There are certain times in everyone’s life that you step back and say, “Wow, this is pretty cool.” And when I’m old and putzing around my garden picking tomatoes and the new neighbors that moved in months ago peep over the fence to see if I need a hand I’ll probably bore then about how I got to work with David Lynch once. I wasn’t a big David Lynch fan before the show but I had some friends that completely geeked out when I told them I was going to be on Twin Peaks. Here are a few highlights…
I ask the site manager at base camp when we would be going to set and she replied, “When David is done meditating”. Immediately I was like, “This dude is baller!” We get to set an hour or so later while they were setting up for my first scene the second AD asks me if I’ve met David yet? I hadn’t and we walked over to meet him. He was standing by the limo I was going to be driving and he turned around with a giant smile, “David this is Jay.” The second AD said. He reached out his hand to shake, “Ah, our limo driver!” The man beamed! He then proceeded to give me direction for every scene I would be doing, not that day but for every day I would be shooting. I couldn’t believe he had it all in his head. I mean the script was 500 pages!!! The first AD comes over and goes, “You ever drive a limo before?” At this point I’m wondering, am I gonna lose this part if I say no? SO I say, “No I haven’t.” The first AD sighs and looks at David, “Let’s get a stunt to drive it.” I immediately jumped in, “I can drive it, are you kidding me, I could drive an eighteen wheeler.” David looked at me and then the first AD, “See he can drive it.” That was the moment I knew, “David Lynch is the shit!!!” He was jumping in as if we were two 11 year olds trying to get our parents to let us have a sleep over.
On the first scene I was driving Kyle MacLachlan around. But there wasn’t enough room in the limo for the DP, Kyle and David Lynch so it was just Lynch and the DP. I drove around giving my lines in the rear view mirror to David Lynch. I park the car in front of the house and the camera follows me to the passenger door, “CUT”! David yells. I walk around the car and Lynch rolls down the window and gives me direction. He rolls the window back up and I start laughing to myself, “I’m getting direction from David Lynch through the back window of a 1990’s limousine!” Surreal!
On set one day I overheard David say, “What’s the limo driver’s name again?” I held back my smile but my entire insides laughed it’s ass off! I never care if people remember my name, I think it’;s more of an honor if David Lynch doesn’t remember your name.
My second to last day of shooting and we just finished my last scene. The crew was setting up for the last shot and I walked up the steps of this esplanade to David, “How was that?” I said. “Oh great Jay!” David looked off and I just found myself standing next to him on the top of the stairs. In front of us was this copper statue that David had made for the scene. I had heard the statue was made from a picture of David’s dad. (Side Note: On my submission for the role I told a story about my estranged Dad dying and me going home to go through his things) The two of us just stood there so I broke the ice, “that’s a hell of a statue.” David looked up at it, “Yeah.” “You had that made just for this scene huh?” I said. David looked off at the crew, “Yup.” I smiled thinking I was funny, “You know I told my wife, ‘you wanna get a statue made, put it in the budget’” he turned back to me without breaking, “You know that’s my dad.” Quickly I replied, “Yeah I heard that, what did he do?” He didn’t make too much of a fuss just said, “He worked for the department of agriculture on Forrest Fire watch.” I knew about that job because it was a fantasy of mine, so was hopping trains and living on a boat. Basically you live up at the top of a mountain in a cabin and watch for fires. “Wow, it takes a certain type of man to live in all that solitude.” “It sure does he responded, “he would hike down once a month to get food and water and then hike back up.” Like a lot of people I went through a ‘Beat’ phase, I read everything Kerouac wrote, Neal Cassidy’s biography, some Ginsberg and some Burroughs but Jack was my boy. My favorite book was “Dharma Bums” and in it he talks about living up top of a mountain in California on Forrest Fire watch. So, I turned away from him and looked at the statue, “Kind of like Kerouac” I said. He took a split second and turned to me a little baffled, “yeah” he said. I patted him on the shoulder firmly and said, “Well, see you Wednesday!” That was my mic drop, I David Lynch’d David Lynch.
On my last day of shooting I was feeling all sorts of emotion. I didn’t want it to end, yet I was excited for what might come next. But I was mostly nervous to have my last scene. Two days before while we were shooting there was an older actor who has been around for a long time. When he had his last scene David called the entire crew over and said, “Ladies and Gentleman, that’s a wrap on…” It was so cool. The whole crew applauded and David smiled, it was so exciting, I had never seen that done before. Usually the first or second AD will say it. Anyway, we finished my last scene, I was done for the day. I only had 4 scenes in the entire show and less lines but I was proud of the work that I did, even more proud of the heart to heart with Lynch. So I finish my scene and they tell me I’m wrapped and the first AD goes, “Just hold here for a second.” David walked over to me and turned to the crew and cast, “Ladies and Gentleman, that’s a wrap on Jay, our limo driver!” I don’t like having attention on me when I’m not performing. I get awkward and shy, especially with so many talented people around. I waved like a weirdo and turned to David. He was starring at me with a giant smile, clapping his hands as if he loved watching me have this moment. It almost made me cry, because I had never really seen pride in a man’s face like that before. At least not directed towards me. They say you should never meet your idols and I get why that may be but David Lynch is the exception to the rule.