Notes from the Twin Peaks UK Fest Q&A session

Below are some snippets of the Q&A session that closed the 2017 Twin Peaks UK Festival. Comments are largely paraphrased – we had to scribble down answers as quickly as possible, so it’s not a perfect transcript and is certainly not definitive!

At the Q&A were cast members Sherilyn Fenn (SF); James Marshall (JM); Amy Shiels (AS); Jake Wardle (JW); Michael Horse (MH); and Sean Bolger (SB). Also there were head of make-up and prosthetics Debbie Zoller (DZ) and executive producer Sabrina Sutherland (SS).

Of course, DL is David Lynch and MF is Mark Frost!

In brackets are contextualising questions, audience reactions and our editorial comments.

DZ: There was only one instance where they got to test the make-up in advance of shooting. Everything else was done for the first time during production.

MH: (asked about the famous Diane Shapiro speech) Often gets asked to recite it, but has forgotten most of it! Felt OG TP was first time a Native American character had been shown in a contemporary role, free of stereotypes.

JM: (on getting to work with DL) Was an Eraserhead kid, watching it again and again, rewinding the VHS tape back. It was the age of rewind! Saw Elephant Man at the cinema, cried every day for weeks afterwards. Was stunned by sound design of it.

SF: (on finding out about TPTR) Ran into MF at her chiropractor’s, said hi to each other. Then Doctor let slip that MF was writing with DL again. This was long before word had got out about TR!

SB: Before TR, only Twin Peaks he had seen was the season 2 finale, in college, on mushrooms…

JW: (asked what he had been told of character in advance) Had been Skyping with DL for a while. DL said he wanted him in a project. Later told it was TPTR. One Skype chat, told by DL he’d be playing Freddie, a cockney with a magic green glove and super strength. His reaction was – cool!

AS: (on role of Candie) No clue of character until she got pages with her lines. Thought it was a small role at first. Was told she’d be in scenes with “two of your colleagues”. When she saw the skeleton of her costume – she screamed! A big clothing rail, hanging from it this tiny little pink tutu. Costume developed with feather, gloves, etc. When her hair was done for the first time the real Candie came out. Character kept fighting her way into more and more scenes. When DL directed her, she was so shy she kept making an ugly nervous laugh! Then he gave her the ‘ugly cry face’ scene.

DZ: (on challenges of make-up) Every day was a challenge! She had to keep all the knowledge in her head about the different characters, and not tell anyone anything. Cast only knew own roles/scenes so the reference photos had to be taken down in the trailer whenever anyone came in, as they couldn’t be allowed to see other cast members/roles.

SB: DL was cool to work with. On set, DL told him – I think your character’s name in Chris. But they didn’t go into his motivation for cleaning car windows!

SS: (on creating the Frogmoth) This was BUF, DL, and a little of Phil. (could be Philip Bartko, special effects?)

DZ: Fun to do make-up for the Drunk. Played by DL’s old assistant. Exciting to do, Jay really brought it to life.

(As SS’s mic starts to emit feedback every time she tries to speak)
SS: Is it just me?
JM: Just you.
(audience laughs)

MH: (on returning to film in Snoqualmie) Things were mostly the same. The Sheriff’s station is now a racing driver training school.

MH: (on his phone call scenes with the Log Lady) Catherine Coulson’s side had already been recorded. She was a friend and he wanted to do it to honour her bravery and dignity.

SF: (on filming the new Audrey’s dance) It was awkward dancing in front of a crowd. It had also been awkward recording the dance in S1. In TPTR, it was a relief after all Audrey had been through that she had a place that was safe, where she could escape into her own world.

SF: (on the mirror ending) Stressed that these are just her ideas. The world is so difficult now, people create prisons in their own minds. Most revealing line was when Audrey asks: Who am I?

SF: Although she didn’t film with Richard Beymer, he visited her on set. DL simply refers to him as “Audrey’s Dad” on set.

