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Stacey Farish EDITOR


Craig Edwards


Matt Grobar


Nellie Andreeva (TV) Mike Fleming Jr. (Film) AWARDS EDITOR & COLUMNIST

Pete Hammond


Peter Bart Anita Busch Dawn Chmielewski Anthony D’Alessandro Greg Evans Lisa de Moraes Bruce Haring Dade Hayes Patrick Hipes Amanda N’Duka Dominic Patten Erik Pedersen Denise Petski Dino-Ray Ramos David Robb Nancy Tartaglione Peter White Andreas Wiseman VIDEO PRODUCERS

David Janove Andrew Merrill SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

Scott Shilstone


Carra Fenton


Kasey Champion


Brianna Corrado Tiffany Windju ACCOUNT MANAGER


Malik Simmons


Andrea Wynnyk


Michael Petre


Jay Penske



Gerry Byrne


Todd Greene


Craig Perreault


FIRST TAKE With The Looming Tower, Tahar Rahim gets his overdue Hollywood debut Arv Greywal deftly designs an onscreen Picasso in Genius Seven Seconds creator Veena Sud calls the industry out of a diversity Stone Age


COVER STORY David Lynch discusses the rebirth of his beloved television legacy Twin Peaks: The Return


THE DIALOGUE: DRAMA Kyle MacLachlan Freddie Highmore Evan Peters Sharon Stone Susan Kelechi Watson


FLASH MOB Highlights from Deadline’s Emmy Season Kickoff Party


Ken DelAlcazar


Nelson Anderson


Julie Zhu


Gabriel Koen


Tarik West


Christina Yeoh


Judith R. Margolin


Lauren Utecht


Young Ko


Julie Trinh


f @deadlinehollywood l @Deadline TWITTER



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ON THE COVER David Lynch photographed for Deadline by Josh Telles ON THIS PAGE Kyle MacLachlan photographed for Deadline by Dan Doperalski

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The Walking Dead’s short form spin-off

p. 8

| Seven Seconds’ Veena Sud on #MeToo

p. 10

Rahim’s Resistance


TAHAR RAHIM OWES HIS UTA AGENT, Ali Benmohamed, a huge thank you. If it weren’t for Benmohamed’s insistence that Rahim read the script for The Looming Tower, in spite of Rahim’s blanket refusal to read anything that might cast Muslims as terrorists, he might never have played perhaps the most defining role of his career since his international breakthrough in Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet in 2009. But so far, so agent. What makes Benmohamed so essential to Rahim chasing the role is his first name. When Rahim read the first two scripts for the Hulu miniseries, created by Dan Futterman, Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright (and based on Wright’s non-fiction book of the same name) he liked what he saw in the character of Ali Soufan—a real-life FBI operative (and a Muslim) who Wright believes came closer than anyone to stopping 9/11. “These types of heroes existed 17 years ago,” he thought. “We should have portrayed them all those years ago. But better today than never.”


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partners, up to his eyeballs in debt, and very easily discredited for it, even as he had the wisdom and intelligence to know what was going on before so many of his colleagues. Arguments between the FBI and the CIA amount to office politics on a devastating scale. O’Neill himself was forced out of the FBI before the 9/11 attacks. He took a job as the chief of security at the World Trade Center and perished when the first tower fell. As for Soufan, he was a 29 year-old dealing with the tremendous mounting pressure of extremism at the very frontline. “But when he talks about his experiences, it’s never heavy,” marvels Rahim. “He tells you funny stories. He tells you extraordinary stories, but it’s never heavy.” Rahim takes a beat. “But it had to INTELLIGENCE Tahar Rahim as Ali Soufan in The Looming Tower, leading the interrogation of Abu Jandal.

be heavy for him. He’s human. You must be so clever to be 29 and to deal

of the show; it closes out The Looming

France to Algerian parents—but he had

with international problems every day.

wanted to be polite, but I wanted to

Tower. As the two men spar in Leba-

little hope of wrapping his head around

You have to be extremely clever and

take some time,” he remembers. He

nese Arabic, Soufan makes a piercing

conversational Lebanese. “I wish I

bold. There’s no other way.”

spoke to the show’s creative team, and

case for the contradiction between

could, but you never have the time to

Rahim was 27 when A Prophet

told them he would call Ali. He meant

terrorist fundamentalism and true

work on the basics,” he sighs. “You go

changed everything for him. It earned

Ali Benmohamed. “They thought I was

Islamic faith. It was the point of the

on phonetics, and the more you learn

him trophies from the European Film

talking about Ali Soufan, so they set up

show. “In 10 minutes, you can teach a

it, the more you understand the music

Awards and the Césars. But it’s taken

a Skype call with him by chance.”

lesson to the audience that a lot of TV

of the words. You start to get notions

him nearly a decade to make his Hol-

news shows and debates can’t teach,”

about what it all means, but not a lot.”

lywood debut. 70% of the roles he’s

But Rahim was hesitant still. “I

Too polite to stop them, he took

The scene is testament to the

been offered since Hollywood saw

the call and was blown away by the

Rahim explains. “But in 10 minutes, in

person he spoke to. “He started to tell

a dramatized scene, it becomes easy

journey the idealistic rookie of the first

A Prophet, he estimates, have been

me about his life, and where this story

to understand. I was blown away by

episode has been on by the time of

terrorist characters. “I had to say no

would go,” Rahim says. “He said, ‘I’m

it, and at the same time it’s just two

the finale. Rahim proffers that a key

sometimes to great directors because

one of the producers on this, so don’t

people talking to one another. Playing

aspect of the show is the realization

of the terrorist thing,” he remembers.

worry; what I’m telling you is true.’”

chess with one another.”

that Soufan’s private and professional

Instead he has focused on work from

For Rahim, all roads led to the

personalities differed. It was there in

auteurs like Asghar Farhadi, Fatih Akin

resettled in the United States, graduat-

challenge of getting that scene right.

the writing, but Rahim found it in the

and Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

ing with a political science degree from

“It was 12 pages in Arabic,” he laughs.

real Soufan, with whom he wound up

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania in

“I don’t speak it. I was so afraid of that

spending a lot of time.

