I recently had the pleasure of speaking with actress Adele Rene (Lieutenant Knox from Twin Peaks Season 3). In the interview we discussed a number of different topics, including several memorable moments from set, working with David Lynch, Miguel Ferrer, Ernie Hudson, being pregnant while filming and much more. Below is the transcript of our phone conversation.
AG: How did you learn about the role in Twin Peaks?
Adele: That’s an interesting question. I didn’t learn about the role. Actually, I was called in for an audition and they told me that what I was auditioning for was confidential and that they weren’t allowed to give me any information but show up on Thursday for it. I did my audition and it wasn’t until three months later that I was cast and then told what role I would be playing. It’s funny because so many actors have different stories about the way their audition happened and also the timing of all the auditions, versus the timing of the production and the filming. I can’t confirm this, but to me it feels like I was going in for a general audition to be considered for something but not anything specific, whereas I think some other actors might have gone in for something specific in consideration for them.
AG: You said it took three months to learn after you went in?
Adele: It was, August. Yes, it was three months to learn and it was four months after my audition that I was filming.
AG: What did you know prior to the first day of filming? Had you received any sides or anything like that?
Adele: Well, I had received sides. I believe it was two weeks before filming, I had to go and get a hard copy of them because they weren’t allowed to send them out digitally. So I had to go and run and get a hard copy and that was my first introduction to what this was.
AG: Were you a fan prior, or was this all new to you?
Adele: I was a fan prior. You know, in high school, I watched the series, but I hadn’t revisited it. Several years have passed between then and now and I was pregnant at the time. My brain wasn’t connecting all the dots to be perfectly honest with you. It wasn’t actually until I got to set and I saw David on the set, at the camera, when they called me to set that I actually knew that it was David and some people say, “Well, how is that even possible?” Well, the way that it’s possible is that I asked before the audition what it was, and was told that it wasn’t possible for them to tell me. Then I asked at a later time, and they told me that it wasn’t possible to tell me then. So, I did not continue to ask, you know? So that’s how I arrived at set, because I didn’t want to pester anybody who might continue to give me the same answer.
AG: Your first day at set, you show up and it’s David behind the camera. What was your first shot? What was your first day like?
Adele: My first scene was with Brent Briscoe at the police station when I walked in, in Buckhorn, South Dakota. I said, “Hi, I’m Lieutenant Knox. I’m here to investigate the fingerprints that you found.”
AG: What were your first impressions like? You’re putting everything together at this point. You’re obviously working with David Lynch. What was that experience like for your first day?
Adele: It’s an interesting thing because, as an actor, you need to be focused on the world that your character is living in. I did my best to not be influenced by the outside, and yes, David was standing there and we’re listening to him with our full attention and then going forth inside the scene. I couldn’t react much to the fact that David was there, other than to take his direction and do exactly what he needed me to do. So the first day on set was like it would be on any other set in terms of how you prepare for an actor.
Now, in regards to the people who I was with that day when the camera was off, I could not have been in a more supportive, amazing, friendly group of people. That was so awesome and so exciting, because you don’t always find that. Brent was the first person I met when I walked on to the location. Of course, he’s friendly and gives you a big hug whether or not he knows you. He’s talkative, and kind, and all of those things. So he’s the perfect person to be with when you’re going into that kind of situation.
AG: When I was jotting down notes for this, it dawned on me that you had one of the coolest parts in the entire series, just in terms of who you worked with. Ernie Hudson, you did a scene with Miguel, you did a scene with David Lynch. I was trying to think of movies that Ernie Hudson wasn’t in. The guy’s been in everything.
Adele: No kidding, he has! I didn’t know who I was acting with. After I learned, I was saying to myself, “Now, why was I the one that got cast among these people?” and “My gosh, am I just the luckiest person on the earth?” Because I, absolutely, I was very aware that I was the unknown in that group, and very lucky to be there, and be able to play with them.
In regard to Ernie, it’s funny because, in the van, we all know that he’s been working for decades and that he probably works every day. He said, “I’ve never signed an NDA so tight.” When Ernie Hudson says that to you, you know the iron clad nature of it! I mean, we knew it anyway, but for Ernie to say it was just like a whole new level of: My God, this guy’s been around every corner and on every set. That’s pretty significant.