JM: (was he surprised to be singing Just You at the Roadhouse?) Yes! History of the song: on set, they knew he played guitar. DL suggested he do a song on the show. But what kind? JM suggested a 50s style song, like Only You with long falsetto. They cleared the set, just JM, DL and Angelo B. DL started forming song, singing while AB played on the piano. Later, music recorded for JM to sing over, but not in his key! So stretched his voice a bit. It’s a cringer, but it’s beautiful. When told they’d do it again in TPTR: thought, great, record again, do in better key. But no! It was the original! Something transcendental about it, you are always the same as you are when you’re born, and even though time has passed, James and the song are still the same.

JW: (on his showdown with Bob: how did it read on the page?) It didn’t! It wasn’t on any page. He had been given his lines for scenes up to knocking out Chad. He asked if that was the end of character’s arc as he felt there was more: DL casually said there was more! Sheriff’s office scene was never written down for them. Was a 2-day shoot. On 1st day, filmed all up until the orb. DL told him: tomorrow you’ll be bloodied up and you’re fighting Bob! He realised the implication of this, having recently watched OG TP. THE BOB! Fight choreography was rough. Was told to imagine an orb with Bob’s face in it. What he imagined was smoother and with lightening coming out of it. But he likes the lumpier one you see on screen. DL directed him on the bullhorn – “He’s above you! Smack him!” (Does this in a DL-style voice to much amusement!) For punching shots, was told to punch directly into the camera. There was padding around it. He was told to punch the padding, and did so. JM was watching scene, hadn’t realised JW had been told this, and said, alarmed – no, you’re not supposed to hit it! Further shots involved him punching lens protector, which eventually shattered. For a moment he thought he had actually broken the camera.

AS: (on fly swatting scene) it was intense. Filmed fly-swatting twice, then had to spend hours doing distraught-crying. It’s not the first time she has gone after flies on camera! She had to catch fireflies in a terrible horror movie she did once. (we looked this up – a 2009 film called ‘Slaughter’) Maybe it’s the basis of a fly-chase-based trilogy? If you have such a role going – call her!

Tom the moderator: Although your scene was small, how do you feel about it involving such an important piece of the puzzle (key being found, sent on)?
SB: God bless you, Tom.

SB: When SB was a kid, James Belushi painted his parents’ house. Belushi also dressed up as Santa at Christmas. When SB’s episode aired, Belushi texted him a picture of the end credits featuring both their names, with the words “finally together”.

SB: (on working with DL) Sense of calm on set emanated from DL and who DL is. Even though role was small, when his role wrapped, DL halted everything and gathered all around to mark his end of shooting.

JM: On OG TP set, he sometimes jammed with Miguel Ferrer (who drummed). On TR, they were on set together for Sheriff’s office scene. He wanted to speak to MF but couldn’t catch his attention. DL had always told JM he was too polite. DL shouted into the bullhorn “Miguel! Miguel!” to get his attention for JM.

They were all asked about how they watched TPTR:

DZ: Held screening parties. Got a cardboard cut-out of Kyle MacLachlan from Showtime, who wasn’t able to attend himself, and put it up. Sparked #CardboardKyle amongst party-goers!

JW: I have the Sky Go app on my PS4. (audience cheers most millennial thing he could have said!) He watched by himself on Monday mornings. Then Sky Atlantic repeated it Tuesday night when he watched with family.

AS: With some friends and their 7 dogs!

SF: Hasn’t got through the whole series yet.

MH: With his wife. She hadn’t seen OG TP; wondered why he wasn’t as cool as Hawk! His cat Carlos was transfixed by TP.

They were all asked for a defining memory of filming TP:

SF: The pilot, in the school hallway, hearing the bell go, and memories of being at school came flooding back.

JM: Before TP, lived in a small apartment in the valley. Was content going on auditions but wanted to do something. Something happened to his car, and he ended up with a black moped. It was romantic riding this moped through the Hollywood hills. Rode it to the audition to play the Harley guy. And so he ended with a bigger apartment and a Harley!