1995. He joined the FBI soon afterward,

scene, because if I screwed it up? It’s

He usually saw the personal

lywood. “Only then did I have two

and at 29 he caught the eye of John

the end of the show; if it’s not working

Soufan; funny, warm and still in love

offers—this and Mary Magdalene—

O’Neill, then head of the FBI’s National

you’re dead.”

with the ideals of the American dream

come in at once. What’s the takeaway

that propelled him to join the FBI. It

from that? When you stop dreaming

Born in Lebanon, Soufan eventually

Security Division, who set him to work

He trained and prepared. He spoke

After a while, he says, he gave up waiting for the right call from Hol-

combatting a threat from Islamic

at length with the Arabic cultural con-

was this spark of patriotism for his

about something it comes to you? I

fundamentalism that few believed

sultant on set, and he had been study-

adoptive land that so confounded Abu

don’t know what to think about that.”

could ever impact American soil. He

ing privately with a Lebanese-speaking

Jandal. But at a book signing one day,

met resistance from the big machine

coach. “I worked a lot,” Rahim admits.

Rahim saw Soufan’s other side. “He

finally changing for minorities in Holly-

of American government, but it was

It was in the schedule for a day of

was scanning,” Rahim recalls. “He saw

wood. But he never backed down from

Soufan’s intelligence, mined from a

shooting. “I remember they wanted to

someone there and he said he started

his commitment, even as his family

days-long interrogation of Osama

give me more time, too. They said, ‘We

to suspect he had been from some

expanded and the idea of an American

bin Laden’s one-time bodyguard Abu

have one full day, and if you need more

kind of Secret Service abroad. I saw his

paycheck might have appealed. “You

Jandal, which gave investigators the

we can give you the day after.’ I was so

look change. He had different eyes.”

have to feed your family, but what are

clearest picture of al-Qaeda’s organi-

prepared—and so scared—that we did

Much of The Looming Tower

you going to teach them?” he says.

zational structure and confirmed the

it in less than a day. Three cameras,

revolves around the human frailties

“When I was a student I remember

identities of the 9/11 hijackers.

five takes, done.”

that caused so many of the slip-ups in

I only had €300 [$350] a month to

the days leading to 9/11. Jeff Daniels’

live on. You don’t need mountains of

John O’Neill is a man juggling multiple

money. Life is good.” ★

The Jandal interrogation is a key

Rahim was already multilingual—we

scene in the tenth and final episode

speak in English, though he was born in


He wonders whether things are

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At press time, here is how Gold Derby’s experts ranked Emmy chances in the Drama categories. Follow all the races at

The Big Picture




The Handmaid’s Tale



Game of Thrones



This Is Us



The Crown



Stranger Things



Genius production designer Arv Greywal discusses the single photograph that informed the look of Picasso LOOKING FOR HIS TAKE ON PABLO PICASSO’S world for the second installment of Genius, production designer Arv Greywal came across one photograph that proved defining for the entire season’s aesthetic. Coming to him by way of DP Mathias Herndl, Arnold Newman’s entrancing color photograph portrayed an older Picasso in his French villa in 1956. Cigarette in hand, with “his dark eyes glaring out at you,” Picasso is surrounded by “all the things that inspire him”—hundreds of canvases and easels, Iberian statuary, African masks and pottery. For Greywal, the photograph had a spiritual quality to it that was in tandem with the season he envisioned, in terms of scope, scale and color palette. “I’m always thrilled by the numinous energy of artwork, and Picasso’s art certainly has this energy,” Greywal explains. “I studied this photo endlessly because I wanted to capture that same impalpable spirit the photo had in my sets.” –Matt Grobar



Sterling K. Brown This Is Us



Matthew Rhys The Americans



Milo Ventimiglia This Is Us



Freddie Highmore The Good Doctor



Jason Bateman Ozark





Elisabeth Moss The Handmaid’s Tale



Claire Foy The Crown



Keri Russell The Americans



Evan Rachel Wood Westworld



Mandy Moore This Is Us



The creatives behind Red Machete flesh out The Walking Dead universe with an audacious short-form series AFTER SEVERAL YEARS as an editor on AMC’s The Walking Dead—and helming his first episode of the zombie series in 2015—Avi Youabian recently returned to directing the undead. Teaming with scribe Nick Bernardone on short-form series The Walking Dead: Red Machete, Youabian set out to tell an engaging standalone story through immersive sound design and carefully curated visuals. Shot in nine days at more than a dozen locations, Red Machete was particularly ambitious in casting an inanimate object


as its protagonist—that being the titular weapon, first introduced in The Walking Dead’s fourth season, as Rick fought off cannibals at Terminus. Red Machete watches as the blade changes hands in its journey through a post-apocalyptic landscape. Landing with survivor Mandy (Anais Lilit), the series becomes a tale of friendship between a young girl growing up in a broken world and the weapon that has kept her alive. Evolving visually from episode to episode, Red Machete broke new ground for

TWD with a stunning animated sequence, fusing the aesthetics of the AMC series and the source material behind it. “For the first time, we got to see an interesting tip of the hat to how this all started—as a graphic novel,” Bernardone explains. Energized by creative opportunities in short-form, the Red Machete pair hope to develop more unscripted series within the Walking Dead universe, contributing added dimension to one of the most-discussed series on television. –Matt Grobar

CUTTING EDGE Anais Lilit gets a trim in Red Machete.

