‘Twin Peaks’ Co-Creator Mark Frost On Showtime Limited Series: How It Happened, Who Will Be Back – Q&A
by Nellie Andreeva
6 October 2014
David Lynch had publicly vowed that the book on Twin Peaks had been closed forever. Now he is revisiting the cult ABC supernatural mystery drama with a new nine-episode limited series on Showtime, set to debut in 2016. Lynch and fellow Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost will co-write all episodes, with Lynch set to direct each of them. In an interview with Deadline, Frost talks about how the two of them changed their minds and decided to do a new installment that picks up the Twin Peaks story 25 years later. In his usual guarded fashion, he sheds some light on the premise and addresses questions about who of the famous Twin Peaks faces in front and behind the camera would be back and what questions from the original series would be answered.
DEADLINE: David Lynch had said that we had seen the last of Twin Peaks. When did that change, and how did the new series come together?
FROST: It was something I guess we had to leave alone for a while. David and I stayed good friends over the years, we’d see each other every now and then. When the gold box DVD set came out in 2007, that’s when I think we both started thinking separately about it. And then about three years ago — we meet for lunch once in awhile, often at Musso and Frank just because we both like old Hollywood stuff — we just found ourselves talking over lunch and some ideas popped up about the show. So many people had enjoyed the gold box set. We found ourselves drifting back to that town, realizing that there were more things we wanted to know about it. And everything flew from that point forward. That was I think three years ago in August.
DEADLINE: The series is still called Twin Peaks. Will it be set in Twin Peaks?
FROST: It’s safe to say that things will happen in Twin Peaks that you’ll see. Not necessarily all will be there but yeah, we are going to call it Twin Peaks, so I think that speaks for itself.
DEADLINE: Which characters from the original series will make a return?
FROST: I think the fans would like to see and we would like to see as many of the old familiar faces as possible and a lot of new faces as well. We are going to keep that in mind as we start to work and hopefully everybody’s story will get some attention.
DEADLINE: What about Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Cooper who was at the heart of the ABC series?
FROST: We hope to have more to say about that soon. I think you’ll have the answer to that sooner rather than later.
DEADLINE: The original series ended with a cliffhanger. Will we find out what happened to Agent Cooper in the woods?
FROST: One of the things we always did when talking about the series is, we didn’t tell people what to think about it or say that there was one definite way to interpret anything. We always felt it was best to let the story speak for itself and also let the intelligence of the viewer contribute to what they thought was going on. So I never like to answer questions too specifically, David is sort of the same way. Having said that, I think there will be a lot of things that people have wanted to know over the years that if they pay close attention, they are going to be satisfied.
DEADLINE: Will the limited series revisit the Laura Palmer murder or that case is closed?
FROST: I think you can safely say that the mystery in Twin Peaks as we started to explore more is very large, there are many aspects to it and the hope is that people will find things that they are interested in in all sorts of things related to the larger mystery. And that will include all the storylines we’ve dealt with up until now.
DEADLINE: Will there be a crime, a new case at the center of the series?
FROST: There will be a very strong central storyline.
DEADLINE: Is the limited series close to what you and David envisioned as a third season of the ABC series or this is a brand new storyline?
FROST: We realized we were talking about the third season so long ago, when we actually sat down to start thinking about (the limited series), there were some things we thought we thought back then but if you put me in court I’m not sure I’ll be able to testify to it. Everything we are talking about feels very fresh and very right given where we’ve been, I’ll put it that way.
DEADLINE: Angelo Badalamenti’s music was such a key part of the original series. Will he be back and will he write new music for the limited series?
FROST: I can’t confirm that yet, I’d have to talk to David and see if he feels confident about that.
DEADLINE: How did the project end up at Showtime?
FROST: We had a really good feeling about Showtime from the very beginning. (EVP Original Programming) Gary Levine, who is the second in command there, was actually the ABC executive in charge of the show when we did it 25 years ago. (President) David Nevins was a big fan of the show, we had a great meeting with them, and David Lynch loved the artwork that David Nevins had in his office, that seemed to get him excited. We feel it’s the perfect home for the show now, and we’re very happy to be there.
DEADLINE: Are you surprised by how lasting the show’s popularity has been?
FROST: For that, we just have to be express our gratitude to the fans who have been so incredibly passionate and tenacious about the show over the years. When you are sitting down to do work, you don’t really ever think about what kind of impact it might have, at least we didn’t. You just try to do the best of what’s in front of you. The fact that this is still alive and kicking 25 years later is a great joy for everybody involved in it, and I’m just glad we are able to bring something back to the people who really have been the most instrumental in keeping it alive all this time.
DEADLINE: Is the limited series definitely the end of the Twin Peaks franchise or you would be open for more?
FROST: That’s sort of what we thought the last time, and look what happened. I wouldn’t think it will take us 25 years to decide the next time around — I hope it wouldn’t because it would be a lot harder to do the work then — but I think anything’s possible to be honest, given that this is happening.
If you’re a fan of “Twin Peaks,” you might want to pour yourself a cup of damn good coffee and have a seat: that influential and utterly surreal murder mystery, which aired on ABC in 1990-1991, will be revived by its creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, as a limited series for Showtime, the cable network said on Monday.
When it made its debut in April 1990, “Twin Peaks” was the first foray into scripted series television from Mr. Lynch, the director of films like “Blue Velvet” and “Eraserhead,” pairing him with Mr. Frost, a writer of “Hill Street Blues” and “The Equalizer.” The series introduced viewers to Special Agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan) who arrives in fictional Twin Peaks, Wash., to solve the murder of Laura Palmer, and meets a world of probable suspects and dreamlike characters, including a dwarf who gives him clues in his dreams, and a lady with a special connection to her log.
