How did you do it? David Lynch hates that question almost as much as What does it mean? The Wizard of Odd behind the haunting, heartbreaking neo-noir Mulholland Drive is so averse to peeks behind his creative curtain that he won't even reveal how long it took to shoot the extra footage needed to turn Mulholland from a TV series into a big-screen film. The project began in 1999 as an ABC pilot, but was rejected for being too weird. Enter French film-financiers Canal Plus, which offered Lynch $7 million to convert the show into a feature. In 2000, Lynch reconvened his cast (most critically, Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring, giving brave, breakout performances) for more filming, including a freaky, fragmented final act that turns everything prior to it upside down. "It's just one big happy accident," says the now-thrice-nominated Lynch, 56, who previously scored with The Elephant Man (1980) and Blue Velvet (1986). In fact, the director insists the retrofit scenes were inspired by either supercaffeinated brainstorms or sheer happenstance. That claim may boggle those who insist that Mulholland is an intricately designed mystery and not just a sensational succession of Lynchian eccentricity, eroticism, slapstick, and dread. The dark, delirious magic of the film is that it works brilliantly as either - or even both. So how did he do it? "You know, these days, you have magicians on television telling how they do their magic act. It's interesting, really interesting - until you know, and then there's a sadness, and you're left wishing you didn't know," says Lynch. "Films are like magic. They take us into new worlds. And that should be protected at all costs." - Jeff Jensen
Copyright 2002 Entertainment Weekly Inc.
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