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6/6/18 12:35 PM


TAKE TO THE STREETS Citizens of Jersey City protest police abuse in Seven Seconds.


that others may speak their truths.

mired in old ideas and old ways,

It’s about damned time.

fueled by the lack of representa-

Before resting on any laurels,

The creator of the critically-acclaimed Netflix series Seven Seconds, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, on why industry diversity is no passing fad BY V E E NA S U D

tion not only in the rooms, but in

however, let’s be clear: our indus-

the executive ranks, in the studios,

try is still in the Stone Age. Writers

in the agencies, in the media that

rooms are still mostly white and

covers our industry, in the entire

mostly male: 80% of showrunners

ecosystem of Hollywood. Writ-

are men and an appalling 91% are

ers can pitch a show but unless

white, making our industry look

it’s greenlit, unless it’s packaged,


a curious parlor game called “Fuck,

more like some alt-righter’s wet

unless it’s recognized, unless it’s

IN 2002, I was mentored by a

Marry, Kill”. Each of her colleagues

dream of a MAGA Fatherland than

given the same fair shake as shows

good man and later hired by a great

took turns deciding which activity

the real America.

featuring white male protagonists,

woman, neither of whom viewed

he’d do to her, were he to have the

this woman of color as a char-

opportunity. She kept her mouth

America, where in less than a

ity case but as a writer, plain and

shut, as we all did. To have done

generation, so-called minorities

#MeToo demands is not only an

simple. I was wildly lucky. Fellow

anything else would cost a job,

will constitute the majority of this

end to sexual assault in all its forms

writers coming up at the same time

quite likely a career. Our fears were

country, and women will continue

and the blatant disregard of artistic

were not as fortunate. In just one

not unfounded, proven by the many

to outnumber men. Our industry

achievements of people of color,

example, a friend of a friend—in an

torpedoed careers in Harvey Wein-

has failed miserably to reflect the

but much larger, systematic and

all white male writers room—found

stein’s wake. Thanks to those brave

real world, both in front of and

foundational changes. Wein-

herself, one afternoon, the target of

women who put it all on the line so

behind the camera. We remain

stein’s abuses are but one fungus


Contrast that with the real

it dies on the vine. What #OscarsSoWhite and

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THE ACTOR’S SIDE Intriguing one-on-one conversations between Deadline’s awards editor and leading actors of film & television new videos every wednesday RE X /S H U T T E RSTO CK


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GUEST COLUMN of Black Panther: we are hungry— starved—to see, at long last, ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, our heretofore underrepresented fellow citizens as the protagonist, the hero, the point of the story and not the relish. The white male hero thing’s been done, ad nauseum. Surely some geniuses in the history of the human race were women, were brown, were black? Surely other people, besides white men, were impacted in the theaters of World War II? And how is it that falling in love is the near exclusive province of white straight folks? We can do better than the one movie, the one series, or more often not even that. We must do better, and our audiences are demanding it. Now, more than ever, our industry cannot tolerate bullshit (hats off to ABC for their recent cancellation of Roseanne). We must stand for something. I became a writer to grapple with the redemptive nature of love and justice, to illustrate the agony and the beauty of the everyday, and to laugh and weep incubated in a petri dish where

and know, as I sit in my living room

other less colorful, but no less rank,

and look out that window which

organisms teem.

so many share, that none of us are

The dismal number of women

actually alone.

directors helming shows is one

I suspect many of you came

such example. Almost like clock-

to this town hoping for the same.

work, a “report” will surface that a

What we do matters profoundly,

certain female director I am con-

especially now—which projects we

sidering is “difficult”. Upon further

create, greenlight, celebrate; whose

investigation, the qualities that

faces and bodies and lived experi-

make her “difficult”—headstrong,

ences we put up on our screens.

mono-focused, commanding—are

Art matters in a way it hasn’t for a

qualities that are 1) expected of

long time.

directors and 2) admired in her

#MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite

male counterparts. Further inquiry

were the beginning. Let’s not let

reveals that her episode turned out fine, “great” in most cases. So

this powerful moment be a mere act of leveling the playing field,

footnote in the history of our indus-

considering those who are truly

try, of our time. Archie Bunker had

the best and brightest. It is simply

his day. Today belongs to Lena and

opening the window to everything

Issa and Donald and Gloria and Ava

this world has to offer. There are

and Nahnatchka and the list goes

Rosenberg, John Ridley and others

over 118 million of these windows

on. Let’s make sure it gets longer.

who fight passionately to make

in living rooms across America. TV

women directors and directors

has that power to show who we are

men who weathered those writers’

of color a real presence on their

and who we hope to be. It’s time

rooms before us, who took the

shows. It remains the exception to

to push aside those musty drapes

punches and never gave up, who

a still customary rule.

and let in some light upon the great

never stopped writing, and never

and varied expanse of humanity.

stopped insisting on their right to

imperative. Not a luxury, not a fad,

All those untold stories, all those

be there. They sat in those rooms

not the banal task of “eating your

unsung heroes.

so that one day, the rest of us could

what’s the fucking problem? Yet still it takes a Herculean battle to make these hires stick. Kudos to Ava DuVernay, Melissa

This is why diversity is an

vegetables”. It is the necessary


LEVEL THE FIELD Seven Seconds helmer Veena Sud is among those seeking systematic change in all facets of the entertainment industry.