The “Twin Peaks” pilot was watched by more than 34 million viewers, though the murder of Laura Palmer was not solved until the show’s second season, at which point it was drawing around 10 million viewers an episode.
Showtime said on Monday that its “Twin Peaks” revival will consist of nine episodes to be shown in 2016. These episodes will be written and produced by Mr. Lynch and Mr. Frost, and will be directed by Mr. Lynch. Showtime also said it will re-air the original seasons of “Twin Peaks” before broadcasting the new episodes.
David Nevins, the president of Showtime Networks, said in a statement, “To quote Agent Cooper, ‘I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.’”
Updated, 1:29 p.m. | Mr. Frost said in a telephone interview on Monday that he and Mr. Lynch began to seriously contemplate the idea of revisiting “Twin Peaks” about three years ago, prompted by an ominous scene in which the Laura Palmer character declares, “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
“That suddenly seemed like an entry point,” Mr. Frost said. “Everything flowed from there.”
Mr. Frost said that discussions with the original “Twin Peaks” cast members would begin soon, adding that “we’re hopeful that as many people as possible would love to come back,” and that writing on the new episodes had already started.
Mr. Frost said it would be “utter folly” to expect him to disclose any details from these new episodes. (“Lynch probably has a sniper in a distant window trained on me at this moment,” he said.) He added that their goal was “not just cranking out more sausages here,” but finding “a way to top ourselves in every possible way.”
Regarding the original ABC run of “Twin Peaks,” Mr. Frost said: “There was always a sense that we were slightly handcuffed by the network restrictions of the time and place. Obviously, all that will be gone. We’re really free to do and go wherever we see fit.”
Updated, 3:48 p.m. | Mr. MacLachlan appeared to express interest in the project in a tweet on Monday:
What happened to Dale Cooper? Does Audrey Horne have kids now? With the return of the cult show, David Lynch has a chance to answer all our questions
We live in an age where every show threatens to return, like one of the corpses on The Walking Dead just lying there until it is hit by a spark and lurches up again, whether we want it to or not.
Finally, it’s happened to Twin Peaks, the beloved ABC show that took forever to solve the murder of Laura Palmer using dancing dwarfs, creepy giants, and an FBI investigator who wasn’t afraid to investigate the darkness inside all of us. The show will return to Showtime in 2016 for a nine-episode limited engagement to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its cancellation. Original writer Mark Frost will write all the episodes and co-creator David Lynch will direct all of them. In typical Twin Peaks fashion, the announcement was made official with a really creepy and cryptic teaser video.
With so many TV shows making well-publicized returns, what’s different about Twin Peaks? Allow me to explain.
We’ve waited long enough: It has been 25 long years since Twin Peaks was cancelled in its second season after a precipitous drop off in both viewers and quality. (It didn’t help that ABC shuttled the program off to the dead zone of Saturday nights either.) Since then the whole TV landscape has changed to be more accommodating to the show. Also leaving a generation-wide gap in seasons is an interesting proposition from a story perspective. What happened to all the citizens of Twin Peaks that we met as teens? How have their lives changed and what are they up to now? This gives Lynch and Frost an excuse to investigate middle age in a small town, as well as introduce us to Audrey Horne’s (Sherilyn Fenn) kids (she’s sure to have them) and see how they might have been influenced by the dark creatures of the Black Lodge.“
This is auteur television done right: When Twin Peaks debuted in 1990 no one even realized it was ushering in the “golden age of television” we hear so much about. This was really the first time that a marquee director decided to make a television show and it was as weird, weird, weird, weird, weird as it wanted to be. Now that anthology shows like True Detective are the hottest trend and directors like Jane Campion are making shows like Top of the Lake (about a missing teenage girl rather than a dead one), Lynch will be right where he meant to be all along. Also the show started to suffer when Lynch moved on to other projects so knowing he will be there for the entire series is promising. Every prestige show that has a rural setting or a sense of dread (think The Killing) is inevitably compared to Twin Peaks. It will be exciting to see if Lynch can take his vision even farther and influence the next 25 years of television as well.
Finally, some answers: What, exactly happened to FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in that final scene of Twin Peaks when he looks in the mirror? What did Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) mean when she told Cooper that she would see him again in 25 years? Did Lynch plan this all along? And what has Lara Flynn Boyle been up to? And can Peggy Lipton get her daughter Rashida Jones to appear in an episode? There are so many wonderful questions to be answered.
It can be as crazy as it wants to be: Twin Peaks was groundbreaking for network television and, compared to what is on cable these days, it’s incredibly tame. When looking at the gore and sexuality of Fire Walk with Me, the prequel movie Lynch made after the show was cancelled, that appeared to be more in line with his original vision of what Twin Peaks could be. Now that it will air on Showtime, it can be as bloody, as dirty, as curse-laden as Lynch would like. Also, the show has such an incredible reputation now that I hope that the suits at Showtime will lay off and let Lynch do his thing. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of brilliance in that freedom.
We get to rewatch the original: The best thing about new Twin Peaks is we get to enjoy the brilliance of the original Twin Peaks all over again. This time we also get to do it with the internet and the recaps, fan chatter, and rampant speculation will only heighten the delight of reinvesting in the original and exploring the new season. Finding it is easier than ever (RIP the VHS copies ripped from ABC live airings). There’s a Blu-Ray set that was just released this summer (do people still watch Blu-Ray?) and for easy access, both seasons are streaming on Netflix. Now you have no excuse not to watch.