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Room to Dream: A Limited Edition Book Club Series — Part 6

Welcome back to 25YL’s series on the biography/memoir of David Lynch, Room to Dream. This series is being written by various staff writers who look at two chapters at a time to examine the highlights and insights of the book.

Tonight, I‘m covering Part 6 in the series of 8. I’m going to continue with our citation system for this series in that in my reference notes, I will first cite the book properly. After that, I will cite from that book in particular with (McKenna, p.) for Kristine’s portions and (Lynch, p.) for his portions.

This part cover chapters:

  • “A Shot of White Lightning and a Chick”
  • “A Slice of Something”

Podcast coverage

My conversation with Ben and Bryon of the Twin Peaks Unwrapped podcast was released on Monday July 21st, where we discuss as much as we can of the entirety of Room to Dream. It contains spoilers beyond the chapters presented below. John Bernardy also discussed his feature for 25YL, “Twin Peaks: Las Vegas.”

Also see their interview with biographer Kristine McKenna:

These chapters look at that portion in Lynch’s life working on Mulholland Drive and The Straight Story in that order, chapter-wise. They are interchangeable except for the fact that McKenna’s telling of the Mulholland Drive story is a smart editorial decision to begin with as its earliest talks began in the making of Twin Peaks Season 1, and important development name-dropping frames decisions that work into his time with The Straight Story. Think of it as ABC’s Mulholland Drive, then Disney’s The Straight Story, and then David Lynch’s (Studio Canal) Mulholland Drive. This is also a portion in the memoir/biography where Lynch becomes more abbreviated in his commentary. There is a sense of tiredness with the stories, or too-recent, over-familiarity, perhaps lacking the nostalgia of the more informative years. That aside, we begin with some commentary on films that might have been, and this will lead to a tally we’ll gather up to this point in his life.

Mulholland Drive

It is asserted and quoted by Tony Krantz in Kristine McKenna’s portion that at a dinner one evening, during the making of Twin Peaks Season 1, Lynch presented him with the idea of Mulholland Drive. This was an homage to Sunset Boulevard that was dependent on the success of the first series. According to Krantz, the idea was that if the first series was good, the second season would end with Audrey leaving the town of Twin Peaks to L.A., which would have been made into a movie that would double as a pilot for the spin-off television series. Lynch’s memories are somewhat different in his portion.

I remember Tony wanted me to do something, and the idea of something called Mulholland Drive as some kind of offshoot of Twin Peaks is something I might’ve talked about for ten minutes with Mark Frost. But it was never solidified, and all I remember about it was that it would be called Mulholland Drive and would involve a young girl coming to Hollywood.[1]

David would be offered other projects, particularly with the picture house he set up with Mary and Neal Edelstein, Picture Factory. According to the book, he was offered film projects American Beauty, Motherless Brooklyn, and The Ring. Lynch claims he never knew American Beauty was offered to him, though we know it became a masterpiece film for director Sam Mendes. Motherless Brooklyn is based on a novel of the same name by author Jonathan Lethem, a contemporary of authors Bret Easton Ellis and Donna Tartt—who actually attended college with both. The novel is in post-production currently. The rights have been owned by actor Edward Norton for many years. Lovers of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Humphrey Bogart-era detective noir films and fictions, the like of Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, and The Long Goodbye, will adore the novel currently at best and hopefully the film in 2019. The novel is phenomenal, but this author reserves his expectations for the film, which faced tumultuous production. It revolves around a modern-day detective with Tourette’s syndrome, and that description is way understated. Anyhow, Lynch states with no confusion that he definitely never saw the script for The Ring, though he was proud of Neal [Edelstein] getting to produce it later with Naomi Watts. Our tally of big Hollywood Lynch projects-that-could-have-been as asserted by Room to Dream now include: Red Dragon, Francis, Return of the Jedi, American Beauty, Motherless Brooklyn, and The Ring.

Lynch was pretty much over television in the way of thinking about a project like Mulholland Drive after failures with On the Air and Hotel Room. In speaking to Mulholland Drive, the book brings up much of Lynch’s vacillating emotions with the project from its rejection by ABC to his weary return to the project with Studio Canal. He does meet Rebekah del Rio at this time of his life and explains of the song “Llorando (Crying)”: “Rebekah was going to come up to the studio, maybe have a coffee and talk, and sing something to me. So she comes up to the studio, and before five minutes go by, before any coffee, she went into the vocal booth and sang the exact thing that’s in the film. It wasn’t changed at all. That’s it. That’s the recording.”[2] Laura Harring adds to the biography’s narrative of Lynch as a ladies man, when she claims “’All women feel love for David,’ Harring continued. ‘He’s drop-dead gorgeous, and when he smiles at you it’s like the sun is shining on you.’[3] And while the chapter does play short compared to others in the book, we learn that he and Krantz had a falling out between the series and the film that while forgiven continues to feel of major strain. The origin of the “Blue Lady” in Club Silencio is also included.

What I also found of particular interest is a statement on America’s tragedy, the falling of the Twin Towers on 9-11-01. Jay Aaseng claims ““That event made him feel like it was important for him to share TM with the world. I think he thought that if everyone was meditating, things like that wouldn’t happen, and at that point he offered to pay for everyone in the office to have TM training.”[4] Also of note is that in this portion of his life and in the book, Lynch had his introduction to Poland, which would begin his thoughts on Inland Empire.

The Straight Story

With the shortest chapter of the book, we see a full circle in Sissy Spacek finally coming to work with David after meeting him back on the set of Eraserhead. There was a time during this production where Richard Farnsworth didn’t believe he would be able to perform the role for health reasons. During this time, David Lynch considered old friend John Hurt for the role. It is hard now to imagine that change in casting. Then, in maybe one of the more fun written tangents versus the audiobook version, David goes into a discussion of working in the cornfields. This leads him to a discussion of GMO’s and Monsanto, where he laments agriculture before those practices and interferences. What is interesting about that tangent is how somehow that projected love of money, which leads to the greed of Monsanto is handily played against Hollywood’s equation of money and success versus the beauty of a natural thing, like Lynch’s art, is somehow the corn to his films.

With only two more Parts to this limited edition book club series, we will return next week to discuss the highlights and insights expressed in those portions of Lynch’s life pertaining to his time with Inland Empire, his art exhibits, and a never-before-seen or mentioned screenplay.

[1] Lynch, p. 384.

[2] Lynch, p. 386.

[3] McKenna, p. 368.

[4] McKenna, p. 379.


Written by Rob E. King

I am a librarian, writer, and proud member of Twin Peaks and Robert E. Howard fandom. I've also somehow become the go-to writer for MTV's 90s animation series.

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