Know this from the success

We owe it to the women and

lead them. ★

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In Episode 14 of Twin Peaks: The Return, FBI man Gordon Cole—played by series creator David Lynch himself—describes a dream he’s just had. He was in a café in Paris. Agent Cooper was there, but Cole couldn’t see his face, and then Monica Bellucci appeared, wearing a fitted leather maxi coat, flanked by two friends, one male, one female. The dream was not inspired by one of Lynch’s own, he says, although the location of the café does have personal significance to him—it’s right along the street from 49 Rue du Montparnasse, Paris, where Idem, his favorite European printing studio, is based—and the beautiful Italian film star is, he concedes, very much “the type of girl that you would dream about.” 16

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In the dream, sitting al fresco as Cole sipped milky coffee, Bellucci had something profound to say to him—“the ancient phrase”, as Cole later calls it. “‘We are like the dreamer who dreams,’ she said, ‘and then lives inside the dream.’” Cole dramatically repeats this statement to his colleagues Albert Rosenfield (the late Miguel Ferrer) and Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell), the latter a newcomer to the Blue Rose Task Force, named after the murder of a woman by her own lookalike in 1970, which investigates abnormal or impossible occurrences. It’s a surreal, powerful and cryptic moment in a series that has never offered moments of any other kind. It sounds like bait—the kind of tease that many other directors would slip into their work to intrigue and engage you before finally inviting you to debate its real meaning. But David Lynch is not that kind of director. In the course of a long, digressive conversation, he gives little or nothing away about the Showtime series, stonewalling direct questions and being expansive about only the most mundane of facts. Of Gordon Cole’s dream, he simply says: “That’s the way life is, when you think about it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream.” He pauses. “And then she asks, ‘But who is the dreamer?’” His comment hangs heavy in the air, as if Lynch has finally—accidentally?—decided to give something away. Is it a clue to help decipher this mad, wonderful series, or just something for us to dwell on? “Something to dwell on,” says Lynch. And that’s the end of that.

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BRINGS BACK SOME MEMORIES When it was announced that Twin Peaks would be returning to TV screens in 2017, there was a lot of celebration from devoted fans of the cult mystery show. Over the course of two seasons in 1990-91,


Who did and didn’t return for the revival? RETURNED Kyle MacLachlan Special Agent Dale Cooper came back big time—but not straight away. There was Mr. C and a sleepy lookalike (Dougie Jones) before the real Coop busted out.

the original ABC series had seduced America, and indeed the world, with its peculiar retro aesthetic. Twin Peaks itself was a fictional lumber town in Washington State with a population of 51,201— originally 5,120 until nervous executives added an extra digit to make it less of a rural backwater— where daily life seemed frozen in the early ’60s, before the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam and Watergate tainted the national consciousness. Girls wore sweaters and friendship rings, boys wore baseball jackets and styled their hair into buzzcuts and quiffs, and their parents conducted their affairs in private. It should have been a happy

NEWCOMER Robert Forster With Michael Ontkean in retirement, his part as sheriff Harry S Truman was not recast. Lynch drafted in Forster—his original choice—to play Harry’s long-lost brother Frank. DID NOT RETURN Heather Graham As his love interest, her abduction led Agent Cooper to be lured to the Red Room, but the fate of waitress Annie Blackburn didn’t figure at all in the new storyline.

place, a kind of innocent, all-American Brigadoon, until the savage killing of prom queen Laura Palmer brought the FBI to town. Enter Special Agent Dale Cooper, played with infectious, goofball charm by Kyle MacLachlan, and his Dictaphone, through which he communicated with a mysterious woman (or was it actually just the Dictaphone?) named Diane. Cooper, with his taste for “damn fine coffee” and cherry pie, came to typify the show, and it’s tempting to wonder how many viewers arranged themed parties last year for the series opener, serving the kind of down-home food you might find at the Double R Diner and dressing as their favorite character. Perhaps Audrey

NEWCOMER Naomi Watts Played Janey-E, the long-suffering wife of Vegas insurance salesman and playboy Dougie Jones, whose body a woozy Agent Cooper inhabits after emerging from a plug socket. NEWCOMER Laura Dern MacLachlan’s Blue Velvet co-star gave a face to the woman with whom Agent Cooper communicated unseen via his Dictaphone throughout Seasons 1 and 2.

Horne, the teenage femme fatale who went undercover at the seedy One-Eyed Jack’s casino, or bad boy James Hurley, the secret lover of the victim. If any did, one can only wonder how they felt as the first two hours unfolded, with Cooper still where Lynch left him 25 years ago, trapped in the purgatory of the Red Room. Meanwhile, his bad self, Mr. C, is at large in the outside world, and a young man charged with watching an empty box in a New York high-rise is beaten to a bloody pulp by unseen forces. It closed with just a handful of familiar characters listening to

RETURNED Miguel Ferrer Ferrer, who sadly died months before the new series aired, reprised his role as the FBI’s Albert Rosenfeld, a specialist in unsolvable crimes, known as “Blue Rose” cases.

