25 Facts About Twin Peaks That Might Surprise You
After waiting more than 25 years, we’re just one month away, Twin Peaks fans.
The highly anticipated revival of the iconic ABC series, which debuted in 1990, is set to premiere Sunday, May 21 on Showtime, meaning we’re so damn close to the return of Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), endless slices of pie and a few damn good cups of coffee.
To kick off the final countdown to the 18-episode third season, written and executive produced by series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, we’ve assembled 25 facts about Twin Peaks that might surprise you…
1. The original title of the show was North Dakota, with Frost explaining, “Long before we moved into the Pacific Northwest, we were playing around with this idea of the plains and a place far away from the world. But what we really lacked was that sense of mystery in the forest and the darkness that moving a little further west had.”
2. Lynch came up with the name Dale Cooper as a nod to D.B. Cooper, the epithet that was used to describe an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in 1971.
3. On set, Lynch called MacLachlan “Kale,” and still calls him this nickname.
4. The character of Audrey Horne was written specifically for Sherilyn Fenn by Lynch. “He met a certain number of people in my age range, maybe a little younger, and he talks to you for a while,” she told The A.V. Club. “It was the first time I’d ever actually been myself in an interview and tried to just be open. But it went great, and they called and said, ‘Yeah, he’s writing you this role!'”
5. The role of waitress Shelly Johnson was also written for Madchen Amick, who revealed she originally auditioned for Donna. “I didn’t know this then, they wrote the part for me.,” she said. “It didn’t exist before I went in.”
6. Sheriff Harry S. Truman’s name in the original script was Daniel “Dan” Steadman.
7. The one major issue Standards and Practices had with the original two-hour pilot? The scene where Agent Cooper extracts a clue from underneath Laura’s fingernail. They wanted the scene to be shortened, but Lynch refused.
8. Lynch first had the idea of Log Lady, the iconic side-character, in the ’70s, Catherine Coulson (who passed away in 2015) once revealed. Friends for years since working together on Eraserhead, she recalled him telling her she would one day play a Log Lady on TV. “I said, ‘Sure,'” Coulson said.
9. Dana Ashbrook helped establish the look for his character, Bobby Briggs. “My leather jacket was an add-on,” he said. “Initially I was supposed to wear a letterman jacket, but I remember going to college party and seeing a fight break out between two groups and the head honcho jock had a leather jacket on with his letter sewn onto it. It makes Bobby edgy, a football hero on the wrong track.
10. Due to budget issues, casting looked to hire a local Seattle actress for the role of Laura Palmer, who would be cast to basically play dead for an episode. But Lynch ended up finding Sheryl Lee so “powerful,” that she became a semi-regular, and ended up playing Maddy Ferguson, Laura’s cousin, on a recurring basis.
11. Blue Velvet star Isabella Rossellini was originally set to play Giovanna Packard, but after she dropped out, the character became Josie Packard, with Joan Chen taking over the role.
12. The pilot, which aired as a two-hour movie, attracted 34.6 million viewers, the highest-rated TV movie of the year.
13. While the writers fully intended to explore a romance between Agent Cooper and Audrey, real-life drama squashed their relationship before it began as Lara Flynn Boyle was dating MacLachlan at the time. “That was in fact where we were going. When we got there, we had a little bit of a problem with our cast, and without getting too gossipy about it, somebody in the cast was involved with somebody else,” Frost revealed. “They were not thrilled with the idea of the somebody else having love scenes with a third somebody else. She kind of turned the screws and put the kibosh on it.”
14. Fenn confirmed the story, saying, “They had to stop it because…people got mad and jealous and… it was just stupid.”
15. While Lynch and Frost never intended to reveal Laura Palmer’s killer, they were pressured into doing so by the network. “They wanted it resolved by the end of the first season and we resisted that, ” Frost said. The duo knew early on who the killer was, but didn’t tell anyone. “We knew, but we didn’t even hardly whisper it when we were working,” Lynch told Chris Rodley. “We tried to keep it out of our conscious mind.”
16. To avoid revealing the fate of Catherine Martell after the mill fire, Piper Laurie revealed in her autobiography that the producers came up with a plan to have her in costume as her Japanese businessman character, complete with prosthetic makeup. The cast and crew were told it was a Japanese actor named Fumio Yamaguchi who didn’t speak English.
17. To prevent the identity of the killer being spoiled, an alternative scene of Maddy’s murder was also filmed with Ben Horne as the killer.
18. Ray Wise did not know Leland was the killer until he filmed the murder scene of Maddy, and he wasn’t happy his character turned out to have murdered his own daughter. “I did not want it to be me,” he said. “The whole idea of killing my own daughter was very distasteful to me. I had just had a little daughter of my own—she was only a couple of years old—and then Sheryl Lee, who played Laura, gave me a little picture of herself in the fourth grade that I kept in my wallet all the time I played Leland. So I found it all very disturbing when I learned it was me.”
19. To tease the huge reveal in season two’s seventh episode, ABC placed ads in newspapers that read, “Finally. Saturday, November 10th. Find out who killed Laura Palmer. Really.”
20. The idea for the entity of Bob was basically an accident, as Lynch filmed the infamous shot of Frank Silva, a set decorator, hiding behind Laura’s bed. Not sure what he was going to do with it, he later noticed Silva’s reflection was visible in a shot of Sarah Palmer, Laura’s mother, screaming. From there, the mythology of Bob was born.
21. “I’ll see you again in 25 years,” a spirit that looks like Laura told Agent Cooper in the series finale, which aired on June 10, 1991. On October 6, 2014, Lynch announced the revival was officially happening, with the original intention of it premiering 25 years after the final episode. (It ended up being 26 years later, but the show will pick up 25 years after Laura Palmer’s death.)
22. The Sopranos’ David Chase, Bates Motel’s Carlton Cuse, The X-Files’ Chris Carter have all cited Twin Peaks as inspiration.
23. A third season almost happened, according to Frost. “We came very close to doing a third season and it was only at the last minute that ABC got cold feet and decided not to pursue it,” Frost revealed. “We had a lot of ideas laid out for where it might’ve gone.”
24. A spinoff was also briefly discussed, with the idea originally becoming the inspiration for Lynch’s film Mulholland Drive. Fenn revealed there was early talks about an Audrey spinoff, that would follow the fan-favorite character to California, which “really ended up being the original idea for Mulholland Drive. That was either in between the first and second season or after the second season, but they were like, ‘What if we did a movie, and it’s Audrey in California?'”
25. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, a prequel film, was released in 1992, and debuted at the Cannes Film Festival…where it was booed by the audience.
Twin Peaks returns on May, 21 on Showtime.