The Q&A

David Lynch: Climbing the 'Peaks'

The cult-cinema director looks back on his landmark ''Twin Peaks'': How ABC ruined it, why he'd never work in TV again, and what, exactly, Agent Cooper is doing today.

DAVID LYNCH ''The question of what happened to Laura Palmer was the goose that laid the golden egg. Then ABC asked us to snip the…
Image credit: Everett Collection
DAVID LYNCH ''The question of what happened to Laura Palmer was the goose that laid the golden egg. Then ABC asked us to snip the goose's head off, and it killed the goose''

''She's dead...wrapped in plastic...''

With these creepy words — intoned by the late Jack Nance — Blue Velvet director David Lynch and producer Mark Frost launched their deeply beloved, greatly irritating, and widely influential cult-classic TV series Twin Peaks in the spring of 1989. It was a smashing success...for a few weeks or so. Initially, the show became an international phenomenon thanks to its engrossing, aggressively marketed ''Who Killed Laura Palmer?'' mystery, quirky-cool hero (Kyle MacLachlan's pie-loving, coffee-swilling FBI agent Dale Cooper), and Lynch's auteur celebrity and distinctive brand of oddball wit, rich imagery, and atmospheric dread. But soon, viewers began tuning out in droves, alienated by the cryptically-plotted murder investigation, a deep dive into what the hell?! mysticism, and the general appearance of aimlessness. Following an erratically scheduled second season, the bizarre boomtown of Twin Peaks went bust in 1991.

Now, after years of delays, due to wrangling over rights to the show's two-hour Lynch-directed pilot (which itself remains one of great artistic achievements in TV history), Paramount is bringing the entire Twin Peaks experience — the pilot, plus the first and second seasons — to DVD. Dubbed Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition (see the EW review), the 10-disc set is loaded with extras, including deleted scenes (a rarity for a Lynch-authorized DVD), the rarely-seen and truly spooky alternate ending to the pilot (created for a feature-film version that was released abroad), cast and writer episodic commentaries, and documentaries tracking the creation of the series and the unique phenomenon it sparked. Once again, Twin Peaks lives — and it's wrapped in plastic, no less. An excited Lynch recently spoke with EW.com about Twin Peaks from Milan, where he was exhibiting a collection of his paintings.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You know this is a dream come true for Peaks freaks, don't you?
DAVID LYNCH: Well, yeah, it's kind of a dream come true for me, too, because the pilot has never been included with the series [on DVD], and now it is.

When I interviewed you a couple years ago about the history of Twin Peaks, you told me at that time that you love the whole notion of an ongoing, never-ending story, and that's really what you had hoped to achieve with Twin Peaks.
A continuing story, right.

Why is that a ''beautiful thing,'' to use one of your favorite expressions?
Because you can go deeper and deeper into a world and discover more and more things. A feature film has an ending. A continuing story doesn't. Eventually it could, but it can just go and go and go, and if the ideas keep flowing, it can be pretty thrilling.

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