Lynchian electro-pop at the Roadhouse, aka The Bang Bang Bar, older now, and with a sense of time lost and wasted. But over the next 16 hours, something extraordinary evolved. In direct contrast to the less celebrated, chaotic second series of Twin Peaks, this new Showtime show actually started out big, messy and sprawling and then gradually parsed itself down, episode by episode, to a gripping two-hander finale that laid bare the very motor of

RETURNED Wendy Robie The one-eyed wife of Ed, Nadine Hurley got to open a drapes store and fall for her therapist, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn).

the story: Agent Cooper and his fascination—or Above left: Lynch as FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole, alongside new addition Laura Dern, who finally put a face to Diane, the name behind Coop’s Dictaphone messages.

was it a doomed, morbid love—for the enigmatic Laura Palmer, the girl who just couldn’t save herself from herself. Was this deliberate—a lesson learned from the last time? Lynch, who turned 72 this year, listens patiently as the idea is put to him—and promptly

DID NOT RETURN Lara Flynn Boyle In Fire Walk With Me, Boyle was replaced as Donna Hayward—best friend of Laura Palmer—by Moira Kelly. It seems that neither was invited back this time. D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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shuts it down. “Ideas came,” he begins, in his trademark idiosyncratic drawl. “I guess you could just say... ” He stops. “I always say ideas dictate everything. Ideas came, and this is what the ideas presented. Just focusing on Twin Peaks, these things came out for us, and there they were.” Still, Lynch does accept the fact that the original ABC series had lost its way, with more ridiculous characters, baffling new subplots and a pressure to unmask Laura Palmer’s killer, something he never wanted to do. “For me,” he explains, “the pilot—the original pilot—is Twin Peaks, and this one here is Twin Peaks.” Why not Season 2? “Well, what happens in television, I think, is, there are different directors, different writers, and it’s just the way things go. It drifts away. This hopefully brought it back into a true world of Twin Peaks.” Even so, after the disorientating first episode, Lynch took his time reintroducing the signature elements (coffee, cherry pie, even Diane), scrapping the opening waterfall altogether and withholding key characters until the final stretch. Why would he want to do that—to weed out the people he didn’t want to watch the show? Again, Lynch rebuts the question. “No, no,” he insists. “Again, it’s the ideas. The ideas present a kind of flow of how it’s going to unfold, and the ideas tell you each scene and each character. And you just follow the ideas.”


THE PAST DICTATES THE FUTURE To make the return journey to Twin Peaks,

ready, willing and able to go to work.” What kind of conversations did he have with them? He shrugs. “I didn’t ever talk about the story or anything, just their willingness to get back in the world. They all know their

wanted to get back on board again. Kyle MacLa-

characters, they know the world, and they love the world like me. It was so beautiful. I’m

chlan couldn’t wait, and behind him came the

telling you—it was a lovefest.” As well as bringing back old characters, Lynch drafted in some new additions,

Lucy, Deputy Sheriff Tommy “Hawk” Hill—followed

perhaps the most inspired being the casting of Lynch regular Laura Dern to play the

by some familiar faces from the town. A few were

previously unseen Diane—the woman behind the Dictaphone (“It was time for her

missing—Michael Ontkean, who played Sheriff

to come in,” notes Lynch). Reuniting Dern with MacLachlan for the first time since

Harry S. Truman and has since retired from acting,

Blue Velvet, it was a move that gave an unexpected chemistry to their backstory as

was sensitively replaced by Robert Forster as his

sometime lovers. “It made perfect sense,” says Lynch, “because they’re sort of so

brother Frank—and some had even passed away

perfect like that. Sandy and Jeffrey from Blue Velvet—it makes sense that it’s Diane

(we’ll come back to that later), but most of the

and Special Agent Dale Cooper. When you pick somebody… ”

major players were ready to come back. “I called all the regulars,” Lynch recalls, “or

He hesitates for a second. “Like I always say, most of filmmaking is common sense, so you try to get the right person for the part. So, the right person is somebody that feels

most everyone, and I had a chat. These people

correct as you run them through scene by scene, and there they are. Other people, like I

are like family, so it was so beautiful calling them

also always say, could be great, great actors, but they don’t make it through the scenes.”

and talking to them again and getting together like

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originals–like you say, some of them had passed away–but I’d say 99 percent were there

Washington, it helped that almost the entire cast

majority of the Twin Peaks sheriff’s office—Andy,


as you know, there was about 235 cast in this film. I would’ve liked to work with all of the

To help him find the right people, Lynch depends on longtime associate Johanna

for a family reunion. The regular casting process

Ray, his on-off casting director for the last 30 years. “The way Johanna and I have been

went from there, with all the new people. And,

working is this: she’s read the script, and I’ve talked with her about it, and she shows

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me pictures—still photos—of the actors. Then she picks maybe ten photos, and I look at them. You can tell a lot but not everything from those photos. Then she interviews the people on video, and I see these people talking, and see what they look like as they talk, and that’s what usually seals the deal. You do see things in

Above left: Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper. Above, left to right: Miguel Ferrer; Lynch; Chrysta Bell, Brent Briscoe and Adele René surround a new plastic-sheeted dead body.

off in other directions. But mostly, it’s a matter of following the script.” Despite the cast of hundreds, the success of Twin Peaks came down to one man and one man only: Kyle MacLachlan. Over the course of the series, he delivers not one or two variations on a theme but three and possibly four; MacLachlan appears first in the Red Room as the spaced-out, captive Agent Cooper, then as Cooper’s evil alter-ego Mr. C, then as the catatonic Dougie, a Vegas gambler whose body Agent Cooper inhabits. In Episode 16 he returns as the more familiar

people and, you know, you might be seeing something that they may not be known

Dale Cooper before morphing again for the show’s

for, but you know it’s in them.”

spine-chilling denouement.

