Directing a filmmaker in a movie must be a slightly strange, and even worrying, thing to do. But imagine the movie is your first and the filmmaker is the legendary Eraserhead and Blue Velvet auteur David Lynch. That’s the situation in which actor-turned-director John Carroll Lynch found himself when making the drama Lucky, which stars the late Harry Dean Stanton and boasts a supporting cast of, among others, Tom Skerritt, Ron Livingston, and Mr. Twin Peaks himself.
“I guess I’m not familiar with his work, so much,” deadpanned the Lucky director when EW recently asked him about working with namesake. “I guess I’ve heard that he’s directed a few things once or twice. Good for him, that’s what I say. Good for him, you know. It’s hard to get directing work! [Laughs] Yeah, David came as we would want any actor to come — prepared. He’d worked on the words, he’d found where he was going to play them from. When he showed up, he goes, ‘I’ve moved the words around a little bit. If it’s okay, can we go through them, just to see if you’re alright with them?’ And they sounded great, you know. He didn’t rewrite the whole thing, he just made it easier for him, which is what I’m sure actors do for him all the time. And then, he came on set, and he was so prepared. He took the notes, they filtered through. One of the things about actors you look for as an acting partner, or as a director I think, is people who can take a note about an individual moment, and in real time, alter the entire scene, from that note…And he was most definitely like that as an actor. One little note would filter though the entire scene. So, obviously the guy’s got chops as an actor. And the director thing he brought was, he always knew where the cut was going to be, and he always knew where the cameras was, and he always knew where his drink needed to be. Yeah, he was the actor that I think he wants to work with.”
Lucky is receiving a red carpet premiere Thursday at the Harry Dean Stanton Fest in Lexington, Kentucky, before opening in theaters Friday.
Watch the trailer for Lucky, above.