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David_Lynch

David Lynch

David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American director, screenwriter, producer, painter, cartoonist, composer, video and performance artist. Lynch has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), and Mulholland Drive (2001). Lynch has won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival.

Over a lengthy career, Lynch has employed a distinctive and unorthodox approach to narrative film making (dubbed Lynchian), which has become instantly recognizable to many audiences and critics worldwide. Lynch's films are known for surreal, nightmarish and dreamlike images and meticulously crafted sound design. Lynch's work often explores the seedy underside of "Small Town U.S." (particularly Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks), or sprawling California metropolises (Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and his latest release, Inland Empire). Beginning with his experimental film school feature Eraserhead (1977), he has maintained a strong cult following despite inconsistent commercial success.

Biography

Early life

Lynch was born in Missoula, Montana on January 20, 1946. His father, Donald, was a U.S. Department of Agriculture research scientist and his mother, Sunny Lynch, was an English language tutor. He was raised throughout the Pacific Northwest and Durham, North Carolina. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and, on his 15th birthday, served as an usher at John F. Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration. Lynch is a Presbyterian. His mother's father, whose last name was Sandholm, moved to the United States from Finland in the 19th century, and Lynch is one of the most well-known Finnish Americans.

Intending to become an artist, Lynch attended classes at Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. while finishing high school in Alexandria, Virginia. He enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for one year (where he was a roommate of Peter Wolf) before leaving for Europe with his friend and fellow artist Jack Fisk, planning to study with Austrian expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka. Although he had planned to stay for three years, Lynch returned to the US after only 15 days.

Early career and short films (1966–1970)

In 1966, Lynch relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and made a series of complex mosaics in geometric shapes which he called Industrial Symphonies. Lynch's receipt for his first camera, purchased in Philadelphia on April 25, 1967 at Fotorama, lists his residency as 2429 Aspen Street. This house is located in Philadelphia's Fairmount neighborhood, also known as the Art Museum neighborhood. The receipt can be viewed on The Short Films of David Lynch. At this time, he also began working in film. His first short film Six Men Getting Sick (1966), which he described as "57 seconds of growth and fire, and three seconds of vomit", was played on a loop at an art exhibit. It won the Academy's annual film contest. This led to a commission from H. Barton Wasserman to do a film installation in his home. After a disastrous first attempt that resulted in a completely blurred, frameless print, Wasserman allowed Lynch to keep the remaining portion of the commission. Using this, he created The Alphabet.

In 1970, Lynch turned his attention away from fine art and focused primarily on film. He won a $5,000 grant from the American Film Institute to produce The Grandmother, about a neglected boy who “grows” a grandmother from a seed. The 30-minute film exhibited many elements that would become Lynch trademarks, including unsettling sound and surrealistic imagery and a focus on unconscious desires instead of traditional narration.

Cult success (1975–1979)

In 1971, Lynch moved to Los Angeles to attend the M.F.A. studies at the AFI Conservatory. At the Conservatory, Lynch began working on his first feature-length film, Eraserhead, using a $10,000 grant from the AFI. The grant did not provide enough money to complete the film and, due to lack of a sufficient budget, Eraserhead was filmed intermittently until 1977. Lynch used money from friends and family, including boyhood friend Jack Fisk, a production designer and the husband of actress Sissy Spacek, and even took a paper route to finish it.

A stark and enigmatic film, Eraserhead tells the story of a quiet young man (Jack Nance) living in an industrial wasteland, whose girlfriend gives birth to a constantly crying mutant baby. Lynch has referred to Eraserhead as "my Philadelphia story", meaning it reflects all of the dangerous and fearful elements he encountered while studying and living in Philadelphia. He said "this feeling left its traces deep down inside me. And when it came out again, it became Eraserhead".

The final film was initially judged to be almost unreleasable, but thanks to the efforts of The Elgin Theatre distributor Ben Barenholtz, it became an instant cult classic and was a staple of midnight movie showings for the next decade. It was also a critical success, launching Lynch to the forefront of avant-garde filmmaking. Stanley Kubrick said that it was one of his all-time favorite films. It cemented the team of actors and technicians who would continue to define the texture of his work for years to come, including cinematographer Frederick Elmes, sound designer Alan Splet, and actor Jack Nance.

