Robert Knepper, Jim Belushi, David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan
@Kyle_MacLachlan 2018 | @InStyle #FridayFeeling #TwinPeaks
@Kyle_MacLachlan Hugs for Sonny Jim on the set of #TwinPeaks. @ThePierceGagnon
Kyle MacLachlan: Yes, Even I Was Confused by David Lynch’s Return to #TwinPeaks
TheWrap Emmy magazine: “David didn’t feel the least bit compelled to revisit what we knew from before,” MacLachlan says of his encore appearance as Agent Cooper
This story about Kyle MacLachlan first appeared in the Miniseries/Movies issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Anybody who watched TV in the early 1990s remembers Agent Dale Cooper. A quirky but buttoned-down FBI agent with a taste for damn fine coffee and apple pie, he led an investigation into the murder of high schooler Laura Palmer in the town of Twin Peaks, Washington, population 51,201.
Strange things happened to Agent Cooper and everyone around him in David Lynch’s groundbreaking series “Twin Peaks,” which ran for two seasons and later gave birth to the 1992 film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” and, last year, a much-delayed third season that ran for 18 hour-long episodes on Showtime.
Even more than his starring role in Lynch’s movie “Blue Velvet,” Agent Cooper is the character most closely linked with Kyle MacLachlan over the course of the actor’s 34-year career. So when Lynch announced that he would bring back “Twin Peaks” for an additional season, the chance to spend more time with MacLachlan’s iconic G-man was a real draw not just for fans of the series, but for the actor himself.
“When I initially heard that David was interested in returning to ‘Twin Peaks,’ I was obviously excited to get back to work and to return to the character,” said MacLachlan. “But then we had to wait for 16 hours before he actually emerged.”
Such are the ways of Lynch, who delayed the arrival of the Cooper we know and love until almost the end of the series. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t give MacLachlan lots of stuff to do before that: The actor also plays Mr. C, Cooper’s evil doppelgänger; Douglas “Dougie” Jones, a second, manufactured doppelgänger and a man-child of sorts vaguely reminiscent of the Peter Sellers character in “Being There”; and various versions of Cooper possessed by the evil spirit BOB and trapped, dazed, in the mysterious Black Lodge.
“At first I imagined that David was going to be doing something along the lines of what he did before,” said MacLachlan, who had remained close friends with Lynch after their early work on 1984’s “Dune,” 1986’s “Blue Velvet” and the original “Twin Peaks.”
“But very early on, he gave me some scenes to read at his house, and I couldn’t believe the premises. I was really excited and challenged by what I was being asked to do — because these are characters that I had never done before, and if I don’t deliver at the level that David is expecting, it’s not going to work. But at the same time, I had confidence in working under David’s vision.”
That confidence, he explained, had been developed over the years with Lynch. “When we first started working together on ‘Dune,’ I used to go to David all the time with questions about the script,” he said. “I was a big fan of the book, so I was at his office door every day saying, ‘Can we put this back in? What about this?’ He was very tolerant with me, and when we worked together again on ‘Blue Velvet’ I still had questions and thoughts.
“But over the years I just kind of relaxed. There are still times when I need to know things as an actor, but he doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining nor do I spend a lot of time asking. I know things are there because David wants them to be. He’s the leader and we are all just in line.”
For the new “Twin Peaks,” MacLachlan thinks that Lynch’s point of reference was closer to the aggressively confounding movie “Fire Walk With Me” than the original series, which grew stranger over its two seasons but was based on a murder-mystery storyline and an eccentric but lovable cast of characters.
“It was a different tone, maintaining some of the heartwarming moments from the original television show but certainly not dwelling on them,” he said. “In those first few scenes that David gave me to read, I recognized that this was not a nostalgic return to ‘Twin Peaks.’ I realized that David and [co-creator] Mark [Frost] didn’t feel the least bit compelled to revisit what we knew from before.”
Of the new characters MacLachlan played, Mr. C was in many ways the most sinister and compelling. An implacable bad guy prone to dispassionate murders, the Cooper doppelgänger also had a tinge of rock star to him.
“One of David’s favorite directions is, ‘A little more Elvis,‘” said MacLachlan. “Mr. C definitely has a little bit of that vibe — it’s Johnny Cash, it’s Elvis, it’s that kind of dark knight.
“David and I slowly cobbled together the look of that guy, recognizing that as much as he exists in our world, he’s also an otherworldly entity of some kind. As an actor, that’s my playground, and we both had a lot of fun with that character.”
