I recently had the opportunity to interview Twin Peaks Season 2 cast member Ian Buchanan (Dick Tremayne). Ian was gracious with his time, and we were able to discuss several of the many projects he’s worked on throughout his career, his memories of the cast and crew he’s worked with, funny stories from the set of Twin Peaks and a lot more. I hope you enjoy reading this interview!
How he landed the role on Twin Peaks: The first thing I did with David Lynch was a Calvin Klein Obsession ad with Lara Flynn Boyle and that’s how I first met David. We shot it over the weekend and then on Tuesday, my agent got a call from Johanna Ray to go in and meet with them for the role of Dick Tremayne. David had kind of mentioned it while we were working. “Oh, I think I have something for you on the show that I’m doing” – which I had not seen, the show. The show had just started airing. They always say that when you’re on television you very seldom watch television and I wasn’t paying much attention. I was busy doing other stuff at the time.
How the role of Dick was originally described to him: Pretty much exactly as he appeared. The manager of Horne’s department store, which he considered to be high fashion – which was not. A bit delusional, someone who saw himself as flamboyant and a bon vivant, who probably barely made it across the border from Canada. That was the description. It was pretty much written that way also. By the time I had my first wardrobe fitting, I knew it would be exactly how they described it. It was absolutely perfect. There’s nothing else to do except swell around in the plethora of plaid. There was a lot of plaid. It’s funny because I grew up in Scotland and I have to be honest – I saw more plaid in this country than I ever saw growing up. Here it really is a plethora of plaid. It’s unbelievable. You go to buy wrapping paper, and you have a choice of one hundred plaid wrapping papers or plaid shopping bags. Plaid is definitely a big part of American life.
Memories of working with David Lynch and Mark Frost: I had more of a working relationship with David on “On the Air” which followed Twin Peaks. By the time I joined Twin Peaks, Mark was around, but David wasn’t around as much as he had been in the first season. Most of my memories are of the people I worked with, Harry Goaz, Kimmy Robertson, Peggy Lipton, Sherilyn Fenn. Billy Zane I knew from previous stuff and of course the wonderful Miguel Ferrer. We had a lot of fun. For the most part, we were just in our own little three-way storyline. I think they had other stuff as well but for the most part, I just worked with them and then Little Nicky. My memories are really of working with them and also the great guest directors, of course. Leslie Linka Glatter was just phenomenal. Caleb Deschanel’s daughter Zoey I went on to work with when she was very young. She was around the set when she was a kid. Her mother was on the show also (Eileen Hayward). We had a very solid crew which helped a director come in and give it their own flavor. It was set up to be fairly consistent although it changed I think. I recently watched the whole series and I do think you can see the styles of the different people who directed episodes.
Funny stories from the set: In one of the final episodes, when Heather Graham won Miss Twin Peaks, that was all hysterically funny. There were things just thrown in that we didn’t expect. I remember watching one of the people who were dressing the halls while we were rolling on a scene during the Miss Twin Peaks competition carried in a prop goat or sheep and started humping it right across from me, Peggy and the man who played the Mayor. I remember thinking “What is going on? Did I miss this in rehearsal?” Moments like that I remember. Of course there were all sorts of great instances where things went wrong and David kind of liked that. Lights would crackle, or something and David would keep it. I always had a great time there. I was so used to soap operas with the pressure of 25 to 35 pages and on Twin Peaks I would have maybe five pages. I would have none of that pressure, so it became this wondrous experience. Funny things, quirky things happening in a Lynchian world.
On the mood onset of Twin Peaks Season 2: I would say it was probably more quirky from what people said. I think they had introduced some more slightly more quirky characters. I wasn’t paying too much attention to all of that (issues with the network, time slot changes and the ratings) because towards the end of the second season I was already involved with “On the Air”. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the politics of what was going on. I knew the night had changed and by then I knew it was an extraordinary show to be on but these things happen. I’ve seen it happen before and since then where people have control, and they don’t want to give it up, so they have to fight.