Rise to prominence (1980–1986)

Eraserhead brought Lynch to the attention of producer Mel Brooks, who hired him to direct 1980's The Elephant Man, a biopic of deformed Victorian era figure Joseph Merrick. The film was a huge commercial success, and earned eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay nods for Lynch. It also established his place as a commercially viable, if somewhat dark and unconventional, Hollywood director. George Lucas, a fan of Eraserhead, offered Lynch the opportunity to direct Return of the Jedi, which he refused, feeling that it would be more Lucas's vision than his own.

Afterwards, Lynch agreed to direct a big budget adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune for Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis's De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, on the condition that the company release a second Lynch project, over which the director would have complete creative control. Although De Laurentiis hoped it would be the next Star Wars, Lynch's Dune (1984) was a critical and commercial dud, costing $45 million to make, and grossing a mere $27.4 million domestically. The studio released an "extended cut" of the film for syndicated television in which some footage was reinstated; however, certain shots from elsewhere in the film were repeated throughout the story to give the impression that other footage had been added. Whatever the case, this was not representative of Lynch's intended cut, but rather a cut that the studio felt was more comprehensible than the original theatrical version. Lynch objected to these changes and disowned the extended cut, which has "Alan Smithee" credited as the director. This version has since been released on video worldwide.

Lynch's second De Laurentiis-financed project was 1986's Blue Velvet, the story of a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) who discovers his small, idealistic hometown hides a dark side after investigating a severed ear he found in a field. The film featured memorable performances from Isabella Rossellini as a tormented lounge singer, and Dennis Hopper as a crude, psychopathic criminal, and the leader of a small gang of backwater hoodlums.

Although Lynch had found success previously with The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet's controversy with audiences and critics introduced him into the mainstream, and became a huge critical and commercial success. Thus, the film earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. The content of the film and its artistic merit drew much controversy from audiences and critics alike in 1986 and onwards. Blue Velvet introduced several common elements of his work, including abused women, the dark underbelly of small towns, and unconventional uses of vintage songs. Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet" and Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" are both featured in unconventional ways. It was also the first time Lynch worked with composer Angelo Badalamenti, who would contribute to all of his future full-length films except INLAND EMPIRE.

Woody Allen, whose film Hannah and Her Sisters was nominated for Best Picture, said that Blue Velvet was his favourite film of the year. The film is consistently ranked as one of the greatest American films ever made, and has become a hugely influential motion picture, the impact of which is still being felt in Hollywood and popular culture.

Continued success (1987-1996) and transition to TV

After failing to secure funding for several completed scripts in the late 1980s, Lynch collaborated with television producer Mark Frost on the show Twin Peaks, which was about a small Washington town that is the location of several bizarre occurrences. The show centered around the investigation by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the death of popular high school student Laura Palmer, an investigation that unearthed the secrets of many town residents, something that stemmed from Blue Velvet. Lynch directed six episodes of the series, including the feature-length pilot, wrote or co-wrote several more and even acted in some episodes.

The show debuted on the ABC Network on April 8, 1990 and gradually rose from cult hit to cultural phenomenon, and because of its originality and success remains one of the most well-known television series of the decade. Catch phrases from the show entered the culture and parodies of it were seen on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. Lynch appeared on the cover of Time magazine largely because of the success of the series. Lynch, who has seldom acted in his career, also appeared on the show as the partially-deaf FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole, who shouted his every word.

However, Lynch clashed with the ABC Network on several matters, particularly whether or not to reveal Laura Palmer's killer. The network insisted that the revelation be made during the second season but Lynch wanted the mystery to last as long as the series. Lynch soon became disenchanted with the series, and, as a result, many cast members complained of feeling abandoned. Later, in a roundtable discussion with cast members included in the 2007 DVD release of the series, he stated that he and Frost never intended to ever reveal the identity of Laura's killer, that ABC forced him to reveal the culprit prematurely, and that agreeing to do so is one of his biggest professional regrets.

It was at this time that Lynch began to work with editor/producer/domestic partner Mary Sweeney who had been one of his assistant editors on Blue Velvet. This was a collaboration that would last some eleven projects. During this period, Sweeney also gave birth to their son.

Adapted from the novel by Barry Gifford, Wild at Heart was an almost hallucinatory crime/road movie starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern. It won the Palme d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival but was met with a muted response from American critics and viewers. Reportedly, several people walked out of test screenings.