AS: There was so much traffic on the strip…

JW: First day of shooting, end of pt 2 walk into Roadhouse with James. First time on set, very overwhelming, crew, extras, he was very nervous. When the scene started playing and the Roadhouse came to life, and he walked in with James, all the fear washed away and he felt inner peace, that he was in the exact place he needed to be.

MH: Realising he would work with Robert Forster. What an icon. One day he looked at me as if to say – I don’t get this. And I said – I don’t get it either! After a couple of days he said – “oh, you and I are the straight guys. Everything will come past us and you’ll tell me what they mean.” And I want to say god bless Harry Dean Stanton. I’ve known HDS since the 70s. Every time I met him he’d act like he didn’t know who I was. The 60s were good to him! What a great actor.

SB: At the wrap party, ended up going to dinner with a bunch of cast members who he’d never met before. And at the end of the night everyone exchanged numbers and he got invited to visit people. Didn’t matter that his role was small. Everyone involved in the show, and it extends from David to cast, the crew, and out to the fans, has so much love and care. It was a life-altering experience.

DZ: In early production she’d be called into secretive meetings and given cryptic notes, wasn’t allowed to leave with notes or the script. Would leave each time bug-eyed. Went to Australia for a job and was in the restroom of a marketplace; restroom was decorated in decoupage of pictures. And when she sat down, there was DL’s face staring at her from the door of the stall. And she knew she was in the right place!

SS: Most important thing was being able to work with Warren Frost, Catherine Coulson, Miguel Ferrer, Marv Rosand and Harry Dean Stanton.

Audience Qs:

DZ: (asked how Mr C make-up achieved) I can’t answer that! (turns to SS) Is there anything about this in the behind-the-scenes segment for the DVD? (audience gasps – SS has her head in her hands)
SS: There are “special things” on the DVD that we can’t discuss
SS: (later on) The reason we can’t talk about the Mr C make-up is because DL likes to keep the mystery alive, not explain and break the spell.

SF: (asked about how the last time she was at TP UK Fest, she’d said that her one wish for Audrey in TR would be to finally get together romantically with Cooper – how does she feel about how things turned out?) Probably the same as all of you!

SS: (asked how part 8 appeared on the page) There was an 8 minute segment in the script that wasn’t there, we didn’t know what it was, only that it was 8 minutes. Turned out to be the atomic bomb sequence.

SS: (asked about how she felt filming her scenes on casino floor) It was near the end of filming. It made a sad occasion more fun. (from the Saturday SS Q&A)  DL “tortured” her by constantly changing the amount of money she had to say!

SS: (asked about Andy/Lucy role in story and Lucy’s take-down of Mr C) DL thinks A&L are very strong people and should not be dismissed. Always written that Lucy would shoot Mr C, but Kimmy Robertson was only told about this on the day of shooting with the gun in her hand!

DZ: (on Diane’s fingernail design) That was all Laura Dern. LD & DL met privately to decide on her initial look when we meet Diane the 1st time. Then DZ was involved from 2nd time we meet Diane.

SS: (asked what the first and last scenes shot were) 1st scene was Warren Frost’s Skype call, recorded during pre-production. Last scene was with Monica Bellucci in Paris.

MH: (asked if he was disappointed that Hawk hadn’t got a promotion in 25 years) He has had a promotion – from Deputy to Deputy Chief. (but not to Sheriff?) The Hawk doesn’t want that sort of responsibility!

SS: (on MF’s involvement during filming): He did visit the set, but MF largely not involved during production phase and post-production. Mainly writing TSHOTP and possibly even some of the Final Dossier.

SS: (on the idea that this is DL’s final work) TPTR is NOT a swansong for Lynch. He has not retired. She expects he will direct again in film or TV. She is still working on the show. (presumably for the blu-ray release etc)

We hope you enjoyed our attempt at covering some of the topics from the Q&A!

We also attended the Saturday night James Marshall gig. These are a couple of videos of James performing with Michael Horse and Amy Shiels.

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