Twin Peaks The Return: I’ve only watched a little bit of it. I was gone while they were shooting it and I kind of was part of the conversation, and it would have been very nice to do. I had talked to Joanna about it and I believe at one point it was under serious discussion. Then things changed at some point. If there’s more, I would love to do it. How do you revisit something 25 years later? How do you go back to something that was about 3 or 4 of the most beautiful girls in the world and revisit it? You do what they’re doing now, which is what’s so brilliant. I’ve only watched a little bit though. As they were going through the promotional stuff with the original show, I went to festivals and such and the most fascinating thing is that the core audience has been so loyal for 25 years and keeping it alive and now there’s a new audience too. It’s pretty spectacular. I was on set today (working on The Bold and The Beautiful), and there’s an actress with her sons who were maybe 11 and 14 who were just completely obsessed with the whole thing—the old and the new. They were asking me questions and I didn’t know. I never really got involved with trying to figure out the puzzles of it all, but these kids were so into it. It was really fascinating.
Wally Brando and the idea that Dick was his father: Someone mentioned that to me. He was playing Brando, from “The Wild One”, right? I think that’s genius; I love that. Perhaps that’s what I was being discussed for! [Laughs] I haven’t seen Joanna (Ray) in a while. Next time I see her, I’ll have to ask her about that.
On the Air: I loved it. I had more fun on it than I ever had before. I’ve gone on to have a lot of fun since too. I definitely loved it. I see Nancy Ferguson all the time and even the last time I saw Miguel, we talked about how we should not have been so happy doing something. You can’t be that happy, it can’t last and we learned that lesson the hard way. We were so happy; we were like kids in the sandbox every single one of us. We just couldn’t wait to get there and it was so much fun, so outrageously funny for us. I just thought it was great. It was brilliant. I had a wonderful, wonderful time.
Again, I don’t really know what happened with it. I think it may have been before its time and I think it may have its time again—25 years later! [Laughs] It would be an interesting world 25 years later. Someone told me we did seven episodes and someone else said nine. Maybe we had two missing episodes that weren’t aired. I can’t remember. I think we did nine. We did the pilot and then it got picked up maybe six to nine months later, and then we did maybe eight more episodes. I’m not sure. I promoted it in Japan, where it did very well. I think they had nine episodes on a laserdisc release years ago. Over the past year, we’ve lost a lot of the cast: Kim, Miguel and more. They’ve all passed on over the past several months. We had such a great roster of guest directors, guest artists and guest stars. Angelo Badalamenti made the music which was so great and whimsical. It was fun to sit around with him while he composed, in between composing the opening for the Barcelona Olympics.
Memories of Miguel Ferrer: Miguel was a very special man. He came from a great family. I had a great time working with him. We traveled together several times on different promotional stuff and we just had a wonderful time. Very special memories of him; he was quite a wonderful human being and unique gentleman.
Differences between day time and nighttime soaps: The pacing (is the big difference). Even the soap operas that are still around now—I’ve been on two of the surviving ones over the past six months. One is a one hour show that does 120 pages a day and the other is a half hour show that does 60 or 70 pages a day. It’s very exciting actually but you just really have to know it and hit the ground running. There’s no time or space for discovery or discussion really. With a nighttime show, there’s generally the time between blocking and lighting. There’s generally time to chat, run dialogue and think about it or talk about it. That’s the only difference is the pacing. Having said that, I can’t imagine doing Game of Thrones and doing one of those episodes in nine or ten days or something. It’s mind-blowing. The content is so incredibly rich and involved that I can’t even conceive of that.
Memories of the Garry Shandling Show: I loved it. I was actually doing General Hospital, and Garry was on the next sound stage, which made it easy because I could do General Hospital in the day and then run over there and do a table read. It was great. I loved working with Garry and learned a lot about comedy. He was an extraordinary fellow.
What is Dick Tremayne doing in 2017?: That’s funny. I do have an answer for that. Someone asked me this recently – I’m not sure if it was printed or not though. I said that he was running the “Dicks and Dolls” modeling agency out of a little satellite office. (Laughs) That’s what I think he’s doing.