The missing link between Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart, however, is Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted. It was originally presented on-stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City on November 10, 1989 as a part of the New Music America Festival. Industrial Symphony No. 1 is another collaboration between composer Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch. It features five songs by Julee Cruise and stars several members of the Twin Peaks cast as well as Nic Cage, Laura Dern and Julee Cruise. Lynch described this musical spectacle as the "sound effects and music and ... happening on the stage. And, it has something to do with, uh, a relationship ending." David Lynch produced a 50 minute video of the performance in 1990.

Twin Peaks suffered a severe ratings drop and was canceled in 1991. Still, Lynch scripted a prequel to the series about the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer. The resulting film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), flopped at the box office.

As a quick blip during this time period, he and Mark Frost wrote and directed several episodes of the short lived comedy series On the Air for ABC, which followed the zany antics at a 1950s TV studio. In the US, only three episodes were aired, although seven were filmed. In the Netherlands, all seven were aired by VPRO. BBC2 in the UK also aired all seven episodes. Lynch also produced (with Frost) and directed the documentary television series American Chronicles.

His next project was much more low-key: he directed two episodes of a three-episode HBO mini-series called Hotel Room about events that happened in the same hotel room in a span of decades.

Comic strip (1983–1992)

Lynch also had a comic strip – The Angriest Dog in the World – which featured unchanging graphics (various panels showing the angular, angry dog chained up in a yard full of bones) and cryptic philosophical references. It ran from 1983 until 1992 in the Village Voice, Creative Loafing and other tabloid and alternative publications.

Recent works (1997–present)

In 1997, Lynch returned with the non-linear, noir-like film Lost Highway, co-written by Barry Gifford and starring Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette. The film failed commercially and received a mixed response from critics. However, thanks in part to a soundtrack featuring David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins, it helped gain Lynch a new audience of Generation X viewers.

In 1999, Lynch surprised fans and critics with the G-rated, Disney-produced The Straight Story, written and edited by Mary Sweeney, which was, on the surface, a simple and humble movie telling the true story of Iowan Alvin Straight, played by Richard Farnsworth, who rides a lawnmower to Wisconsin to make peace with his ailing brother, played by Harry Dean Stanton. The film garnered positive reviews and reached a new audience for its director.

The same year, Lynch approached ABC once again with an idea for a television drama. The network gave Lynch the go-ahead to shoot a two-hour pilot for the series Mulholland Drive, but disputes over content and running time led to the project being shelved indefinitely.

With seven million dollars from the French production company StudioCanal, Lynch completed the pilot as a film. Mulholland Drive is an enigmatic tale of the dark side of Hollywood and stars Naomi Watts, Laura Harring and Justin Theroux. The film performed relatively well at the box office worldwide and was a critical success earning Lynch a Best Director prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival (shared with Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There) and a Best Director award from the New York Film Critics Association.

In 2002, Lynch created a series of online shorts entitled Dumbland. Intentionally crude both in content and execution, the eight-episode series was later released on DVD. The same year, Lynch treated his fans to his own version of a sitcom via his website - Rabbits, eight episodes of surrealism in a rabbit suit. Later, he showed his experiments with Digital Video (DV) in the form of the Japanese style horror short Darkened Room. At the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Lynch announced that he had spent over a year shooting his new project digitally in Poland. The feature, titled Inland Empire, included Lynch regulars such as Laura Dern, Harry Dean Stanton, and Mulholland Drive star Justin Theroux, with cameos by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring (actors in the rabbit suits), and a performance by Jeremy Irons. Lynch described the piece as "a mystery about a woman in trouble". It was released in December 2006. In an effort to promote the film, Lynch made appearances with a cow and a placard bearing the slogan "Without cheese there would be no Inland Empire".

Despite his almost exclusive focus on America, Lynch has found a large audience in France; Inland Empire, Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Fire Walk With Me were all funded through French production companies.

The most recent work that Lynch has directed is a fragrance short film/commercial for Gucci. It features 3 prominent models, dancing in what appear to be their own luxurious homes, to the soundtrack of Blondie. A video of the commercial plus a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the commercial is available online at the Gucci website.

In May 2008, Lynch announced that he was working on a road documentary "about his dialogues with regular folk on the meaning of life, with the likes of 60’s troubadour Donovan and John Hagelin, the physicist, as traveling companions".

Awards and honors

Lynch has twice won France's César Award for Best Foreign Film and served as President of the jury at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, where he had previously won the Palme d'Or in 1990. On September 6. 2006 Lynch received a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. He also premiered his latest work, Inland Empire, at the festival.

