Was David Lynch’s failed television pilot turned critically lauded film Mulholland Drive originally conceived as a story for her Twin Peaks-character Audrey Home? That’s what Sherilynn Fenn, the actress who played the sultry ingénue for two years on the cult 1990s series told me this past weekend.
Fenn was a guest at the bi-annual Chiller Theatre convention in Parsippany, NJ, where I was able to have a brief chat with her. While discussing her non-involvement with the Twin Peaks movie Fire Walk With Me due to her working on the 1992 Steinbeck adaptation Of Mice And Men (“David was so upset!”) she let slip the following –
[Lynch] initially asked me to do Mulholland Drive, which he had written originally for Audrey. David wanted to do a movie between the first and second seasons and it was Audrey goes to Hollywood.
Unfortunately, the press of fans lined up for autographs behind me prevented me from following up with some of the dozen questions that were already starting to form. Did Lynch already have a script written or was this just the germ of a story idea he was just beginning to toy with? Could this have been one of the two other Twin Peaks film ideas that Lynch purported to have that were scotched by the box office failure of Fire Walk With Me?
Previously, we knew that Mulholland Drive started as a new television series that Lynch had pitched to ABC. The network greenlit a pilot, but decided after viewing it that it was a little too extreme and declined to go to series. Lynch took the pilot, shot some additinoal footage and reworked the ending, transforming it into a feature film.
But this puts the origins of Mulholland Drive at a period earlier than most have assumed before. And it does offer us a small glimpse into how an idea may percolate in David Lynch’s imagination until he feels it is the right time to bring them to life.