Dougie, though, was tougher, because he was almost entirely passive. “The tool I have to work with, my body, was almost nonexistent,” he said. “Things had to be communicated in the most nuanced and quiet way. I really trusted David, because I had to say to him, ‘Are you sure you’re seeing it? Is it there?’ It was a real lesson in less is more, and you also have to rely on the actors around you.”
But there was one scene, MacLachlan said, where the actors around him caused real problems. It came when Mr. C was in jail and was visited by Agent Cooper’s longtime assistant Diane Evans and by FBI director Gordon Cole. The problem was that Evans was being played by MacLachlan’s “Blue Velvet” co-star Laura Dern, and Cole by Lynch himself.
“They are two of my closest friends,” he said. “I’m so used to the dynamic that exists when we’re not working that to do something in that environment with those people was disconcerting.
“One of the elements of Mr. C is that there is no connection — he is a force, and that’s it. There is no common ground with anybody else because he dominates the space. Those are such different emotions than I was used to feeling with those people that it was challenging to maintain.”
Still, he said, he never lost the “I can’t believe I’m back doing this” feeling during the marathon 10-month shoot. “I thought that every day going to work,” he said. “I did not take a single moment for granted. I relished everything, and that includes getting up at 4 a.m., getting my coffee and driving to work.”
And when MacLachlan looks back over a career that has also included such films as “The Doors,” “Showgirls” and “Inside Out” and the TV shows “Portlandia,” “Believe” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” he can’t help but recognize how key Lynch has been to his success. “David has been incredibly significant for me,” he said. “And it’s something that over time I have come to appreciate more and more.
“In some ways, I think I was the very model of a callow, self-absorbed young actor when I was first starting out. And thankfully that has melted away, and I have tremendous appreciation for what David and I have done together and what David has done for me.”
So will he and Lynch get together again for another series of adventures for Agent Cooper and his various doppelgängers? “I have no sense of that at all,” MacLachlan said.
“David is notoriously quiet about what he sees coming, what he wants to do next. I’ve spoken to him about it a bit, but he absolutely won’t say anything.”
Link : (The Wrap)
@Kyle_MacLachlan Quick reminder, if you’re voting from the Black Lodge this year, be sure to mark your ballot from back to front. @TelevisionAcad #TwinPeaks #SHOemmyFYC #LimitedSeries
2018 Golden Globes: Kyle MacLachlan Was Robbed
I don’t mean to disparage Ewan McGregor’s Golden Globes win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture for Television. His competition was stacked with titans like Robert De Niro for his Bernie Madoff portrayal, Geoffrey Rush for his horny Einstein depiction, and to a lesser extent, Jude Law for his performance as a petulant pope. McGregor also had to play two complicated characters with a complicated familial relationship for the third season of the consistently excellent FX series Fargo, which is no small feat—just ask McGregor’s fellow nominee Kyle MacLachlan.
MacLachlan undertook the herculean task of playing three (or maybe four?) characters in Twin Peaks: The Return, and with each character, he had to render something vastly different. For Agent Dale Cooper’s evil Mr. C. doppelgänger—which ended up resembling a tall, slender Glenn Danzig—MacLachlan had to be legitimately terrifying: a supernatural villain that could watch its son get fried to death by an otherworldly energy portal and barely shrug.
For the nearly catatonic husk of an Agent Cooper who was finally propelled from the Black Lodge and into the life of Dougie Jones—a gambling, womanizing, insurance salesman who had fallen in with the Las Vegas criminal underworld—MacLachlan displayed an almost surgically precise sense of comic timing, especially when it came to physical comedy. The character was barely verbal, but MacLachlan turned in an almost Chaplin-esque silent movie portrayal of Jones, save for repeating the last word of phrase of dialogue spoken to him.
What’s remarkable about MacLachlan’s performance was that he didn’t have to speak to let the viewer know that the old Coop was back. The FBI agent’s return was communicated with the urgency with which he sat up in his hospital bed and pulled off the various tubes and sensors before issuing polite, but firm commands.
Almost as soon as the audience was re-acquanted with the old Coop, it had to say goodbye to him and get to know a more severe and detached version to the character once he and Laura Dern’s Diane stepped through room 315 at The Great Northern.
MacLachlan won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Agent Cooper in 1991 when the role was hemmed in by the constraints of network television. Almost 27 years later, the return of the cult classic show was all but shut out of the awards ceremony. Perhaps the fact that MacLachlan was the only person to get a nod this time around was a tacit admission of the complexity of his performance. Perhaps Twin Peaks: The Return was too weird, non-linear, and experimental for the Hollywood Foreign Press to properly appreciate, but what MacLachlan accomplished within that framework was too impressive to ignore, even if it wasn’t formally awarded
Thanks for feeding me. – @Kyle_MacLachlan #TwinPeaks #DougieJones