Lynch has received four Academy Award nominations: Best Director for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001), as well as Best Adapted Screenplay for The Elephant Man (1980).

Lynch was also honored by the French government with the Legion of Honor, the country's top civilian honor, as Chevalier in 2002 then Officier in 2007.

Frequent collaborators

Main article: Frequent David Lynch collaborators

Lynch is also widely noted for his collaborations with various production artists and composers on his films and multiple different productions. He frequently works with Angelo Badalamenti to compose music for his productions, former wife Mary Sweeney as a film editor, casting director Johanna Ray, and cast members Harry Dean Stanton, Jack Nance, Kyle MacLachlan, Naomi Watts, Isabella Rossellini and Laura Dern.

Themes

Though interpretations do vary, those who study Lynch's work generally do find such images to represent consistent or semi-consistent themes throughout his body of work. Also, Lynch often includes either small town United States in his films as a setting or location, for example Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, or sprawling metropolis, for example Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, where Los Angeles, California becomes the primary location. Beaten or abused women are also a common theme or subject in his productions, as are intimations or explicit mention of sexual abuse and incest (Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Twin Peaks, Wild At Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and some would pick up references in Mulholland Dr, The Alphabet and The Grandmother.).

On a similar note, he has also developed a tendency during the second half of his career to feature his leading female actors in multiple or "split" roles, thus many of his characters have multiple, fractured identities in his films. Starting with the choice to cast Sheryl Lee both as Laura Palmer and as twin cousin Maddy Ferguson on Twin Peaks it continues to be a primary theme in his later works. In Lost Highway, Patricia Arquette has the dual role of Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield. In Mulholland Drive, Naomi Watts was cast as Diane Selwyn/Betty Elms and Laura Harring as Camilla Rhodes/Rita. The theme is even further carried out by Laura Dern's performance in his latest production Inland Empire. Though there are instances in these films of men taking on multiple roles, it seems more common for Lynch to create multi-character roles for his female actors.

Film critic Roger Ebert has been notoriously unfavorable towards Lynch, even accusing him of misogyny in his reviews of Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. In early days, Ebert was one of few major critics to dislike Blue Velvet. He seems to have had a change of heart in recent years, as he has written enthusiastic reviews of recent Lynch films such as The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive.

Trademarks

  • Unique visuals, often a lot of smoke, saturated and strong colours (especially red), the mix of decaying and rotting environments with aesthetic beauty, minimalist decoration, claustraphobic hallways and staircases, atmospheric lighting, electricity, flickering lights, dark rooms, coffee, lamps, fluorescent lights (especially flickering or damaged), traumatic head injuries and deformities (Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, "Wild at Heart", "Lost Highway", "Mulholland Dr."), highways or open roads at night (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr.), telephones ("Fire Walk with Me", "Lost Highway", "Mulholland Dr."), dogs, diners (all films with the exception of Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Inland Empire and The Straight Story feature diners), factories (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks), red curtains (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr., Inland Empire), cigarettes, the binding or crippling of hands or arms, various uses of the color blue and red, angelic or heavenly female figures, and extreme close ups.
  • Often sets his films in small town USA (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, The Straight Story), and on the contrary, large, sprawling cities (often Los Angeles) in some of his films.
  • Often casts a musician in a supporting role. Sting in Dune, Chris Isaak, David Bowie and Julee Cruise in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, and Henry Rollins in Lost Highway, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rebekah Del Rio and Angelo Badalamenti in Mulholland Dr..
  • Uses many references to France, the French language, culture, people, and names.
  • Constant references to dreams as a way of connecting the plot and twists in his films, and dreams intertwining with reality.
  • Frequent use of Roy Orbison songs in his films (In Dreams in Blue Velvet and a Spanish version of Crying in Mulholland Dr.)
  • Features somewhat obscure and/or lesser-known pop recordings from the middle of America's 20th century, including "Sixteen Reasons" by Connie Stevens, "Every Little Star" by Linda Scott in "Mulholland Dr.", and "Honky-Tonk" by Bill Doggett in "Blue Velvet".
  • Industrial - atmospheric, dark, brooding, and meticulously timed soundtrack
  • Interpersonal dialogues and conversations which might often seem, by turns, laconic, aimless, pointless, cryptic, dreamlike, ambiguous. Certainly Lynchian dialogues are polysemous.
  • Frequent implied thematic discourse revolving around the questions, "What is 'onstage'?" "What is 'offstage'?" "What is 'real life'?" "What is 'show-biz'?" "What is 'natural human behavior'?" "What is 'acting'?"

