I recently had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Coronado, who played the “Hit and Run Mom” in one of the most emotional scenes in all of Twin Peaks. We got a chance to cover a lot of topics ranging from the scene to working with both Lynch and Harry Dean Stanton and more. I hope you enjoy the interview!
AG: What was the audition process like for you?
LC: Heidi Walker, who is a local casting director here in Seattle, called in tons of people and there was a lot of buzz. Nobody really knew what it was about, just that there was some big project coming. I got called in and there were no instructions for the audition. I just sat down, and I know Heidi pretty well, and she interviewed me, asked me questions about my life and that was it. It was so easy! A couple of weeks to a month later I found out I booked it.
AG: Did you get your sides (script pages) before you got to set?
LC: I got them a few days before I got to set, just my stuff. I had a very small view into the world; basically only my scenes.
AG: When you saw your scenes even before getting to set, you knew your scenes are going to be heart-wrenching. What was your preparation like?
LC: It was crazy because I was doing two other projects around the same time, and all of their dates were swirling around each other. I had Z Nation, and another pilot called Strowlers all within two weeks of Twin Peaks. It was actually really nice to get Twin Peaks because it was so reactionary and getting to be in the moment. I didn’t have to overthink it. It was more making sure I got enough rest, make sure my mind was clear when I got to set and making sure I was open to whatever was going to happen. I was nervous. It was a big set, and it was David Lynch, and I’ve loved him forever. He put me at ease from minute one that I met him though. Most of my prep was trusting myself as an actor and that whatever he saw in the interview was perhaps the essence that he wanted for the character. I have kids, so I was living out my worst nightmare. Then also focusing on Hunter, who played my kid. I really wanted to make sure that he felt safe and taken care of and not scared. I wanted to develop a relationship with him. His mom was there, but I wanted him to feel like he could count on both of us.
AG: What was it like working with David Lynch?
LC: Wonderful. He makes you feel like you’ve known him for 20 years and makes you feel important. He’s excited about actors being there and he just kind of lights up and instantly brings something inside of you that trusts him and you want to do really well for him. He checked on me to make sure I was ok because it was emotionally tough. I think many people have the same reaction that works for them. You get into this groove, the zone and you just kind of play around and you find your way together. It was pretty great. I had a definite task to do, so there was no second guessing for me.
AG: You shared a scene with Harry Dean Stanton in one of his final roles. What was that like for you?
LC: It was insane. Another person I’ve grown up watching. I didn’t know he was my scene partner until I got the call sheet the night before. I just thought that this couldn’t get more surreal. I had two days of shooting, and I went him on the first when we did the bench scene. He was lovely and quiet, kind of kept to himself. Very focused. When we had our scene, he was so comforting and wonderful, and I was just like, “Help me, Harry Dean Stanton! You’re amazing, and you can fix this!” [laughs]. He was really sweet to Hunter to make sure he was comfortable and ok. It was kind of a blur, and then we were done, and I processed it all later.
AG: What was it like for you watching yourself in such a difficult scene?
LC: I didn’t know when it was going to air. I was watching it a couple of days after it aired and I had a friend who text me to say they saw my scene. I had to prepare myself to watch it. It’s always weird to watch yourself. Watching it, it was less about me watching myself and more about the artistry of the scene and how heartbreaking it was. The music and the pacing and all the buildup…it was pretty upsetting. My poor husband said he was never watching it again [laughs]. It was tough for him to watch. It’s hard for him to watch me in any kind of anguish and then on top of that there’s a kid dying. The first time was a shock, and when I watched it again, I was just so happy that it was in such good hands to create the scene that it did. I think I watched it twice and that’s enough. It’s too upsetting.
AG: Twin Peaks is obviously a show that people have been discussing in great detail for nearly 30 years now. I’ve heard many people, including people who write on the site, say that your scene is the most heartbreaking scene throughout all of Twin Peaks. I can’t think of a higher compliment than that to pay you.
LC: I knew that if I did my part, and it all came together, it could be a really touching scene, which is the way it was written. It was meant to be that way. I also didn’t want to play on people’s emotions purposely. I wanted it to be real and rooted in tragedy that is real, and I’m just glad it was able to translate that way. You give any actor that scene and c’ mon. It’s loaded. You just have to do it. I feel super lucky that he trusted me to do it.
AG: What’s your interaction been like with the Twin Peaks fan community?
LC: It’s the best. So wonderful, warm and welcoming. I didn’t expect it. I have a short scene, a small part in The Return. The fans have been so supportive and to feel a part of the Twin Peaks family might be the best part of all. It’s exciting and then being exciting with them, like when there’s talk about a Season 4 and getting to be a fan with them.
AG: What can you tell us about what’s next for you?
LC: I filmed a horror film that will be out this year where I got to play a very bad mom, which was so weird [laughs]. It was the complete opposite. That was with a longtime collaborator friend of mine, Jeff Ferrell, called Holiday Hell. I have a pilot called Strowlers that has its premiere in Seattle next month. That’s magical realism, mixed with our current political and social climate. It takes real world events and threads them with magic; it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been on the creative team as well as acting in that one. We shot an offshoot in Ireland with my character that is also premiering next month. Being an actor in Seattle, you get lucky if you get on the big projects that come here, but 75% of it is the community here and then creating, writing and producing as much as you can just to be creating all the time.
If you enjoyed this interview, please be sure to check out some of our others!