OUR INTERVIEW WITH MADCHEN AMICK
By Crash redaction
After an interval of twenty-five years, David Lynch’s legendary and groundbreaking TV series Twin Peaks is making its grand return, with the first two episodes of the reboot set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. American actress Mädchen Amick plays a lead role in the new third season. She tells us about meeting David Lynch and her first experiences with the show in the 1990s.
Tell us about yourself and where you come from…
I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. I studied different art forms as a child, such as music, dance, and painting. I left home in 1987, at the age of 16, to pursue my dream of becoming a film actress. I have always been a very driven person, which I feel has attributed to the success of me working consistently in film and television these past 30 years.
You have a distinguished career, most of it in TV series such as Mad Men, Gossip Girl, or American Horror Story, just to name a few. Can you explain your choice of focusing on TV series? What does it offer that the film industry doesn’t?
My deep love is still for independent films. There’s just a raw and very real quality to that style of filmmaking. And I hope that we continue to support them. But my next favorite, is streaming and cable television such as HBO, Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon. It offers a longer story arc opportunity and a more cinematic feel. There’s a lot of inspiring work being done in that format.
The new season of Twin Peaks directed by David Lynch is scheduled for release this May. How did you react when they told you that season 3 was confirmed?
I was absolutely shocked! I had heard rumors about it returning for decades, but had been in complete denial about it ever actually happening. I just didn’t feel that it could be done right on network television. It was lightning in a bottle back when it originally aired. But when David Lynch and Mark Frost announced that it was coming back and it was going to be on Showtime, I was so excited and happy that it would have just the right home to embrace the brilliance of Lynch’s vision.
How did you meet Lynch and have the opportunity to be part of this production? Are you two close? Is he as mysterious as people say?
I met Lynch back in 1989 when the wonderful casting director, Johanna Ray, brought me in to read for him. I was in the middle of shooting the pilot for Baywatch, who wanted to add me to their permanent cast, but I just didn’t feel that I was a good fit for that show. I really wanted to work on more dramatic projects. So when Lynch surprised me and came right out in that first audition to ask me if I wanted to do a TV show with him, I simply said yes. As I always do. He is not only a wonderful mentor, but has become a great friend. I don’t find him mysterious at all. He’s just a big love-bug in my eyes. He is the sweetest and most generous man to those around him.
Twin Peaks was and still is revolutionary in terms of creativity! How did you see it back then and what do you think about it now, after all those years and the different film experiences you had? We can say it’s one of a kind…
It shattered the mold of television back when it aired. It proved that audiences were hungry for intelligent and risk-taking storytelling. I knew that David Lynch on television would be something very special. I just didn’t know that it would become so successful, so quickly. And the fact that it has stayed relevant all these years later, just proves how brilliantly ahead of the times Lynch and Frost were.
How did David Lynch and Mark Frost come up with the idea for the story? Was it filmed chronologically?
I’m not sure of the back story of how David Lynch and Mark Frost teamed up and came up with the concept of Twin Peaks. We filmed the original episodes in chronological order.
What’s different about filming the upcoming new season? What it shot at the same place?
I’m not able to talk about our filming locations in the new series. But I can say that Lynch and Frost wrote and filmed it as one long film and that it will be cut up into hours to air on Showtime.
After 25 years, was it easy to get back into your character of Shelly Johnson? Did you and the other actors have freedom in terms of interpretation? With the new season, too?
I debated whether I wanted to rewatch the original series before returning to the character. In the end, I decided not to. I felt that Shelly would still be very present in my memory. It’s been 25 years, Shelly has changed and matured, as have I. My experience has always been that David is very collaborative with actors and their interpretation of the characters they play.
Is the new season a continuation of the last one? In the last episode of season 2, FBI agent Dale Cooper’s spirit is trapped by the villain “spirit” Bob… Is Kyle MacLachlan – who played Dale Cooper – returning? As well as the other original cast members like Bobby, Audrey, Norma, and the rest?
I have been told that this will be 25 years from when we last saw the town of Twin Peaks. I’m not able to answer the question regarding any other characters.
The first two episodes of this new season will premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Do you think TV series are now acknowledged by the cinema industry?
I feel like the reason Twin Peaks is being acknowledged at Cannes is more of a celebration of the beautiful cinematic work that David Lynch creates. His filmmaking transcends the usual rules of cinema and television. I feel that he should be given his own category. Well, okay maybe he already has… “Lynchian.”
Interview by Anna Ceravolo.