11:22am PT by Daniel Fienberg
TCA Winter Press Tour Day 5 Quotes: David Lynch and Donuts
David Lynch was a surprise guest Monday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour panel for Showtime's revival of Twin Peaks.
Normally, it wouldn't be surprising for a series' co-creator to come sell his show to critics. That's what the press tour is for. But Lynch famously plays by his own rules, so critics have seen exactly zero seconds of footage from the new season and were already anticipating an actors-only Twin Peaks panel in which nobody would be able to give any information at all.
Instead, Lynch appeared for one of the more distinctive Q&As in TCA history. For 15 minutes, he fielded questions and, like a avant garde filmmaking Muhammad Ali, he bobbed and weaved and leaned against the ropes. Sometimes he gave lengthy answers dodging questions. Sometimes he left single words standing alone as answers. The microphone whipped around the Langham Huntington hotel ballroom in Pasadena with reckless abandon as critics asked a record number of questions for a panel of such brevity.
Usually, evasive panels of this sort are frustrating and angering and suggest talent being annoyed at the imposition of facing questions, but Lynch actually seemed to be having a great time saying as little as possible. His short answers felt more like he was engaged in a game of speed chess with reporters than like an act of aggression. Lynch was playful, amused and cryptic in exactly the way you'd expect him to be. How dull would it have been if we'd walked away from a David Lynch panel with lots of, "David Lynch gives detailed spoilers and isn't quirky at all" stories? Exactly.
That's why, even though his presence was only 15 minutes out of a full day that included CBS and an assortment of other Showtime panels, Lynch will dominate my TCA Quotes of the Day column, which will be able to include many, many more quotes than usual, thanks to the Blue Velvet auteur.
*** Let it be said that it initially seemed as if Lynch was actually going to filibuster the entire panel, as he began his first answer, to a query about his working relationship with series co-creator Mark Frost, thusly:
"Well, in the beginning, many years ago, we were, Mark and I, as if lost in the wilderness, as it always is in the beginning, and then we seemed to find some mountain, and we begin to climb, and when we rounded the mountain, we entered a deep forest, and going through the forest for a time, the trees began to thin. And when we came out of the woods, we discovered this small town called Twin Peaks. And we got to know many of the people in Twin Peaks, and the people who visited Twin Peaks, and we discovered a mystery, and within this mystery were many other mysteries. And we discovered a world, and within this world, there were other worlds, and that’s how it started, and that’s what brought us here today. This story continues."
[Our full David Lynch panel coverage, including the nearly equally amusing, uninformative actors' Q&A.]
*** Showtime's David Nevins described the new Twin Peaks as "the pure heroin version of David Lynch," an idea I asked Lynch about. His response:
"I hear heroin is a very popular drug these days."
To clarify, I asked if this being the unadulterated version of Lynch meant that the earlier ABC version had been adulterated. He replied:
"I’ll tell you what I loved, the pilot of Twin Peaks. That, for me, set the tone, and made the world and the characters for me. That started the thing, and I felt really good about that mood and that story, those characters. Just fell in love, deep, deep love."
*** "Always, we’re filled with doubts." — Lynch on whether he had doubts about returning to the Twin Peaks world.
*** On whether he remembers the catalyst that made him become a filmmaker: "No, I don't. I only wanted to be a painter, and I got into film because I wanted to make paintings move, and one thing led to another. I’ve been so lucky. I got green lights all along the way, so go figure. Just very, very lucky."
*** Why was Laura Dern somebody he wanted to bring onto Twin Peaks?
"I love Laura Dern."
[Note that these are all full answers.]
*** Are the events of Fire Walk With Me important to the new episodes?
"I could say it’s the story of Laura Palmer’s last seven days. Very much important for this."
That's actually real news that came out of the panel.
*** Is any part of him disappointed that Mulholland Dr. became a feature instead of the TV series it began life as? "It was destined to be a feature film," he responded.
*** Let's get to some other quotes, including The Good Fight co-creator Robert King explaining why even though the Good Wife spinoff included one f-bomb in its teaser reel, the show isn't going to overdo the swearing.
"[W]e've been watching on cable, and sometimes cable seems to take as a badge of honor that it can say 'f—' and that it’s a version of branding," said King. "We just kind of wanted to avoid just that because sometimes it’s an unrealistic amount of 'f—s' in shows. It’s kind of weird. It’s kind of like a character who never said 'f–' in one episode, and the next episode, it’s like, 'Okay. Do a cable polish.' And then, 'I know how to put cable polish. I’ll just keep pushing the macro that says "f—."' So we didn’t want to do that. But we kind of wanted the frankness of sexuality. As Michelle [King] said, it’s sometimes hard to have a character say 'friggin'' when you know they want to say 'f—in’.' So there you go."
[Our full The Good Fight panel coverage.]
*** Let's stick with the loosely profane, as Jermaine Fowler weighed on on whether the cast eats the donuts that are in the background on the set of CBS' Superior Donuts.
"We eat the shit out of those donuts."
The actor later clarified, "I love donuts, but only the glazed ones. The rest of them, I can’t deal with the sprinkles. That’s too much crap. But I’ll do glazed, and that’s about it."
Now you know.
[Our full Superior Donuts panel coverage.]
*** Pay close attention to Paul Giamatti's facial hair on Billions this season.
Or so Giamatti claims.
"Chuck has different facial hair this year," the actor said of his character. We laughed. He continued. "And I think it’s metaphorical. I think it’s symbolic of the change inside. Actually, I do. I think that’s true for my character, too, that vulnerabilities have been revealed largely because of what my wife does, which is kick me to the curb, and so that shakes me in a lot of ways. There’s definitely things exposed in him. He’s hit by Axelrod [Damian Lewis' character] with something that also throws him back on his heels, so he’s really vulnerable in lots of ways, professionally and personally, and he makes a decision that he changes in some ways by intensifying. You asked if they intensify or they change, and he changes by intensifying, but he channels his energy in a different way. If I may, I’m going to use a phrase Damian’s become very fond of me saying today, but it was coined by [Billions co-star] Toby Leonard Moore, that my character, and I think in some ways the show, is less Mussolini and more Machiavelli. So it’s less this kind of brawler, and it’s more kind of like a scalpel — hence the different facial hair."
[Our full Billions panel coverage.]
*** Jim Carrey is an executive producer on Showtime's 1970s-set stand-up dramedy I'm Dying Up Here, but the series hasn't inspired him to get back into the stand-up game himself.
"I’m in the process of shedding layers of persona at this time in my life," he explained. "So I’m very happy to be here for these guys and watch these guys, you know, kind of enter this world and create these characters that are looking to, as you said, create a cadence and a persona and something that will draw people’s attention to them and the work that they will do and the triumphs that they will have. And then, somewhere around Episode 40, I think they will start to question it and go, 'Oh, wow, that’s not actually me,' and they’ll start to strip it away, which is what I’m in the process of doing."
At an I'm Dying Up Here TCA comedy showcase later on Monday, Carrey introduced castmember Al Madrigal's stand-up set with a few seconds of Carrey-esque voices and faces, but continued to resist calls to do anything more involved at the mic.
[Our full I'm Dying Up Here panel coverage.]
Stay tuned for lots and lots of ABC stuff tomorrow.