Twin Peaks for EW
It’s been 25 years since we said goodbye to Twin Peaks. Thankfully, David Lynch never did. To celebrate the show’s return to TV, EW grabbed a slice of pie with all your favorite townies.
Laura Palmer, high school beauty queen and tortured soul bedeviled with secrets; her murder set all of Twin Peaks in motion. Laura’s soul was last seen hangin’ with Agent Cooper in the Black Lodge. Lee also had a recurring role as Madeleine, Laura’s mirror twin brunette cousin, who was stalked and killed by the same demonic force that claimed Laura.
Peak Moment: Shooting David Lynch’s blockbuster pilot, Lee’s first TV experience, was an education, and she had plenty of time to soak in every lesson. After all, the actress famously spent most of the time painted a sickly hue of blue and wrapped in plastic. “Anytime I was on set as Laura’s corpse, I got to learn so much.” Lee got to portray more of Laura’s living years in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the 1992 prequel that failed to satisfy fans or generate box office numbers. “That was a strange time, because I had no reference point to know how to deal with that,” she says. “I felt for David. I believe in him so much.” (The film is considered Twin Peaks canon, and the director has suggested watching it to prep for the new series. Or maybe the little devil just wants to see his work.)
On the revival: “What I read on the page is such a small part of what happened on set,” says Lee, 49, who first heard about the revival from a castmate. “I thought, ‘This can’t be real.’ Until I had it confirmed from David, I didn’t believe it.”
James Hurley, Laura’s sensitive, on-the-down-low rocker-biker boyfriend. Quickly rebounded with Laura’s BFF Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), though he did have a fling with a femme fatale in a tepid season 2 neo-noir subplot. Last seen in San Francisco, en route to Mexico.
Peak Moment: David Lynch doesn’t audition actors by making them do scenes. He chooses them by the looks of their headshots and a casual chit-chat interview. But casting director Johanna Ray had to beg Lynch to see Marshall because he hated his photos. She convinced by disclosing that Marshall’s manager happened to be James Dean’s manager. Marshall, 50, recalls that after Lynch gave him the part of James, “He said, ‘You gotta get new pics! These look like Teen Beat magazine!'”
On the revival: “It’s like Jimi Hendrix has come back to jam,” he says of Lynch directing again. About James? “There’s a largeness to my character not, not in size, but significance. It very cool.”
Audrey Horne, precocious, Cooper-smitten teen and budding detective. Knows how to tie cherry stems into knots — with her tongue. Last seen handcuffed to a bank vault door at Twin Peaks Savings and Loan… which then exploded!
Peak Moment: Audrey’s swoony solo dance to a wailing sax — inspired by her blooming crush on Agent Cooper — at the Double R Diner in episode 3 of season 1. Fenn came to set prepared for a scene that had been written one way, but David Lynch decided to rip it up and rewrite it on the spot (which he often did when he helmed eps of Twin Peaks). She loves this moment because it typifies Lynch’s playful, collaborative way of working with actors and because it pushed her outside her comfort zone: “David said, ‘Just go into your own little world and groove, honey.'”
On the revival: “It’s always been, ‘Twin Peaks comes back and I live happily ever after,'” says Fenn, 52, who was dining with friends when Lynch texted her and made the dream come true. “I screamed and embarrassed myself and ran out like a crazy person.” She’s “very, very happy” with what she filmed: “He created something amazing.”
Nadine Hurley, one-eyed strongwoman obsessed with inventing silent drape runners. Married to Big Ed Hurley, though during a stretch of dementia-amnesia in season 2, when she thought she was a teenager again, she romanced Bobby’s pal Mike. Last seen regaining her wits and adult identity and wondering what the hell was going on.
Peak Moment: Making David Lynch laugh during a scene in season 1 where you see Nadine in a window pulling drapes. “You haven’t lived until you’ve made David laugh, so I kept doing that,” says Robie, 63. “It actually made my hands bleed. The production assistant was on the walkie-talkie saying, ‘She’s crying!’ and I said, ‘Shut up, girl, I’m doing this!'”
On the revival: She knew it was on when David called and simply said, “Hello, Nadine.” Her reaction to her part in the script? “Absolute joy.”
Norma Jennings, owner of the Double R Diner. Married to a very bad man, Hank Jennings, and forever in love with a very good one, high school sweetheart Big Ed Hurley. Last seen losing her happily ever after with Ed when his wife, Nadine, regained her memory.
Peak Moment: Lipton was one of the more established actresses in the cast at the time, having earned fame in The Mod Squad. The mother of actresses Rashida Jones and Kidada Jones was splitting from her husband, music legend Quincy Jones, when Twin Peaks entered her life. “I was going through a lot, I wasn’t happy with my work, and when I read the script, I just started crying, because while Norma and I were different in terms of specifics, we were close in spirit,” says Lipton. She was at an ashram in India when Twin Peaks premiered in spring of 1990: “The news of ratings made the front page of the local paper. In India! The phenomenon was, on the whole, pure craziness.”
On the revival: “Beautiful,” says Lipton, 70, adding that he had an epiphany during EW’s photo shoot. “Big Ed, Cooper, James — they’re all David. We’re all just parts of his brain!” And the women? “He writes great parts for women. We’re more of the shadow side.”
Big Ed Hurley, Nadine’s beleaguered hubby, Norma’s devoted lover, and one of the Bookhouse Boys, a secret society of Twin Peaks protectors. Last seen prepping a new life with Norma when his troubled wife Nadine suddenly remembered who she was.
