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TWIN PEAKS Delivered a Funny, Spoiler-Free SDCC Panel

TWIN PEAKS Delivered a Funny, Spoiler-Free SDCC Panel

When it was announced that Twin Peaks was going to have a Comic-Con panel, we had a lot of questions. And not just of the “When will Dougie become Agent Cooper again?” or “Who the hell are those dirty-faced guys who show up just to be scary?” variety. No, our questions were more along the lines of this: “Considering David Lynch doesn’t like to spoil, or even talk about, what his own work means, what exactly will they discuss?”

Damon Lindelof moderated a panel that featured Don Murray, Matthew Lillard, Everett McGill, James Marshall, Kimmy Robertson, Dana Ashbrook, Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, and, of course, Kyle MacLachlan (who greeted the panel with a Dougie “Helloooooo!”). Alas, no Mark Frost and David Lynch.

However, the panel kicked off with a “mysterious message” filmed by Lynch, which had him attempt to introduce the panel while constantly being interrupted by things off-camera, like an assistant walking out a four story window, or a horse breaking things, concluding with Lynch yelling, “Your horse stepped on my cat!” followed by yowls and the director complaining he was being scratched.

Then began the discussion about how everyone came aboard Twin Peaks: The Return. As MacLachlan recalls, Lynch gave him a call and told him, “I need to speak to you, but I can’t speak to you over the phone about this.” Upon meeting, Lynch asked MacLachlan if he’d return to Twin Peaks, to which Kyle replied that he never left. Lynch then tried to reach McGill by reaching out to fans on Twitter, and one gave him the phone number of an empty house where he keeps some old cars; McGill happened to be there the day his old rotary phone rang for the first time in 20 years. McGill describes Lynch as funny and warm, and says it’s “womblike” to be around him.

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Dana Ashbrook was heading to a UK fan convention with Sheryl Lee when Lee got the call, and was given permission to pass the message onto Ashbrook. Kimmy Robertson, asked where she was when she got the call, simply replied “in bed.” Later elaborating, she added that when she took the call, she started sliding out of bed, and by the time she was done she realized she was under the bed.

Moving onto discussions of the show itself, we learned that some of the cast is just as in the dark as we are when it comes to the goings-on onscreen. Naomi Watts, for instance, was only given the pages of the script that she was in, and some of the lines were crossed out to boot. She didn’t even know that “Dougie” would turn out to be Cooper.

Matthew Lillard says he still has not seen the original series, but that because the cast are so lovely, he’ll watch it tonight. Asked to assess the current show, he replied, “I think it’s weird! Anyone else?” What’s more, his biggest fear was that, “I would have to do something horrible and naked.”

Lillard’s separation from the Twin Peaks fandom lasts even into the current series, as he says he’s been asked thousands of times about a date he wrote down in one of the show’s episodes. He doesn’t remember! But it’s not as though he doesn’t appreciate his role, saying–upon being asked to read some of his Twin Peaks lines as Shaggy, that he “can’t get away from that damn character!” and would rather be Bill Hastings forever. He did indulge fans with a  “Zoinks!” and “Scoob!” in his Hastings cry-voice.

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Don Murray found his role a real challenge because all his pages were full of dialogue with nobody else saying much. His actor son, Michael Murray (of Cop Rock, Don notes), ran the scenes with him 10 times each day, and while he was initially daunted, he calls the final product one of the greatest experiences of his life. Like the other actors, he watches as a fan, because none of them have read the other characters’ pages. On that note, MacLachlan likes to watch home, alone, with a glass of wine, and Watts has not seen any of it yet, nor has Roth, who want to wait until it’s done and marathon the entirety of Twin Peaks with his kids, telling the audience, “And you’re all invited.”

Upon opening the conversation up to fans, there were plenty of questions for the cast. One viewer asked why nobody’s worried about Dougie, to which MacLachlan answered, “I don’t worry!” and Watts said, “That’s Janey-E’s job.” Robertson explained that if you live in the suburbs and have kids it’s very easy to slip through the cracks and only say one word a month, “And what wife wouldn’t like that?”

Speaking on his scenes set in the Black Lodge, MacLachlan said, “I was very lucky that all I really had to do occasionally in the Black Lodge was walk backwards and sit down.” Lucky MacLachlan got to watch the other actors focus and struggle with backward-speak. He says those sets are very focused and there’s a different kind of electricity buzzing around.

McGill, whose Twin Peaks episodes have yet to air, hadn’t been in front of a camera in 20 years before The Return. He compared it to staring down a loaded gun, and you can’t B.S. it. The actor recalls Lynch’s “sharp edge” when he gave the director some pushback on a really long expository speech; Lynch sarcastically said he could help him with that by running down the hallway and finding another person to say the lines.

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Still, everyone seemed to agree that Lynch is a treasure to work with. Lillard said, “He has this incredible sense of joy about him… and he has this peace about him,” and MacLachlan reaffirmed how accessible Lynch is, and that he’s been spoiled by working with him so much.

“He really shows great appreciation for other peoples’ work,” added Murray, who says Lynch never fails to compliment his cast and make them feel good. Of course, he does has his sense of humor. MacLachlan told a brief story about how Jim Belushi decided he was going to ad-lib a line, which resulted in Lynch yelling, “Mr. Belushi! Do I have to report you to the principal’s office?!” through a megaphone.

Among the remaining fan questions were one about why Audrey never had a romance with Cooper–“Ultimately the writing went a different way, but ultimately [but] she was a high-school student [and] I think that had a lot to do with it,” said MacLachlan–and what it was like to film the sequences opposite The Arm. “To be completely honest, I didn’t really know what we were seeing,” said MacLachlan. “Why was I surprised? It was EXACTLY what I imagined!”

Lindelof closed by noting Peaks would be moving to 8 p.m. in August (presumably to avoid Game of Thrones conflicts) and plugged the Funko and Entertainment Earth exclusives. MacLachlan got the last word, thanking all the fans for being there.

Image: Showtime

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