No one is happier to talk about the new Twin Peaks without saying much than David Lynch.
The filmmaker has reunited with Mark Frost, cocreator of the 1990-91 series, for an 18-hour reboot that premieres May 21 on Showtime. On Monday, the former Philly art student (Lynch studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) took questions from reporters at the Television Critics Association’s winter meetings.
It was, to employ an overused word, surreal. Even Lynchian.
Asked how he and Frost had worked together, Lynch, who directed all 18 hours of the new show, began with an answer that might have come from a fairy tale:
“Well, in the beginning, many years ago, we were, Mark and I, as if lost in the wilderness, as it always is in the beginning, and then we seemed to find some mountain, and we 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 when we came out of the woods, we discovered this small town called Twin Peaks. And we got to know many of the people in Twin Peaks, and the people who visited Twin Peaks, and we discovered a mystery, and within this mystery were many other mysteries. And we discovered a world, and within this world, there were other worlds, and that’s how it started, and that’s what brought us here today. This story continues, involving mountains and forests and the discovery of a small town.”
Which was charming, but not, apparently, what the reporter had in mind.
Pressed for more, Lynch said, “We work together on Skype. Mark lives in Ojai and I live in Hollywood and we write and Skype together.”
Not quite so poetic.
Given that his style has evolved since the original Twin Peaks, what should fans expect of the new show?
“I see it as a film, and a film in parts is what people would experience, and it was a joyful, fantastic trip with this great crew and great cast, and this word ‘expect’ is a magical word, and people expect things, and their expectations are met, hopefully, when they see the thing,” Lynch said.
Other snippets from Lynch’s meeting with reporters:
On whether he’d thought about the characters over the years: “I love this world of Twin Peaks, and I often thought about what might be happening [there].”
On Showtime CEO David Nevins’ promise that the new show would be “pure heroin David Lynch”: “I hear heroin is a very popular drug these days.”
On briefly stepping away from the project a couple of years ago: “I would rather not discuss that.”
On whether this will be the last we’ll see of Twin Peaks: “Well, before I said I wasn’t going to revisit it, and I did. You never say no. But right now there’s no plans for anything more.”
On the groundbreaking original: “I didn’t really know about television. … We just were telling the story.”
On what killed the original Twin Peaks: “Who killed Laura Palmer was a question that we did not ever really want to answer, and that Laura Palmer mystery was, like I said, the goose that laid these little golden eggs. And then at a certain point, we were told we needed to wrap that up and it never really got going again after that.”
On why he and Frost are a good team: “Mark is very smart.”
[Updated with new quotes.]