Hollywood Flashback: When David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Movie Was Booed at Cannes
In 1992, 'Fire Walk With Me' — the filmmaker's big-screen sequel to his quirky series, whose reboot is getting a gala screening May 25 — premiered at the festival.
The Hollywood Reporter was a huge fan of Twin Peaks when it aired in 1990. The paper's review called David Lynch's serial drama "a provocative, stunningly photographed piece of storytelling" that was "television at its best." Where THR might have gone a bit over the top was when it said the ABC show's ratings were so good, it "creamed NBC's first installation of the Jesus of Nazareth special."
But Peaks inspired that kind of enthusiasm. Lynch's show focused on FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), who is sent to fictional Twin Peaks, Washington, to investigate the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).
But that's just the barest skeletal structure. Peaks also was about scrumptious cherry pie, large trees, dancing dwarves, extra-dimensional realms, the Meals on Wheels program and freshly cut lumber. After the show's two-year run, Lynch went on to direct the theatrical release Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which THR didn't love nearly as much. "David Lynch probably should have let Laura Palmer stay dead" was the review's opening line. The film was a box-office dud in the United States, but it did exceptionally well in Japan — where Lynch made some extra cash directing commercials for Georgia brand canned coffee that featured Agent Cooper saying, "This is damn fine coffee."
Fire Walk With Me also was booed at Cannes in 1992, a far less magnanimous reception for Lynch than in 1990, when he won the Palme d'Or for Wild at Heart. In 2002, he was jury president there, and at this year's festival, Showtime's 18-part Twin Peaks revival will have a gala screening on May 25. "The premiere should be interesting," says Peaks co-star Cornelia Guest, who appears in the reboot. "I don't think anyone in the cast knows the whole plot. It's just floating around in David's magical mind."
This story first appeared in the May 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.