As a process, it recalls the sinister producer from Mulholland Drive, the one who

“I’ve known Kyle since 1982, I think,” says Lynch.

pushes a ten-by-eight headshot of a budding young starlet on Adam Kesher, the

“Kyle is like my brother. It’s just so easy to work with

director of the film being made within the film, saying, more than a little menacingly,

him. He had, I think he said, never had that kind of

“This is the girl.” Has Lynch ever said that—“This is the girl”? The question makes him

challenge before: to overcome so many characters

laugh. “Every time there’s the right one, I say, ‘This is the girl.’ And if it’s a man, I say, ‘This

and find those things. But it was in the script. There

is the man.’”

was a little bit of trial and error in the beginning, in

Surprisingly, the new characters are as wittily original and inventive as anything

rehearsing, but Kyle found those guys, each one, and

he’s shown us before, from the weedy Wild One clone Wally Brando (Michael Cera),

they’re all so different. It was very, very beautiful what

to the adorable gangster’s moll Candie (Amy Shiels) and the cryptic but clearly

came out of Kyle.”

psychotic Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), son of Audrey. Of the new intake, does

Although he’s in good shape for a man in his fifties,

he have any particular favorites? Lynch is shocked by the question. “No, no, no,” he

like the rest of the characters, Dale Cooper is showing

protests. “I can’t do that, but I can say I love them all. It’s incredible. We were so lucky.

his age. The passing of time is a recurrent theme

There’s just one after another, banging on all eight cylinders. But if it’s a 12-cylinder,

throughout the show; Shelly Johnson and Bobby

they’re banging on all 12. It’s incredible.”

Briggs have been married and divorced; Dr Jacoby

How precisely does he script? Does he insist on his cast reading the line as

now runs a cranky InfoWars-style internet show; and

it is written, or does he encourage a bit of experimentation? “No,” is the short

Sarah Palmer, Laura’s mother, is an alcoholic. Similarly,

answer. “I don’t believe in... what do you call it? Improvisation. You follow the

the once shrill Gordon Cole, having found a better

script to the letter, but at the same time, you’re always on guard for new things.

hearing aid, has mellowed into a calming, avuncular

So, on the day, when everybody comes there, and they’re dressed properly, and

presence (“And he’s gotten a lot more handsome,

the set is right, and everything is just exactly right, sometimes things can take

too,” quips Lynch). D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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Lynch wrote the show, as he did the first series, with frequent collaborator Mark Frost, who, one supposes, is tasked with keeping some of Lynch’s more outrageous ideas in check. They talked by Skype; Frost lives in Ojai, which is a two-hour drive from Lynch’s LA home

Wendy Robie reprises her role as the monocular Nadine Hurley, who wields one of therapist Dr. Jacoby’s ‘Gold ShitDigging Shovels’ and finally lets go of her husband Ed.

and made traditional script meetings inconvenient. It is far from the relationship you’d imagine; Lynch has never phoned him to tell Frost about a crazy dream he’s just had. “I’d tell him the next day, probably,” says Lynch, very soberly. He wouldn’t ring him in the night? “No.” It was Frost who came up with the idea that Dougie lived in Las Vegas, with his wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts), one of several locations outside of Twin Peaks. “When Mark and I first got together,” says Lynch, “Mark had an idea that Dougie would show up in an abandoned house there, and that sort of started the thing rolling.” The decision to shoot in Vegas, as well as locations in California doubling as New York and South Dakota, ultimately gave the new series a sense of modernity that was missing in its previous incarnations. Was it deliberate? “It was, in a way, because Twin Peaks, the town, is a certain way, so it seems a little different than most places in the world. Obviously, the Red Room is the Red Room. But this story took place in many places, and they’re more present-day feel.” Should we be reading anything in particular into that? “Well, everybody has their own kind of take on things. A lot of people see things and they see politics from start to finish. It’s all in the mind’s eye—different viewers get so many different things.” Even so, the series does deal with politics, albeit obliquely (“very obliquely,” Lynch corrects), with some seeing the collapse of the once-mighty Horne family as representing the destruction of American capitalism. (“See, that’s what I’m talking about!”) Nevertheless, there are a lot more real world flourishes, like the angry speech Janey-E gives to her

“These people are like family, so it was so beautiful calling them and talking to them again and getting together like for a family reunion.”

husband’s greedy loan sharks, in which she refuses to pay them the extortionate amount they are asking for. “We drive cheap, terrible cars,” she yells. “We are the 99 per cent!!!” Which is somewhat unusual for a Twin Peaks character. “Right,” says Lynch. “But, you know, I always say, in a film, there’s concrete things and there’s abstract things, and a story I like brings out both those things.” As regards the “abstract things”, nothing in the previous two series could prepare viewers for the now-infamous Episode 8, aka “Gotta Light”. The hourlong episode features a bizarre and intense performance from Nine Inch Nails even before things start getting weird, revealing, in a cryptic black-and-white nightmare, how the atomic bomb brought Killer Bob to Earth from a parallel dimension. Lynch famously doesn’t like to interpret his own work, but was he curious to know what people were saying about it? “With this latest one?” he asks. “A little bit. But, what I love is people’s freedom to interpret it as they wish. That’s what I love. It’s… you could say, unique, and you never know how things are going to go. It’s an important episode, for sure.” Was he surprised people seemed to ‘get’ it? “I guess, generally speaking, it has


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been known in the history of television that people underestimate the intelligence of the audience.” Since the series has aired, does he get questions from people in the street or people he meets? “No. I don’t like to go out, and I don’t ever hear so much.” That’s true: David Lynch isn’t exactly a party person. Instead he

“To walk away from suffering and bring profound happiness. Meditation’s such a beautiful, important thing for the human being.”

likes to meditate. How long for varies.

