also filmed with Richard Beymer, the actor who plays Benjamin Horne.

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lost highway

Photo: Lost Highway. Courtesy of October Films.

Lost Highway was inspired by the O. J. Simpson case. “Here’s a guy who — at least, I believe, you know — committed two murders and yet is able to go on living and speaking, and, you know, doing and golfing . . . How does the mind protect itself from that knowledge and go on?” Lynch said.

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The Straight Story is the only film David Lynch did not write or co-write. It was rated G. “It also bears the mind-boggling credit ‘Walt Disney Pictures Presents a Film by David Lynch,'” Lim writes.

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Lynch once delivered a daily weather report on his website. [Ed note: Why doesn’t he still do this? It was, in true “Lynchian” fashion, both weird and charming.]

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Roberto Bolano’s gigantic novel 2666, published posthumously in 2004, “openly invites comparisons to Lynch,” Lim writes. In the novel, “there is a cybercafe called Fire, Walk With Me and an exchange about Lynch works.”

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mulholland drive

Photo: Mulholland Drive. Courtesy of Asymmetrical Productions.

Inland Empire was created as a 70-minute long monologue for Lynch’s friend and collaborator Laura Dern, which they filmed in his art studio. The resulting film is the only one out of all his films that Lynch shot digitally and edited on a computer.

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Lynch is a devotee of Transcendental Meditation, but some have theorized the practice has effected his desire to make a film. Director Abel Ferrara, in an interview, said, “Lynch doesn’t even want to make films anymore. I’ve talked to him about it, OK? I can tell when he talks about it.”

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Mulholland Drive was originally conceived as a television series for ABC, and in fact, the first two-thirds of the film were shot for that purpose, about a young woman who comes to Hollywood to find stardom. The crew, however, knew something was up. “We could look at David and say, ‘Something bad’s going to happen, isn’t it?’ And he would just sit there and take a puff of his cigarette and drink of his coffee and not say a word.”

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