Influences

Lynch has expressed his admiration for filmmakers Jacques Tati, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, writer Franz Kafka (stating "the only artist I felt could be my brother was Kafka"), and artist Francis Bacon. He states that the majority of Kubrick films are in his top ten, that he really loves Kafka, and that Bacon paints images that are both visually stunning, and emotionally touching. He has also cited the Austrian expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka as an inspiration for his works. Lynch has a love for the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz and frequently makes reference to it in his films, most overtly in Wild at Heart.

An early influence on Lynch was the book The Art Spirit by American turn-of-the-century artist and teacher Robert Henri. When he was in high school, Bushnell Keeler, an artist who was the stepfather of one of his friends, introduced Lynch to Henri's book, which became his bible. As Lynch said in Chris Rodley's book Lynch on Lynch, "it helped me decide my course for painting — 100 percent right there." Lynch, like Henri, moved from rural America to an urban environment to pursue an artistic career. Henri was an urban realist painter, legitimizing every day city life as the subject of his work, much in the same way that Lynch first drew street scenes. Henri's work also bridged changing centuries, from America's agricultural 19th century into the industrial 20th century, much in the same fashion as Lynch's films blend the nostalgic happiness of the fifties to the twisted weirdness of the eighties and nineties.

His influences have also included Luis Buñuel, Werner Herzog, Roman Polanski, Billy Wilder, John Ford, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola and Ernst Lubitsch. Some of them have cited Lynch as an influence themselves, most notably Kubrick, who stated that he modeled his vision of The Shining (1980) upon that of Eraserhead and who, according to Lynch's book Catching the Big Fish, once commented while screening Eraserhead for a small group that it was his favorite film. Mario Bava, the prolific Italian horror filmmaker, has frequently been cited as an influence on Lynch.

Unfinished and unrealized projects

  • Gardenback: After the success he had enjoyed with "The Grandmother", Lynch moved to Beverly Hills to participate in the AFI's Center for Advanced Film. Lynch began working on a script for a short film called "Gardenback" in 1970. Lynch spent the whole year working on a 45-page script. The film was to explore the physical materialization of what grows inside a man's head when he desires a woman that he sees. This manifestation metamorphoses into a monster.

Cinematographer/director Caleb Deschanel, who was also at the AFI at the time and wanted to shoot the film, introduced Lynch to a producer at 20th Century Fox. The studio was interested in making a series of low-budget horror films and wanted to expand "Gardenback" into a feature film. The studio was willing to give Lynch $50,000 to make it but wanted the 45-page script to be expanded. This involved writing dialogue -- something Lynch had never tried before. Lynch said in Lynch on Lynch, "What I wrote was pretty much worthless, but something happened inside me about structure, about scenes. And I don't even know what it was, but it sort of percolated down and became part of me. But the script was pretty much worthless. I knew I'd just watered it down." Consequently, Lynch became disenchanted with the project. Some of the elements in "Gardenback" would later surface in Eraserhead, such as its main characters Henry and Mary X.