“I love the film. With Dune, I sold out on that early on, because I didn’t have final cut, and it was a commercial failure, so I died two times with that. With Fire Walk With Me, it didn’t go over well at the time, but I loved it so I only died once, for the commercial failure and the reviews and things. But, over time, it’s changed. So now, people have

With transcendental meditation, it’s 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes

revisited that film, and they feel differently about it. When a thing comes out,

in the afternoon. When he’s shooting, he meditates before he goes to work, and

the feeling in the world—you could call it the collective consciousness—is a

then at lunch, when everyone else is eating. “It’s money in the bank,” he beams.

certain way, and so it dictates how the thing’s going to go. Then the collective

“I’m trying to get people to understand what transcending every day can do for

consciousness changes and people come around. Look at Van Gogh: the guy

the human being. To walk away from suffering and bring profound happiness.

could not sell one painting and now nobody can afford them.”


Meditation’s such a beautiful, important thing for the human being.”

Is he surprised that so many people supported him on this journey? “Yeah,” he says, “it’s a big surprise. A big surprise. I mean, if you did something that you like and then you find that others like that too, it’s a beautiful thing, but it’s also



somewhat surprising, especially if it’s a little off the beaten path.” When we speak, Lynch is still high from the experience, which has revived

The overwhelmingly positive critical reception afforded the

his passion for filmmaking. “I’ve learned how much I love it,” he enthuses. “I’ve

return of Twin Peaks must have been a relief for the direc-

learned that filmmaking is a magical, magical, magical medium.” In the mean-

tor. Indeed, shortly after the original series was shelved,

time, though, he’s busy painting, building toward a show he’s going to have

Lynch swiftly tried to revive the story at the cinema in 1992

in LA in September. His favorite artists are Francis Bacon, whose electrifying

with the insanely divisive Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, a

paintings look like X-rays of souls in torment; Edward Hopper, who captured

prequel of sorts that ended with Laura Palmer’s murder. It

the poetic loneliness of urban America; and Edward Kienholz, the confronta-

brought Lynch the worst reviews of his career—even more

tional installation artist whose effect on Lynch cannot be understated. “I look

barbed than those he received for his failed 1984 sci-fi epic

for what I appreciate, what moves me,” says Lynch. “What I think is great, there

Dune—including one from former fan Quentin Tarantino,

again, it’s just the eye of the beholder. A lot of people that I like, other people

who caught it at the Cannes film festival while he was

don’t like. It’s just the way it is in the world.”

there with Reservoir Dogs. Said Tarantino, “After I saw Twin

Lynch’s own art looks little or nothing like any of his key influences. “My

Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at Cannes, David Lynch had disappeared so far up

paintings are crude, child-like, ridiculous, bad paintings,” he laughs. “And I love

his own ass that I have no desire to see another David Lynch movie until I hear

them. I want to get into that world. I haven’t ever really found my way, so I’m

something different. And you know, I loved him. I loved him.”

struggling with that right now. I’ve got to get in there and find it.”

Over the years, however, Fire Walk With Me has been somewhat rehabilitated, and Lynch himself has no regrets. Not one. “I love the film,” he enthuses.

Does he have any movie projects or more TV projects lined up? “I don’t. I have a box of ideas, and I’m working with producer Sabrina Sutherland, kind


Five Lynch films that paved the way for Twin Peaks and its return…

1986 Blue Velvet Despite the box-office failure of Dune, Lynch stuck with leading man Kyle MacLachlan, using his actor’s charm and sincerity to guide the audience through a story of bizarre and chilling depravity against a backdrop of rural America.


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1990 Wild at Heart Peppered with the exotic likes of the amoral Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) and the monobrowed femme fatale Perdita Durango (Isabella Rossellini), Lynch’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner set the template for his characterful approach to storytelling.

1997 Lost Highway Loosely inspired by the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Lynch’s gothic horror concerns a man who kills his wife and then, unable to process his guilt, transforms into a whole new character—the start of multiple identities being a major Lynch theme.

2001 Mulholland Drive With this surreal story of a Hollywood starlet who hires a hitman to murder her lover, Lynch finally nailed—and perhaps even made mainstream—the formula of nightmarish dream logic first explored in his creepy 1977 feature debut Eraserhead.

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Above: The late Harry Dean Stanton as trailer park manager Carl Rodd, with Mädchen Amick, reprising Shelly Briggs.

of trying to go through and see if there’s any

dedicated to a recently departed or long-

gold in those boxes.”

gone cast or crew member. Lynch sighs.

Has he finished forever with the world of Twin Peaks? “Well, for right now, you could say I don’t want to talk about that,” he says flatly. Could Agent Cooper return to solve another Blue Rose mystery? “If I don’t want to talk about it, I can’t even answer that.”

