Total Movie and Entertainment Magazine
March/April 2002

Still Burning Strong

The Cast of Fire Walk With Me Wakes Up To Find The Twin Peaks Phenomenon Is Not A Dream

"I WAS SO YOUNG WHEN TWIN PEAKS happened, and so na´ve about the workings of this industry. I was just along for this crazy ride," says Sheryl Lee as she reflects on her time on David Lynch's tripped-out classic Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

Lee, of course, embodied the lost, tortured and eventually dead Laura Palmer, whose murder was the jumping-off point for the Twin Peaks TV series, which then spawned the film. "When I look back it's very surreal to me. Originally I was hired on as a corpse for four days. And then the four days turned into two weeks. Next thing I know, I'm moving to Los Angeles. It just kept unfolding."

"The movie was more like a nightmarish dream," says Ray Wise, who played Laura Palmer's sinister father Leland. "A lot of times it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense and it becomes purely a visual thing. It probably is; it's Laura Palmer's dream and her decent into madness."

When Fire Walk With Me-which is just now finally finding its way onto DVD-hit theaters a decade ago, the reviews were all over the map. Even loyal fans of the television show were split in opinion. Some viewers were horrified and repulsed by the images of incest, debauchery, violence and just plain weirdness; others embraced its bizarre imagery and openness to interpretation. In some ways, its meanings got lost or misconstrued on a number of viewers.

But don't tell that to Michael J. Anderson (also known as the backward-speaking Man From Another Place). He'll tell you it's a lot of hooey. "If a painter paints a red stripe across a canvas and 10 different people look at it, and one says it's passion and one says it's anger and one says it's horror and one says it's fear, we're all still seeing the red stripe. Now, has the red stripe been misunderstood?"

Moira Kelly, who took on the rote of Laura Palmer's best friend Donna for the film (played by Lara Flynn Boyle in the TV show), has a simpler explanation for the mixed reviews. "A lot of people were so into the TV show, and it's like when a good book gets made into a movie. Sometimes people aren't willing to accept the movie version."

Originally scheduled to include on the new DVD release some of the much-talked-about, much-clamored-for deleted footage-which among other things included scenes with characters from the TV show not seen in the film's final cut-New Line was forced to suddenly pull the plug on that idea due to an inability to see eye to eye with the European investors who own the footage. Thus, we are still left with the mystery-perhaps for another 10 years or more. What is on this footage? Who was involved? How did I get here?

"I remember there being some wonderful stuff," recalls Wise. "Some scenes were really out there. I know for my own curiosity that would like to see them."

Lee shares fan frustration with the rights issues. "It's so frustrating that somebody would hold onto this footage," she says. "That whole thing has so little to do with any kind of creativity."

"I remember there was one thing where David told me to go really crazy," says the rambunctious Anderson, referring to a scene that was later trimmed. "I just flipped out in any way I could think of. I never saw any of that. I must have gone too far. Hard to believe, huh?"

According to Anderson, were missing out on some choice stuff. "The scenes I was in don't stick in my mind like the ones I was present for," he says. "lust standing next to the set watching, I was filled with such horror that I will never forget it. I don't know what the footage looked like. All I know is what happened on the set. Fortunately, nobody was injured."

Even without the extra material, though, there's little doubt fans are still buzzing for this disc, especially with its superior transfer and remastered sound that blows away the previous video incarnations. The Tact that its appeal is still newsworthy 10-plus years later is testament to the vast, loyal and continually growing Twin Peaks fanbase.

"We never realized when we were doing the pilot that it would turn into something as phenomenal as it did," says Wise. "As awareness of it grew, even after the show had been over, there was still such a strong interest in it. You realized you were a part of something very, very special."

Michael J. Anderson believes the secret behind the phenomenon is simple. And its name is David. "I think David Lynch's work is just inspiring a whole bunch of new artists. People that think, `Well, if he can do that, l'm gonna try something. Maybe I have a chance.'"

He pauses to reflect, then chuckles. "But not me," he says. "My favorite quote is: `Once I saw the size of her boobs, I gave up being an artist.'"

Copyright 2002 Versatile Media One, Inc.

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