  • Dune Messiah: Lynch was in the process of writing the sequel to film Dune (which was partially adapted from the book), but the box office failure of the first film killed the project. From the Inner Views Lynch interview, "...I was really getting into Dune II. I wrote about half the script, maybe more, and I was really getting excited about it. It was much tighter, a better story." From a Prevue article from 1984: "Lynch has written two sequel screenplays to DuneDune Messiah and Children of Dune, based on Herbert's succeeding novels – which currently await the author's approval. Back-to-back lensing is expected if the first film is a success. Although Kyle MacLachlan will portray Paul Atreides in the three Dune spectacles, Lynch promises a different cast each time."
  • Untitled animated short, 1969 or 1970: Though David doesn't remember what the film itself was about, he distinctly recalls that he was paid to produce a short film and the negatives came back from the lab messed up.
  • Ronnie Rocket
  • Red Dragon: Before making Blue Velvet, the film's producer, Richard Roth, approached Lynch with another project -- an adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel, Red Dragon. Lynch was turned off by the content of the book and Roth subsequently took the project to Michael Mann who went on to direct the film as Manhunter (1986).
  • The Lemurians: This was a TV show that Lynch was going to do with Mark Frost based on the continent of Lemuria. Their premise for the show was that Lemurian essence was leaking from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and becomes a threat to the world. It was intended to be a comedy but when Lynch and Frost tried to pitch this show to NBC, the network rejected it.
  • Goddess: When Lynch and Frost first met, they began working on a project about Marilyn Monroe. Lynch had been fascinated by the actress' life and met with Anthony Summers who wrote a biography of the same name. The more they worked on it, the more they became embroiled in conspiracy theories involving Monroe and the Kennedys which turned Lynch off the project. Twin Peaks was created soon after, which has similarities with the story of Monroe.
  • One Saliva Bubble: This was a comedy that Lynch co-wrote with Mark Frost and intended to direct with Steve Martin and Martin Short starring. It was set in Kansas. Robert Engels describes the premise of the film in Lynch on Lynch: "It's about an electric bubble from a computer that bursts over this town and changes people's personalities – like these five cattlemen, who suddenly think they're Chinese gymnasts. It's insane!"
  • The White Hotel: Lynch was attached to Dennis Potter's adaptation of D.M. Thomas' novel during the late 1980s.
  • I'll Test My Log With Every Branch of Knowledge: Around the time that Lynch and Catherine Coulson made "The Amputee", he had an idea for a TV show. He told Chris Rodley in Lynch on Lynch, "It's a half-hour television show starring Catherine as the lady with the log. Her husband has been killed in a forest fire and his ashes are on the mantelpiece, with his pipes and his sock hat. He was a woodsman. But the fireplace is completely boarded up. Because she now is very afraid of fire." This project never got off the ground, but when it came time to film the pilot for Twin Peaks, Lynch remembered this idea and called Coulson up to appear as the Log Lady.
  • Metamorphosis: This was intended to be an adaptation of the story written by Franz Kafka. Lynch has expressed on several accounts his desire to film the story of Metamorphosis. He has even written a script. The main reason that Lynch has not filmed it is a matter of money and technology involving the transformation of a man into a beetle.
  • The Dream of the Bovine: Lynch and Robert Engels wrote the screenplay for this film after Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. According to Engels in Lynch on Lynch, the film was about "three guys, who used to be cows, living in Van Nuys and trying to assimilate their lives."

Personal life

Lynch tends to keep his personal life private and rarely comments on his films. However, he does attend public events and film festivals when he or his films are nominated/awarded. Despite a belief that a film should be seen in its totality, the DVD release of Inland Empire is divided into chapters, with Lynch explaining why in the "Stories" feature. In addition, on his two DVD collections of short films, Lynch provides short introductions to each film.

In the 1980s, Lynch expressed that he liked Ronald Reagan and at one point he had dinner with the Reagans at the White House, though he sees himself as a Libertarian or Democrat.

In the "Stories" feature on the Eraserhead DVD, Lynch mentions that he ate French fries and grilled cheese almost every day while on the set. Despite his professional accomplishments, Lynch once characterized himself simply as "Eagle Scout, Missoula, Montana".

In 1967, Lynch married Peggy Lentz in Chicago, Illinois. They had one child, Jennifer Chambers Lynch, born in 1968, who currently works as a film director. They filed for divorce in 1974. On June 21, 1977, Lynch married Mary Fisk, and the couple had one child, Austin Jack Lynch, born in 1982. They divorced in 1987, and Lynch began dating Isabella Rossellini, after filming Blue Velvet.

Lynch and Rossellini broke up in 1991, and Lynch developed a relationship with Mary Sweeney, with whom he had one son, Riley Lynch, in 1992. Sweeney also worked as long-time film editor/producer to Lynch and co-wrote and produced The Straight Story. The two married in May 2006, but divorced later in July.

Transcendental Meditation

In December 2, 2005, Lynch told the Washington Post that he had been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day, for 20 minutes each time, for 32 years. He was initiated into TM on July 1, 1973, at 11:00 a.m., in a TM Center at Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles by a teacher he thought "looked like Doris Day". Since then he never missed a program. He advocates its use in bringing peace to the world. In July 2005, he launched the David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and Peace to fund research about TM's positive effects, and he promotes the technique and his vision by an ongoing tour of college campuses that began in September 2005. A streaming video of one of Lynch's public performances is available at his foundation's website.

Lynch is working for the establishment of seven "peace palaces", each with 8000 salaried people practicing advanced techniques of TM, "pumping peace for the world." He estimates the cost at $7 billion. As of December 2005, he had spent $400,000 of his own money and raised $1 million in donations from a handful of wealthy individuals and organizations. In December 2006, the New York Times reported that he continued to have that goal.

