Twin Peaks mastermind David Lynch made the best non-appearance appearance at Comic-Con
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David Lynch stole the show at the Comic-Con panel for Twin Peaks: The Return and he didn't even show up. The co-creator, co-writer, and director of the Showtime cult sensation greeted 7,000 fans inside Hall H with a sorry-I-can't-be-there video salutation which, in typical Lynch fashion, completely subverted the whole form of Comic-Con sorry-I-can't-be-there video salutations.
The short film was a bit of absurdist comedy that relied on sound effects, select props, atmosphere, and Lynch's well-honed screen persona. It opened with the director dressed in black sitting in a chair in a darkened room, his face obscured by shadows. He had barely begun to say hello when we heard the sound of a door opening. Lynch began yelling at a man off-camera. "Hey buddy, don't go out that door! We're on the fourth floor, we're not on the ground!" He left his chair and walked away; the camera, locked-down, didn't swivel to follow him. We heard sounds that conveyed the idea that the guy fell to his death on the street below. (I almost wondered if we were to wonder if Lynch may have been the cause of the poor man's plummet.)
After cutting to static, we came back to Lynch sitting in his chair, this time holding up what appeared to be a severed arm with a clenched fist. "I've got to show you something," he said as he pulled back the fingers, revealing a gold ball. "This is supposedly the last golf ball O.J. Simpson hit before going to prison."
After another cut to static, we came back to Lynch in the chair, trying to introduce the actors at the panel. He was interrupted once more by unseen chaos in his well-ordered black-out abode. "Hey! You can't bring a horse in here! What are you doing?" Sounds suggest all hell is breaking out from the horse going wild and, possibly, the appearance of a woman with a gun. "Oh, thanks a lot, your horse stepped on cat!" Lynch then waved the harassed feline to come toward him. "Come here, honey…"
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Moderated by Damon Lindelof, creator of Lost and The Leftovers, "Twin Peaks: Damn Good Panel" featured stars from Showtime's limited series revival of the short-lived classic: Kyle MacLachlan, Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Dana Ashbrook, Kimmy Robertson, James Marshall, Everett McGill, Matthew Lillard, and Don Murray.
Lindelof began with a personal tribute to Twin Peaks, sharing how the original series made him feel like less of a "weirdo" as a teenager and saying there would be "no Lost" without the show's influence and legacy of Twin Peaks. We asked him if he'd give us a copy of his remarks. He emailed us the pages themselves, seen below. Note some of his last-minute edits, which include cutting his longer introduction of the Lynch video in order to better set up the surprise of it all.
Below, check out six more highlights from the Twin Peaks panel:
A fitting welcome
MacLachlan officially commenced the panel discussion by bellowing a long "HELLLLOOOOOOO!" as his "Dougie Jones" character. ("That's my ringtone," joked Lindelof.)
Ready to return
Each of the actors recalled how they were asked to participate in the revival. "It was a cryptic phone call," recalled MacLachlan, who had long hoped that perhaps Lynch and Mark Frost would one day attempt a revival. The director asked his longtime collaborator and the man who played Agent Dale Cooper to meet with him in person at a New York hotel. "Either I was in trouble or he wanted to talk about something I hoped he wanted to talk about." Lynch served coffee and told MacLachlan he definitely hadn't been summoned for a scolding. "He told me that he and Mark were writing and found a way back into Twin Peaks and asked if was I up for the journey. I told him that I've never left Twin Peaks. I was ready to go."
Paging Everett McGill
McGill, another original cast member, said Lynch had apparently lost his phone number and that Frost used Twitter to find someone who knew how to reach him. McGill was visiting a property he rarely frequents — a house where he keeps some cars — when the old yellow rotary phone mounted on the wall rang. It was Lynch. "I loved coming back," says McGill, whose character hasn't actually been seen yet on the show, which airs its eleventh hour this Sunday.
Watch the cast discuss the show's odd universe and the upcoming revival in the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) special EW Reunites: Twin Peaks here, or download the app on your favorite mobile and streaming devices.
"I want you to read something"
Watts, who starred in Lynch's failed TV pilot-turned-cinematic masterpiece Mulholland Drive, said she landed in Twin Peaks after visiting Lynch at his home with another longtime Lynch collaborator, Laura Dern. They were there on a mission: to "coax" the director into making another movie. "He was talking about some ideas as he smoked, and smiling a lot, but not saying yes or no." What she didn't know – and what Lynch wasn't telling her – was that he was developing Twin Peaks. "I finally heard the rumor that Twin Peaks was happening. I was not part of that original team, so I felt it would be wrong to be pushy about [trying to join the cast.] But then David called and said, ‘Naomi, come up to the house, I want you to read something.' He gave me an envelope and a cup of coffee, sat me in a chair he built next to table he built, and sat there a good hour or so and read those pages." (For the record, Dern also got a part in the new Twin Peaks, playing Agent Cooper's always-referenced, never-before-seem secretary, Diane.)
Watts did she just say?
Watts matched MacLachlan's salutation by treating attendees to the orgasmic scream that her character, Janey-E, unleashed in last week's episode. "DOUGIIEEE!" At another point, she accidentally let slip a spoiler. I'm not sure it made much of an impact on the audience because it described something rather peculiar. I won't repeat it here, but it made me wonder if viewers might want to familiarize themselves with Lynch's "Bunnies" period work (Inland Empire; his shorts created for davidlynch.com).
Shaggy, we're going to solve this mystery!
Scream and Scooby Doo alum Lillard was praised by castmates for his outstanding scene a few weeks ago in which his character, Bill Hastings, had a hysterical, snotty-nosed meltdown. He was asked to clarify a mystery that has obsessed certain Twin Peaks crazies, yours truly included: did Bill write "9/20" or "9/28" when he identified, circled, and dated a photo of Major Briggs? Lillard thinks he was trying to write "9/20″ but says he can't really remember. He also confessed his handwriting is sloppy.
Twin Peaks airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.
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