Sunday, October 10, 2010

Celebrating 20 Years of Twin Peaks

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Twin Peaks, arguably the single greatest series in the history of broadcast television. So when I heard that a cast reunion was being scheduled in Burbank for this weekend, I decided it was worth making a special trip down to check things out.

The first major player to arrive was Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), who I had autograph my Boxing Helena one-sheet. She was extremely sweet, and still looks great. The film was directed by David Lynch's daughter Jennifer, who was also in attendance, so I naturally had her sign it as well.

Most of the cast members are looking surprisingly good, considering it's been 20 years, and obviously those who played the high school kids tend to have changed the most. Seeing Bobby Briggs and Harold Smith with gray hair was a bit of a shock. 

Other attendees included Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings), Chris Mulkey (Hank Jennings), Walter Olkewicz (Jacques Renault), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Connie Woods (the 'new' girl at One-Eyed Jacks), Lenny von Dohlen (Harold Smith), Russ Tamblyn (Dr. Jacoby), Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs), Kimmy Robertson (Lucy Moran), James Marshall (James Hurley), and Catherine Coulson (the Log Lady), and yes, the Log (itself).

I talked to Ray Wise briefly—prior to the second season of the show you'd expect him to be the nicest guy, but after we found out more about his character it's hard to look at him and not see a devilish streak. Great actor, and fortunately a very nice guy in person.
I also spoke with Russ Tamblyn and picked up a signed photo from The Haunting, one of the two films he did for director Robert Wise (the other being West Side Story, in which he starred opposite fellow Twin Peaks alum Richard Beymer).

But the highlight of the trip, and the deciding factor in my actually making the flight, was the opportunity to meet Sheryl Lee, who portrayed Laura Palmer in the show. When you consider her initial role in the series was playing the corpse of Laura Palmer, you wouldn't think that she would have a chance to leave such an indelible mark. She shined as Laura's cousin Maddie in the television series, although it wasn't until the prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, that she really blew me away. Regulars at The Slaughtered Lamb Cinema know that's one of my all time favorite films, as evidenced by its inclusion in our 40 Years, 40 Movies series earlier this year.

It was a great honor to be first in line when Sheryl arrived, and to be able to tell her that I thought she gave an amazing, layered performance in the film. The range she exhibits is truly amazing, from playful to tortured (psychologically - not to mention physically) to terrified. She seemed genuinely touched by the sentiment, as I think she realized that I really meant it. I can't think of a better performance, particularly in such a demanding role.

I had Sheryl sign my Fire Walk With Me one-sheet as well as my hardcover copy of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer. As that book was actually written by Jennifer Lynch, I had her sign it as well. In addition to signing it, she actually added me to the book... forever linking me to Laura Palmer.
It was a great trip, and my only regret was not staying through Sunday so as to get to spend a litle more time chatting up the cast members (as I expect the crowds had thinned considerably compared to Saturday).

All in all, 2010 will go down as a great year for meeting some truly inspirational people.