Lynch has written a book, Catching the Big Fish (Tarcher/Penguin 2006), which discusses the impact of TM on his creative process. He is donating all author's royalties to the David Lynch Foundation.

Other interests

Lynch maintains an interest in other art forms. He described the twentieth century artist Francis Bacon as "to me, the main guy, the number one kinda hero painter". He continues to present art installations and stage designs. In his spare time, he also designs and builds furniture. He started building furniture from his own designs as far back as his art school days. He built sheds during the making of Eraserhead, and many of the sets and furniture used in that movie are made by Lynch. He also made some of the furniture for Fred Madison's house in Lost Highway.

Lynch was the subject of a major art retrospective at the Fondation Cartier, Paris from March May 3-27 2007. The show was entitled The Air is on Fire and included numerous paintings, photographs, drawings, alternative films and sound work. New site-specific art installations were created specially for the exhibition. A series of events accompanied the exhibition including live performances and concerts. Some of Lynch's art include photographs of dissected chickens and other animals as a "Build your own Chicken" toy ad.

Between 1983 and 1992, Lynch wrote and drew a weekly comic strip called The Angriest Dog in the World for the L.A. Reader. The drawings in the panels never change — just the captions. The comic strip originated from a time in Lynch's life when he was filled with anger.

Lynch has also been involved in a number of musical projects, many of them related to his films. Most notably he produced and wrote lyrics for Julee Cruise's first two albums, Floating into the Night (1989) and The Voice of Love (1993), in collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti who composed the music and also produced. Lynch has also worked on the 1998 Jocelyn Montgomery album Lux Vivens. He has also composed bits of music for Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Mulholland Drive, and Rabbits. In 2001 he released BlueBob, a rock album performed by Lynch and John Neff. The album is notable for Lynch's unusual guitar playing style: he plays "upside down and backwards, like a lap guitar", and relies heavily on effects pedals. Most recently Lynch has composed several pieces for Inland Empire, including two songs, "Ghost of Love" and "Walkin' on the Sky" in which he makes his public debut as a singer.

Lynch designed his personal website, a site exclusive to paying members, where he posts short videos and his absurdist series Dumbland, plus interviews and other items. The site also features a daily weather report, where Lynch gives a brief description of the weather in Los Angeles, where he resides. An absurd ringtone ("I like to kill deer") from the website was a common sound bite on The Howard Stern Show in early 2006.

Lynch is an avid coffee drinker and even has his own line of special organic blends available for purchase on his website. Called "David Lynch Signature Cup", the coffee has been advertised via flyers included with several recent Lynch-related DVD releases, including Inland Empire and the Gold Box edition of Twin Peaks. The self-mocking tag-line for the brand is "It's all in the beans ... and I'm just full of beans.

Filmography

Features

Year Film Oscars BAFTA Golden Globe
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
1977 Eraserhead
1980 The Elephant Man 8 7 3 4
1984 Dune 1
1986 Blue Velvet 1 2
1990 Wild at Heart 1 1 1
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
1997 Lost Highway
1999 The Straight Story 1 2
2001 Mulholland Drive 1 2 1 4
2006 Inland Empire

Music videos

Short films

TV, advertisements and digital

Acting

References

Sources

  • Lynch on Lynch, a book of interviews with Lynch, conducted, edited, and introduced by filmmaker Chris Rodley (Faber & Faber Ltd., 1997, ISBN 0-571-19548-2; revised edition published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2005, ISBN 0-571-22018-5).
  • The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood by Martha Nochimson (University of Texas Press, 1997, ISBN 0-292-75565-1).
  • The Complete Lynch by David Hughes (Virgin Virgin, 2002, ISBN 0-7535-0598-3)
  • Weirdsville U.S.A.: The Obsessive Universe of David Lynch by Paul A. Woods (Plexus Publishing. UK, Reprint edition, 2000, ISBN 0-85965-291-2).
  • David Lynch (Twayne's Filmmakers Series) by Kenneth C. Kaleta (Twayne Publishers, 1992, ISBN 0-8057-9323-2).
  • Pervert in the Pulpit: Morality in the Works of David Lynch by Jeff Johnson (McFarland & Company, 2004, ISBN 0-7864-1753-6).
  • Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch. (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2006, ISBN 1585425400 / 978-1585425402)
  • Snowmen by David Lynch, (Foundation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, 2008 ISBN 978-3-86521-467-6).

External links

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