David Lynch: The Unexpected Story Behind 'Twin Peaks' Villain Casting

The following is an excerpt from Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity: 10th Anniversary Edition by David Lynch (TarcherPerigee, 2016):


Ideas come along in the strangest way when you just pay attention. And sometimes things happen on the set that make you start dreaming. 

When we were shooting the pilot for Twin Peaks, we had a set dresser named Frank Silva. Frank was never destined to be in Twin Peaks, never in a million years. But we were shooting in Laura Palmer’s home and Frank was moving some furniture around in her room. I was in the hall, underneath a fan. And a woman said, “Frank, don’t move that dresser in front of the door like that. Don’t lock yourself in the room.” 

And this picture came to me of Frank in the room. I went running in and I asked Frank, “Are you an actor?” And he said, “Well, yes, I happen to be,” because everyone in L.A. is an actor. And maybe everyone in the world. So I said, “Frank, you’re going to be in this scene.” 

We did a pan shot of the room, twice without Frank and then one time with Frank frozen at the base of the bed. But I didn’t know what it was for or what it meant. 

That evening, we went downstairs and we were shooting Laura Palmer’s mother on the couch. She was lying there in sadness and torment. Suddenly she sees something in her mind’s eye and bolts upright, screaming. Sean, the camera operator, had to turn the wheels and follow her face as she bolted up. And it looked to me like he did a perfect job. So I said, “Cut—perfect, beautiful!” And Sean said, “No, no, no. It’s not.” 

“What is it?” 

“There was someone reflected in the mirror.” 

“Who was reflected in the mirror?” 

“Frank was reflected in the mirror.” 

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So things like this happen and make you start dreaming. And one thing leads to another, and if you let it, a whole other thing opens up. 

This has been an excerpt from Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity: 10th Anniversary Edition by David Lynch. © 2017 by David Lynch. TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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