Ernie was the last scene partner that I was going to meet and by this time I had been in the makeup trailer a couple of times and I had seen the call sheet that none of us were privy to, posted on the wall for the makeup artists and hair artists to have their schedule. I could see listed on my scene that my scene partner had the initials of EH. I was racking my brain. I’m like, “What actors could they?” There’s Ed Harris, and Ethan Hawke. I think I came up with four with the initials EH and was obviously quite happy to see Ernie on set.
AG: Everybody has stories about being directed by David Lynch, but you were in a situation where you actually acted with him. What was that like?
Adele: It’s so much fun. It’s funny because, I don’t know if everybody does it, but on and off screen I refer to him as Gordon Cole, which I’m always laughing about. But it’s so much fun because he’s entertaining and friendly, and kind, and has a large spirit. Whether or not the camera’s rolling, you can’t help but to just be completely enamored with his presence and so intrigued. When he was talking in one of the scenes we were in, I was so fixated on watching him, I had to pull back a little bit and remember my character. Yes, I’m supposed to be listening to him but I’m probably not supposed to be obsessed. It was fun.
AG: This was one of the final projects for Miguel Ferrer. What was it like working with him?
Adele: Oh, I love Miguel. I feel like everybody loved Miguel. He’s such a hard worker, and on set, he was telling me that with his other job, that both Twin Peaks and his other show had to work really hard to get 10 days straight for him to work on Twin Peaks so that they could do the consecutive days, so that he could do all the work that David wanted him to do. He’s such a professional and he shows up with a lot of lines to be memorized. Keeping in mind the workload that he has between both shows, I was so impressed with him. He’s also a calm, cool, collected guy. Between takes, we were all sitting together just talking about the past. Some of Twin Peaks 25 years ago and some about him growing up with his dad and the music that he played, all sorts of different things. So he was really open and friendly and wonderful. Some people retreat to their trailers for their own reasons, which I don’t judge at all. But it was just nice that Miguel hung out with us all. The last time I saw Miguel I was 5 1/2 months pregnant and he gave me some advice for my boy to be and he said, “I wish you were working more days,” and that made me feel really good.
AG: That is really special. What other memorable experiences did you have from set that you might want to share with those that are reading?
Adele: On the day that I was filming with Ernie Hudson in the Pentagon, I was looking everywhere for somebody that could show me how to do a proper salute. It turned out that one of the crew guys said, “Hey, I was in the Air Force and I can help you with this!” We were all sitting there practicing it. I hope I did it properly but that’s one of the things that I hadn’t researched before and wished I’d given more time to. But that’s something that I remember really focusing on trying to do well.
Like how I talked about how Miguel just kind of sat with us and how a lot of actors might retreat to their trailers, when Ernie was not on camera and did not even need to be on set, he came to set. When I was filming the Woodsman scene in the hallway. On the other side of David, Ernie started saying the lines. In that scene, I was calling him in the Pentagon office. Ernie was there saying the lines, which is incredible. I didn’t know he was there until he started speaking them to me while we were filming. I was like, you know how incredible that is? Because most times, on most sets, you’ll have a crew member or somebody saying those lines for you but not the guy being there when he doesn’t have to be, going the extra mile, so that was really, really cool. I’m thinking about all these different moments, but I’m not sure if they’re interesting or not. I remember when Laura (Dern) showed up for the first time and she gave me a handshake and I immediately noticed the different color of nail polish on each of her nails. When I was watching David work, immediately I thought, “Oh, David’s the one that picked each of those colors for those nails.” That looked awesome.
I was 5 1/2 months pregnant and I was nauseous during my entire pregnancy. Brent (Briscoe) knew this. When we were in the morgue before we were going to go in to the room where Jane Adams and others were, Brent just said, “I have to give you a warning. There were just cow intestines in there.”
AG: Oh no!