Peak Moment: McGill was seen as a heavyweight in Hollywood at the time of Twin Peaks, so much so that ABC balked at his casting. David Lynch, who worked with McGill on Dune, insisted that the guy he always called “Big Ed” play the show’s Big Ed. One of his favorite moments shooting this show came during a scene in which he was struggling to find the right energy, and Lynch offered him this direction: “Imagine you got sand in your eye and you want to get the hell out of this scene and deal with it rather than sitting here like a big p—y with tears running down your cheek.”
On the revival: Lynch had lost track of Everett, 71, and apparently got a contact number from a Twitter follower. Everett was at a property he owns but visits infrequently when the phone rang. “That’s how close I came not to doing this new series.”
Shelly Johnson, pie-serving waitress at the Double R Diner. Married to drug-running trucker Leo Johnson, secretly stepping out with Bobby Hurley. One of her late season 2 stories involved FBI honcho Gordon Cole, played by David Lynch, becoming smitten with Shelly. She was last seen losing the Miss Twin Peaks beauty pageant and weighing a marriage proposal from Bobby.
Peak Moment: The pilot scene where Shelly drinks from a flask while driving with Bobby. “David was laying at our feet, directing us from down there. That’s David. He’s there with you in a scene.” (She reports that there was similar moment during the making of the new show, where her character is in a car, and Lynch directed the scene from inside it, at her feet.)
On the revival: Amick, 46, who’s currently appearing in The CW’s Riverdale, helped champion the revival by organizing the cast to produce a viral video professing support for David Lynch during his contract dispute with Showtime. She says putting on Shelly’s old apron was an emotional moment. “I really had to keep myself from crying through every single scene,” says Amick. “At then, at one point, David is crying! And I’m like, ‘David! I’m trying not to cry, you can’t cry!’ We were just blubbering messes.”
Bobby Briggs, cocaine-dealing high school quarterback, Laura’s boyfriend and Shelly’s secret beau. He was the son of an Air Force major who scanned the skies above for celestial objects and was hip to the occult workings of Twin Peaks. Bobby was last seen pitching Shelly on the idea of getting married.
Peak Moment: If you watch Twin Peaks again prior to the revival, take the time to appreciate Ashbrook’s dynamite performance. In an era awash with so many bland teen soap bad boys, he makes the archetype pop with an inspired turn. Don’t ask him to brag about it: Ashbrook, 49, is proud yet humble about his Peaks experience. “I loved everything about it,” says the self-described “geek,” who attributes Bobby’s bad boy charisma to his director’s coaching: “David Lynch helped me be cool.” His final memory of the show was going to a sweat lodge with MacLachlan and several other cast members. “That’s where we said goodbye to Twin Peaks.”
On the revival: He’s more tight-lipped about it than any other actor. “I totally, totally couldn’t be happier.”
FBI Agent Dale Cooper, brilliantly intuitive detective with a passion for pie, trees, Tibetan mysticism and secrets. Last seen smashing his BOB-possessed face into a mirror. Or was that his Black Lodge doppelganger? Regardless: “Evil has established a bulkhead in Twin Peaks,” says MacLachlan.
Peak Moment: Fun Fact! David Lynch’s pet name for his longtime collaborator is Kayle. Another Fun Fact? MacLachlan does a killer impression of Lynch’s nasal twang. “I remember a scene in the first series where I was sitting at a table in front of a plate of donuts,” says the actor. “The scene is finished, but David hasn’t called cut, so I’m staying in character, and he says through his megaphone — because he directs you using a megaphone — ‘Kayle, pick up that donut!’ So I pick up the donut, and he says, ‘All right, now put the whole thing in your mouth!’ So I put the whole thing my mouth and started eating it. And he just filmed that. It’s partly because he wants to see what happens, partly because he might use it, but it just might be because he’s just having fun with you. And he still has that kind of boyish fun. He’s the greatest.”
On the revival: “I think it took me six hours and a few cups of coffee — the read — but it was wonderful,” says MacLachlan of the revival script. The actor especially loves playing Cooper’s dark side: “David Lynch does evil about as good as you can do it. It’s a rock-you-to-the-core type of fear.”
Director. Writer. Painter. Sculptor. Musician. Cartoonist. Animator. Interior designer. Furniture maker. Prodigious coffee drinker.
His Must See TV: “I love Breaking Bad and Mad Men. I like watching this new channel I found called Velocity. It’s about cars. You ever seen that channel?” A salvager and tinkerer of old things — including his own work (see: Mulholland Drive, his busted TV pilot-turned-cinematic masterpiece; and now, of course, Twin Peaks) — Lynch, 71, most enjoys the programs on Velocity that deal with fixing up and modifying automobiles. “I’m a big fan of cars, but not like these guys. I’ve learned so much watching them. These guys are artists! It’s unbelievable what they do with metal, mechanics and new technologies. It’s incredible!”
Peaks Moment: Asked how he would describe Twin Peaks to someone who’s never seen it, Lynch says: “It’s a mystery that holds other mysteries as well.”
On The Revival: Over the years, Lynch discouraged hope for more Twin Peaks, suggesting he had moved on. But you wonder if he was just protecting himself. “I love this world and I love the people in this world,” he says. “But at the same time, I felt that the thing had drifted away, and so part of me is kind of shut down about the possibility of, you know, going back. But then time passed, and now, it seems like fate to go back.” Lynch has always said the primary appeal of Twin Peaks to him was the very idea of never-ending serial driven by mystery. If the revival goes well, might there be even more? “You never say never,” he says. “It’s a continuing story, there’s no end to it, really. You have to wait and see what happens.”
Twin Peaks on the Cover of EW
To read more on the Twin Peaks revival, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday. You can buy all the covers now, or purchase the individual issues featuring the owl, donuts, and pie. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
And to examine the mysteries when the revival debuts in May, subscribe now to A Twin Peaks Podcast: A Podcast About Twin Peaks to get behind-the-scenes intel and analysis.