Twin Peaks revival cast: A closer look at that 217-member roster
On Monday, Showtime emailed a press release announcing that director David Lynch had wrapped principal photography on a revival of Twin Peaks, the classic cosmic horror soap he created with Mark Frost. The network was stingy with the details, but the email did come with an attachment that was very Lynchian. Industrial. Deadpan. Dense with peculiarity. Open to interpretation. It was … a PDF of six table charts, listing every single member of the cast.
Two hundred seventeen people total. Presented alphabetically, last names before first. Cera, Michael. Leigh, Jennifer Jason. MacLachlan, Kyle. Watts, Naomi. It’s a starry, dreamy roll call of stars that a certain backwards-talking, crimson-suited twilight being might admire – except the actor who played The Man From Another Place, Michael J. Anderson, isn’t on the list. (Maybe he’s implied?) His omission isn’t the only head-scratcher. It would be play-with-fire folly to overanalyze this thing, but fandom is a demon, and I’ve been touched by this devilish one, and I’m gone, long gone, like a turkey in the corn. Gobble gobble gobble. !kcor s’teL
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We shall assume everyone is playing who they played in the television series, which ran from 1990–1991 on ABC, and the 1992 prequel movie, Twin Peaks: Fire, Walk With Me.
Transcendental dream detective, Dalai Lama acolyte, and connoisseur of damn good coffee, FBI Agent Dale Cooper came to the woodsy and weird Washington town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) and put down roots, much to his existential peril. His last adventure: a rescue mission to save his love interest Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham, who is not returning) from The Black Lodge, a dark Jungian underworld, where demons, evil doppelgängers, and other freaky familiars wander a maze of red-curtained rooms grooving to ecstatic jazz and gutting souls into oblivion. While Coop’s soul was stuck in limbo, his corporal form was inhabited by his shadow self, expressed in the form of a sadistic spirit named BOB (the late Frank Silva), a former serial killer liberated from his coil.
It was a chilling, baffling, infuriating series cliffhanger. It became exponentially more maddening when Lynch opted to make Twin Peaks: Fire, Walk With Me an arty psychological study of Laura Palmer and perplexing exploration of the show’s metaphysics, not a bonus round of mystery resolution. The movie was panned by critics and flopped at the box office. Lynch reportedly envisioned Fire, Walk With Me as the beginning of a trilogy. Perhaps the other two would have filled in the blanks. Perhaps the revival draws from those unrealized projects. Regardless, it’ll be fascinating to see how Lynch and Frost will resolve everything fans might want resolve, with a story set 25 years after the fact and Silva lost to us and key players like Graham not in the fold.
Sheryl Lee and Ray Wise
Lee played Laura, the golden girl with a heart of pain and darkness, and Laura’s look-alike cousin, Maddy. Leland Palmer (Wise), Laura’s weak-willed, BOB-possessed father, killed both girls. Leland committed suicide after his arrest for these crimes, either out of guilt or under the direction of BOB. Both Lee and Wise will be back … in flashbacks? As spirits? Black Lodge residents? Remember: in the show’s finale, Black Lodge Laura told Cooper: “I’ll see you again in 25 years …”
David Lynch and Miguel Ferrer
The Twin Peaks co-creator played hard-of-hearing FBI honcho Gordon Cole. Ferrer played another agent, the acerbic Albert Rosenfeld. Both characters had great respect and affection for Agent Cooper. Are Gordon and Albert questing to find and liberate their pal?
Catherine E. Coulson, Carrel Struycken, Al Strobel
Iconic avatars of Twin Peaks strangeness. Coulson, who played Margaret Lanterman, a.k.a. The Log Lady, died last fall, shortly after filming began. Struycken played “The Giant.” He materialized every now and then to impart cryptic clues to Cooper, like, “The owls are not what they seem,” and the now-resonant, “That gum you like is going to come back in style.” Strobel was Mike, a.k.a. The One Armed Man, a former BOB associate, back when BOB was mere serial killer human being. Mike quit BOB, repented, and chopped off his arm to consecrate his born again life. Mike intoned the haunting chant every Twin Peaks fan should know by heart: Through the darkness of future past / The magician longs to see / One chance out between two worlds / Fire, walk with me …
Audrey Horne, precocious cherry-stem twister. Back in the day, the teen crushed on Agent Dale Cooper. Today, she’d be legal — if she’s alive. Audrey was caught in an explosion in the series finale. Unless she, too, is now a ghost, we presume she survived.
As The Roadhouse Singer, Cruise could be found on stage at The Bang! Bang! Bar, performing some ethereal tune, like the show’s love theme, “Falling.” Expect new music from the revival, which according to reports will be scored by longtime Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti.
Before he was Fox Mulder, Duchovny made a splash playing DEA agent Dennis Bryson, although he identified as a woman and dressed as a woman, and preferred to be called Denise. It will be very interesting to see how she’s depicted in 25 years later, at a time more sensitive to transgender rights and portrayals in pop culture.
Harry Dean Stanton
An intriguing inclusion. The legendary character actor and periodic Lynch player (Wild At Heart, The Straight Story) didn’t appear in the TV show, but he did show up in Twin Peaks: Fire, Walk With Me. He played Carl Rodd, manager of a trailer Park that was former home to BOB victim Teresa Banks and another pair of Black Lodge psychopomps, Mrs. Tremond/Chalfont (the late Frances Bay) and her grandson, Pierre, played in the show by Lynch’s son, Austin Jack Lynch, and in the prequel by Jonathan J. Leppell. Carl’s trailer park was also last known whereabouts of another FBI agent, Chester (played in the movie by Chris Isaak), who was most likely claimed by The Black Lodge, too. From the looks of it, Stanton is the only actor unique to Fire, Walk With Me to appear in the revival.
(Assuming, of course, that the list of 217 names is complete and that Lynch and Frost have no surprises up their sleeves.)
Lara Flynn Boyle, Moira Kelly
On the TV show, Boyle played Donna Hayward, Laura’s BFF. Boyle opted not to appear in Fire Walk With Me, so Moira Kelly assumed the role. They may not in the revival, but that doesn’t mean Donna won’t be. Have Lynch and Frost recast her? Interesting: James Marshall, who played Donna’s soulful, guitar-strumming boyfriend, James Hurley, is returning. He was last seen running away due to a spot of trouble, but he pledged everlasting love to Donna before he split. What brings him back?
Michael Ontkean, Joan Chen
Sherriff Harry Truman was the Watson to Cooper’s Holmes in the original show, but not in the revival: Ontkean has reportedly retired from acting. Chen played Truman’s true love, Josie Packard, who died of fright after encountering BOB in season 2. Death doesn’t seem to be impeding other characters from appearing in the revival. Still, no Chen.
Piper Laurie, Jack Nance
Laurie scored two Emmy nominations and won a Golden Globe playing the conniving Catherine Martell. She won’t be winning anything for the revival. Nance played Catherine’s husband, Pete, and set the investigation into Laura Palmer’s demise in motion by discovering her body and calling the police. ”She’s dead … wrapped in plastic.” (Wrapped In Plastic would become the title of a beloved Twin Peaks fanzine.) A dear friend to Lynch who appeared in all his films until Lost Highway, Nance died in 1996.
Notable New Cast Members
Past Lynchians Making Their Twin Peaks Debut
Laura Dern (Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Inland Empire), Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive), Robert Forster (Mulholland Drive), Balthazar Getty (Lost Highway), Nine Inch Nails impresario Trent Reznor (Lost Highway soundtrack), and singers Chrysta Bell and Au Revoir Simone. Speaking of the latter two …
This Soundtrack Could Be Killer
In addition to Julee Cruise, Reznor, Simone, and Bell, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder and musicians Mariqueen Maandig Reznor (Trent’s wife), Sharon Van Etten, Sky Ferreira, Ruth Radelet, and Finn Andrews are in the cast. I’m imagining that a huge, eclectic alt-rock house-band now haunts The Roadhouse.
This Makes Total Sense
Michael Cera (Juno). Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction). Jeremy Davies (Lost, Justified). Robert Knepper (Prison Break). Josh McDermitt (The Walking Dead). Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl). David Koechner (Anchorman). Character actors who can play quirky and scruffy, they should do well in Lynchlandia. Live wire, sleaze-stained Tom Sizemore is the kind of grizzled vet and grungy reclamation project Lynch loves.
Jim Belushi’s in Twin Peaks?
He is. So are Monica Bellucci, Richard Chamberlain, Bailey Chase, Ashley Judd, Ernie Hudson, Jane Levy, Amanda Seyfried, and Jessica Szohr. The comeback I’m most excited to see is … Eight is Enough star and Seattle-area celeb Grant Goodeve. But I’m a weird, Pacific Northwest-raised Gen-Xer that way.