Adele: I think I started sweating bullets immediately. Then inside of that room, I actually had to ask the AD to have a bag next to camera because I did feel during that scene that at any time I was going to have to run over and get sick. The time that I felt worst was actually before cameras were rolling. Right when we had walked in that room and I could smell it, David was giving us direction, and I thought, “Please, do not, I do not want to run away from standing here in the middle of David’s direction to go puke. You do what you can with the circumstances and operate as best that you can and I was trying to do that and the production was so supportive. That was really cool. They were unbelievably kind to me and accommodating, and helping me in every way that they possibly could.
AG: This project was unique in the fact that it had so many things happen afterwards, in terms of the pop up events and things like that where so many of the cast and crew seemed like they were constantly being reunited for the Roadhouse or the Double R, and things like that. You don’t typically see that with a lot of films and television shows. What was that like for you as an actress?
Adele: No, no. You definitely don’t at all. In fact, we’re all going to dinner tonight. It’s not a PR thing. We do some things for the PR but then we do it also on our own. So much fun. I really found some amazing friendships and I text back and forth with cast members weekly, sometimes daily. We meet for coffees, we meet for dinners and it continues. I was wondering if it might tone down a little bit after time has passed but it really hasn’t. To find good friends is always surprising and wonderful.
AG: You hear that cliché tossed around so much about family, and then to actually hear how close you guys really are, that’s definitely special.
Adele: Yeah. I remember Madeline Zima, we were out at lunch and she was saying that. She’s worked for several decades of her life and she was saying that she likened a set, just the general experiences on set in her life, to birth and death. Because oftentimes you walk away from it as if it’s a death and you don’t get to look back at it and revisit it as much as we all have. In her experience in having worked for decades, she also finds the family dynamic and friendships that we have incredible. That was just another testament to it all.
AG: What are you currently working on? What’s in the future for you right now?
Adele: Well, I’m just starting to write a book. Also, I am gearing up to do my next film with the Make-A-Film Foundation. I do producing and casting for Make-A-Film Foundation. I don’t know if you know what that organization is, but we help make films for kids that have serious medical conditions and/or are terminally ill and whose dream it is to make a film. It’s 100% volunteer organization. We get the child, and then pair them with noted writers, directors, producers and actors. In fact, in our last film, David Lynch, Laura Dern, Trent Reznor, and Richard Chamberlain were all in it. Johnny Depp, Sam Raimi, Theodore Melfi — all these fantastic actors and directors have been a part of this before. We get A-listers and help the child’s dream come true. My next project is to do another one of those projects this summer.
AG: Is there a website I can link to for this interview?
Adele: Yeah. It’s makeafilmfoundation.org. You know the other really crazy thing is that Ernie (Hudson) had actually done a Make-A-Film foundation movie with the foundation right before I had joined it. I knew that he had been involved in it, with the foundation and that we were of the same heart, I like to say. It was really interesting that we ended up in a scene together.
AG: Did you want to say anything about the book, or is it too early to talk about?
Adele: I don’t want to say anything about it yet. I’ve been writing and I’m in the process now. My son is turning two in April. I’ve been taking a break, trying to take care of Brian. I need to start doing some projects and kind of getting out of just being a mom. I just signed on to be a casting director on a project as well. I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about that. I’ve been busy being an advocate politically for people with disabilities, so I’ve been really, really busy. It’s just now I’m going to get into more of the creative stuff with, and to audition again.
AG: Excellent. Any final words, or anything that you wanted to mention in conclusion?
Adele: My conclusion is basically not a conclusion but that I want no conclusion. I want to keep going and I think, as I hear so often from so many other people, I also would love to see a Season Four and I want to see how it might evolve further in the mind of David Lynch. I know sometimes he talks about, well, make up your own end, or make up your own next part of the story, and I do, but I would love to see a Season Four and see what he and Mark Frost would come up with.
AG: Well, you can’t just tease us like that. So what’s the ending and conclusions you’ve come up with?
Adele: I’m on the spot again (laughs). As an actor, you don’t come up with conclusions, but you come up with several different possibilities. I’ve actually thought about many different ways that it could go, so I’ll just stop it there. I don’t get tied, you can’t get tied, necessarily to any one thing specifically. I try to be open minded to all possibilities.
AG: Absolutely. Well, this has been a lot of fun. I definitely appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
Adele: Yes! Thank you so much. I’m glad that we finally connected!
If you enjoyed this interview, here’s a few others you may want to check out: