David Lynch Announces His Retirement from Making Films

While doing the press rounds for his much anticipate revival of Twin Peaks on Showtime, director David Lynch, who has been making film’s since 1977’s midnight movie masterpiece Eraserhead, revealed that he is in fact done with making movies. His last movie was 2006’s Inland Empire, and unless he has a change of heart, that film will remain his last one. While speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald (via Playlist), Lynch said the following:

“Things changed a lot. So many films were not doing well at the box office even though they might have been great films and the things that were doing well at the box office weren’t the things that I would want to do.” When later asked if that meant that Inland Empire was indeed his last film, Lynch replied “yes, it is.”

via GIPHYThis is all sad, but not surprising. The movie industry has changed radically over the past decade, and while we nerds rejoice at the amount of big budget comic book, fantasy, and sci-fi blockbusters with brand recognition getting released that we love, the very risk averse Hollywood studios are pretty much only making those kinds of movies, unless you happen to be a Christopher Nolan or a Steven Spielberg who has the clout to get the studios to spend serious money on making something different.

Of course, quirkier indie fare does still get made, but it’s usually made for peanuts. The mid-range budget art house film, which since the ’80s has been the bread and butter of directors like Lynch and John Waters, has all but vanished. Waters is another example of a quirk-filled indie writer/director whose last film was made a decade ago, and who has become an author/lecturer because no one will give him money for a film. Like Lynch, he doesn’t want to make a movie for $1 or $2 million dollars at this point in his career. You can hardly blame them.

The silver lining to this bummer news is that while movie studios only seem to want “four quadrant” branded content for the big screen, television — specifically, cable television and streaming — are eager for more challenging material. Recent water cooler shows like 13 Reasons Why and Feud would probably never get greenlit as movies in today’s environment. But they flourish in long format TV. The paradigm has shifted, and Lynch has shifted with it. So while we can be sad that a new, two hour Lynch production might never see a movie house again, it is very likely that the new Twin Peaks heralds a new age of the auteur’s vision on cable television.

Whether it takes the form of new episodes of Twin Peaks beyond the series we are getting (and I have a hunch we will), or it’s something new entirely, I think we are going to be getting more filmed Lynch content than ever before. The 18 hours of the new Peaks is three times the amount of episodes he directed of the classic series, and almost roughly the equivalent of his entire film output so far. That’s no small thing. Television is seemingly the new art house.

It should also be noted, before anyone cries in their coffee, that Lynch is a mercurial sort who tends to change his mind. In 2001, he publicly told crestfallen Twin Peaks fans that there would never be a revival, and it was “dead as a doornail.” We know how that turned out. So you just never know.

How do you feel about Lynch retiring from film? Or you sad, or are you ready for Lynch to take on the world of television? Let us know down below in the comments.

Images: Showtime / CBS / Universal Pictures 

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