I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Joy Nash about her small but massively important role as Senorita Dido in Twin Peaks: The Return. She was really gracious with her time but hugely apologetic that she couldn’t give us any more insight than what she did. It appears she was kept just as much in the dark as we were when it came to her character and Part 8. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
MH: How did you learn about the role in Twin Peaks and what was the casting process like?
JN: Well, I got a call from an extras casting director as he’d found my headshot on a casting website I hadn’t updated in 7 years. The casting director then asked if I was in Los Angeles and still acting and then if I was free the following week. That was pretty much it—no audition, no script, no nothing.
MH: How was your character described to you?
JN: I didn’t know anything about the character at all until I showed up on the day of shooting. I was a little worried that I was going to be playing ‘Fat Lady #2’ or something like that since the only thing they knew about me was my height and size. By then I had googled the project and seen that David Lynch was directing and figured—even if I was ‘Fat Lady #2’, I was in! Then when I went in for the fitting I was standing there as the seamstress was measuring me and I noticed a garment rack with a bunch of pattern pieces on it. They had labels that said CASTOR, POLLUX, and WOODY HARRELSON… uh… this was where they’d built the costumes for The Hunger Games. I was so totally in.
MH: Were you a fan of Twin Peaks already or did you have to do some research before you started filming?
JN: I hadn’t seen Twin Peaks before shooting. I think actually I’d only seen Eraserhead and about 30 minutes of Blue Velvet before the boy I was in love with insisted on walking out of the theater (Don’t tell David Lynch) but otherwise, I didn’t know anything about that world.
MH: Did David Lynch offer any insight into the world your character inhabited?
JN: Not really! He was really specific with the costume, hair, and makeup, but that was really communication with the crew and not me so much.
MH: How did it feel walking into that world with Lynch and working so closely with him?
JN: Really exciting! The set was incredible and to be wearing that incredible costume, working with the artists in the makeup, wardrobe, and art design departments—it was so so cool. It was really obvious how much they respected David Lynch as they were doing absolutely whatever it took to bring his vision to life.
MH: Your costume really was stunning and reminded me a lot of a silent movie star. How did you feel about it and did you have any input over it?
JN: Me too! I think it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever worn. It was custom-made to fit me, but I didn’t get to have any input otherwise. I did have a little emergency on day 2—the only bathrooms were down in the bowels of the theater we were shooting in, so I was all alone when I went to use them. I got out of my dress just fine, but when I was finished and trying to do up the back zip, both of my rhinestones got caught in the lace overlay! I was totally trapped with both hands behind my back—terrified I was going to rip this beautiful custom gown. Finally, I pulled a little Houdini manoeuvre and undid the clasps on the jewelry—leaving them hanging down my backside until I could get back upstairs and find someone to rescue me the rest of the way.
MH: Do you know anything about the relationship between your character and Carel Struycken‘s ‘The Fireman’?
JN: No, I didn’t know anything about The Fireman. I’ll tell you I was definitely perplexed when I saw him practising his lines backwards. Right before the very first take David said, “Oh, yes, this one we “do backwards”. I thought he was joking, but no one was laughing! I was like, ‘Be cool, Joy. Be cool. Everybody else seems like it’s normal. Maybe it’s some kind of acting exercise… keeping things fresh?” I was so lost.
MH: It’s definitely a normal occurrence in Twin Peaks. When you originally kissed the golden orb did you know that Laura Palmer would be contained within it?
JN: No, I had no idea at all. I didn’t even know the Giant would be levitating up there as I was crossing the theater.
MH: What were you thinking about when you did kiss it?
JN: I was thinking of people I loved and hadn’t seen for a long time. What it would be like to be together again.
MH: That’s so beautiful. Did you know at the time of filming just how important your character was to the overall storyline?
JN: Not at all. I’d honestly thought I was going to be an extra! After all, the background casting director was the one who’d contacted me so I was really pretty shocked to find out it was just me and Carel on set that first day.
MH: How does it make you fee now, whilst watching Part 8, knowing how important your character is?
JN: Really, really lucky. I know you’re asking about the Twin Peaks world, but this experience was seriously life-altering in regard to my entire career. It felt like such a fluke to be given such an opportunity, but I did my best to rise to the occasion once I realized what was happening. Having a stamp of approval from someone like David Lynch—to sit across from someone like that and be looked at like you’re fascinating and important and exactly perfect for the part—it wasn’t something I’d ever experienced before. Having that experience of being treated like a colleague and like I was valuable gave me the confidence I carried with me into my auditions at AMC, eventually getting my own TV show. I definitely wouldn’t be here without Twin Peaks.
MH: That’s such a beautiful story. Have your personal thoughts on your character changed since the episode aired?
JN: I never saw a script so at first, after we’d finished shooting but before it had aired or even been announced, I had no idea that this was a big deal. All I could say was “I worked on a project for Showtime… it’ll be airing in 2017” and even when I could finally say it was Twin Peaks, people would ask things like “Oh, well is it a guest star or a co-star? Well, are you recurring at least? Well did you have a lot of lines?” And I’d be like “No, just a co-star. Only worked one scene. No, no lines… got hired as an extra actually” and people would kind of blow me off. Actors joke sometimes about having a “small but pivotal” role, but this really IS a “small, but pivotal” role (laughs).
MH: Probably THE most pivotal role anyone could ever get. Do you have any favorite on-set memories you’d like to share with us?
JN: This didn’t happen on set, but I was at a party recently and met another actor who’s a HUGE Peaks fan. He was asking about casting and I told him about my random phone call, and this guy said that it sounded totally plausible. That he’d heard that Lynch does it all the time, that he looks for a face in a photo that “makes him dream”. I think I cried. It may be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.
MH: I’d have cried too, we hear such similar Lynch casting stories all the time. What shows are you currently working on?
JN: My show Dietland is currently all streaming on Hulu!
MH: I absolutely love Dietland, I recommend it to everyone. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, do you have any parting words for our readers?
JN: Thanks so much for talking with me! I had no clue how passionate so many fans were about this world—it’s been really exciting meeting and talking with people who have been invested in this story for over 25 years.
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