So did I say that we’d be getting to Part Two of Alan Moore’s Twilight of the Super Heroes this week?
Well, uhm… There was this holiday thing, see, and… I caught a cold, and… I wanted to spend time with my family, and… Yeah. Yeah, that ain’t happening now. But, so as not to leave you with nothing for the holidays… Here’s another installment of Twin Peaks Re-Watch!
(Which, yes, I already had written because I was sharing it with friends on social media.)
This time around, because the Season Three blu-ray set’s out, we’re flashing forward to cover The Man With the Grey Elevated Hair…
…the behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the entire production of season three, beginning to end. TENRANDOMOBSERVATIONSAREGO!!
1. This is an enormous amount of footage. I put the Special Features disc in thinking it would be maybe an hour or two. Three hours later, I realized that I was only a little past the halfway point (it’s about five hours total). It’s entertaining stuff, though. The documentary is split up into multiple bite-sized chunks, with the throughline of an unseen narrator from… The past? The future? Another dimension? Who watches Lynch (the man of the title) as he works. It’s put together in a manner appropriate to Lynch, too, with droning music and appropriately disconcerting time-jumps that pay off down the line. I almost wish I’d watched it weekly, just like I did the series. As it is, I’ll probably sit down and revisit it once I’m done watching the series all over again. Just because.
2. On set, Lynch comes off like some kind of strange dreamy wizard, at turns nurturing, demanding, and intense. I’m especially fascinated watching him work with his actors. He speaks to each of them personally, no matter how small their part, trying to help them visualize the scene, and works with them to build the character and the moment, sometimes whispering, as if he’s sharing a secret. Often, I get the sense that he is.
3. The production staff seems to simultaneously love Lynch, and find him exasperating. They’re all very devoted to him, though some of them clearly think he’s insane. There’s one very practical man around, for instance, who seems to be in charge of overseeing the day-to-day realities of filmmaking. He and Lynch argue. A lot.
4. Lynch With Actor Moment: Lynch’s attention to detail is so intense that he even takes time to explain to The Man Who Discovers That He Loves Green Tea Lattes…
…exactly what a revelation this is to him. This takes longer than the scene itself.
5. Cut to scene of Lynch deep in thought, lips pursed, brow furrowed, hand over eyes. He looks up. “Do we have some… like… a dozen eggs? And some creamed corn?” Turns out it’s an issue of set dressing.
6. But speaking of set dressing… Lynch is also very hands-on with the physical appearance of his sets. He has a vision, and does his best to convey it to his crew. But sometimes, he just gets down and does it himself. On these occasions, he’s often seen wearing shirts and pants with the elbows and knees worn out, presumably from all the kneeling and leaning he does to create physical art. He becomes increasingly rumpled as this long season three shoot goes on, but these scenes with him in his “work clothes” are really charming, for reasons I can’t entirely explain.
7. HOLY CRAP THE STORY OF HOW AL STROBEL (Mike the One-Armed Man) LOST HIS ARM! He was sixteen. Driving too fast. Black ice. Flipped the car. Thrown clear and wound up in a tree. He fell out into somebody’s yard and only then realized that the top of his skull had cracked open and was hanging off the back of his head. He reached up with his one remaining arm and flipped it back into place. The accident severed nerve endings at his spinal column, and ever since he has felt the constant phantom sensation that HIS MISSING ARM HAS BEEN SUBMERGED IN A POT OF BOILING OIL. Eventually, he says, you get used to it. But it never goes away.
8. Lynch With Actor Moment: I think they show him working with every single child actor in the show. And I understand why: depending on the scene and the child’s age, he comes off as either a big brother, an encouraging grandpa, or (in the case of a couple of very young kids whose attention is wandering) an increasingly exasperated dad.
9. Kyle MacLachlan is the epitome of a leading man. Friendly, approachable, cool, keeps the on-set mood light, allows Lynch to call him Kale as a private joke… He’s pretty much up for anything, too. That scene where the floor of the Lodge starts moving under his feet, and he plunges into the water when it finally opens up and swallows him whole? That’s all MacLachlan. Done live on-camera, with practical effects. Even the stuff where they’re just shooting his feet. Assistant: “Isn’t that dangerous?” Lynch: “He can do it! Kale’s a magician!” And he really kind of is.
10. As the production wears on, the long shoot obviously tires Lynch. He gets increasingly cranky over practical details, and the “rules” of filmmaking. There’s a point very late in the game when he gets genuinely angry over his assistants constantly bugging him about shooting close-ups to break up longer scenes. Finally, he just shouts, “Who gives a flyin’ fuck how long a scene is?!” This explains a lot about Season Three…