As anyone who has followed the long, strange trip that Lynch’s moody, mysterious, and meandering project has taken to the big screen knows, the ”they” here is ABC, who in 1999 passed on a pilot created by the ”Twin Peaks” auteur. After failing to get Fox and HBO interested, Lynch was resigned to letting ”Drive” go, until French-based StudioCanal offered him a reported $7 million to turn the open-ended pilot into a feature.
”I had a couple of weeks of panic,” says Lynch, ”because I didn’t have ideas about how to close it.” Which is funny, since the additional 40 minutes Lynch shot last year left audiences at the Cannes film festival (where it screened in competition) scratching their heads.
The movie focuses on two L.A. beauties, an amnesiac femme fatale (Harring) and a plucky aspiring actress (Watts), who endeavor to untangle the former’s past. The new footage, though spiced with a sex scene between Harring and Watts, abruptly segues into the surreal, marked by some identity-swapping twists. Yet Lynch’s salvage job earned him a share of the best director award at Cannes and a distribution deal from Universal Focus. ”It would have been fun to carry on with David Lynch over years and years and continue with those characters,” says Watts. ”But ultimately, we got a giant, giant payoff.”