Ferrer is gone now. Brent Briscoe who played Dave Macklay in this series is gone. Warren Frost, who played Dr. Hayward, is gone. Marvin Rosand, who played Toad, the cook at the Double R Diner is gone. Catherine Coulson, The Log Lady is gone. Just before we started shooting, David Bowie went. Jack

Lynch falls silent. It feels strange that

Nance is gone—Pete Martell. Just on and on

he seems to be in limbo again, and it’s hard

and on. I’m forgetting probably some people.

to believe it’s been 12 years since his last

Frank Silva—Killer Bob—is gone. It’s so sad to

cinematic endeavor, his trippy 2006 feature

think about this.

Inland Empire. “Right, I know, it’s the way it is,”

2006 Inland Empire Frustrated by his failure in the studio system, Lynch self-financed this digital, experimental three-hour epic over a period of three years, grabbing scenes on the fly—an experience that served him well for the scripted 18-hour series.

“Harry Dean Stanton is gone now, Miguel

“On the other hand,” he continues, a

he says ruefully. “Feature films have fallen on

little more brightly, “I’m so lucky, every-

hard times these days. And it’s sad, but it’s

body’s so lucky that they were there for

the reality. I always say now, cable television

this. 25 years later, so many people were

is the new arthouse. People have freedom

there and we had a great time going down

and can make a continuing story. It’s pretty

the road. I think if you asked anybody they

beautiful, but it’s not the big screen, so

would say that. It’s just a great, great thing

there’s a little bit of sorrow in the picture and

that happened.”

a little bit of sorrow in the sound.” Looking back, there’s quite a lot of sorrow in the off-screen drama too: almost every episode of Twin Peaks: The Return is

Did he keep anything from the production, any souvenirs or keepsakes? “Memories,” he says, suddenly cheerful. “I got a pocketful.” ★ D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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Ky l e

And also, it helped knowing Mr. C’s through-line. That’s one of the benefits of having read all 18 epi-

M ac L AC H L A N

sodes. I had a beginning, middle, and end, like you would for a film. In traditional episodic television you get the script and you kind of have an idea of what the writers are thinking. They give you a rough outline of direction. But sometimes that changes, so you can be working towards one goal and then suddenly you realize that, no, that’s actually not

Agent Dale Cooper makes his reprise in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return BY DA M O N W I S E

what they had intended at all. So it was helpful to have everything. When Agent Cooper finally comes back, he’s a slightly different Cooper. He’s changed a lot in the Red Room. Definitely. The original Cooper, let’s say, comes back for, like, an hour I guess, in Episode 16, when he kind of takes care of evil Cooper and resolves everything. But that [character] has been tempered with time—I’m older now, and the character just has a slightly different feel to it, as you would naturally expect.

DAVID LYNCH DISCOVERED Kyle MacLachlan when the actor was in his early twenties, with no TV or movie credits to his name. Lynch took a gamble and cast MacLachlan in his sci-fi flop Dune (1984), taking the actor with him to his next project, the controversial 1986 arthouse smash Blue Velvet. Though MacLachlan went on to work with other directors, the actor has remained synonymous with Lynch, largely due to the cult ’90s show Twin Peaks, in which MacLachlan played quirky FBI agent Dale Cooper. When the series returned last May, fans expected to see the cute Coop of yesteryear. What they got instead was several Coopers for the price of one.

Then, once Laura Dern and I have passed through into a different place, which is in Episode 18, he’s definitely even sharper. He’s got an edge to him that’s there in the hunt for Laura Palmer as her new entity, as Carrie. David didn’t really go into great detail. He just said, “Oh, he’s just a little different.” So I had to find what that might be. And people that really follow along and recognize the character were able to really feel that.

When did you realize that David was serious

Did you ever read the whole script? Or did it

about doing this again?

come piecemeal as you were shooting?

You mentioned Laura Dern. When did you real-

David and I are pretty close. I spend most of my

Well, David had [already written] some of the

ize that she was going be playing Diane?

time in New York, and whenever I would come to

scenes, which he shared with me prior to me

Oh, it was sort of late in the process. Certainly

LA, we’d get together and I would always bring it

reading the entire script. He let me read portions

before we began filming. David held that as a

up, casually. And he’d say, “No, I’ve got no plans.”

of it at his home, by myself. And he just left me

secret. When I learned that it was going to be her, I

It wasn’t until around 24 or so years after we

alone to really absorb it and to get my head around

was really thrilled. We hadn’t worked together in so

finished that he reached out to me and said that

the direction that he and Mark were going in. And

many years. I thought she was a great choice, and

he and Mark [Frost] had been noodling some ideas

then I actually sat down and read the entire script

I immediately was very excited about the opportu-

around and that, before they went any further, he

in one fell swoop a little bit later, when they had

nity of working with her.

wanted to know if I was interested in reprising the

completed it. Although, even then, it was still not

role of Dale Cooper. I said, “Absolutely.” So there

everything: David held back certain portions from

The characters are very real to David. Is this

was certainly interest on my part before that time,

me and revealed them as we got closer to filming.

genuinely how he sees them? Or is this just part of his process, in terms of creating the

but nothing that ended up going forward. Although he’s introduced early on, we don’t

Twin Peaks world?

When did things start getting moving again?

really see Agent Cooper as himself for a long

The world of Twin Peaks to David is alive, I think,

It seemed to come together pretty quickly.

time. We start off with his evil doppelganger,

and his characters live on in this world. He loves

It certainly was forward-moving, but it took a while.

Mr. C. How did you create that character?

this world. And I think he’s so excited that people

From what I understand, the process of David

Well, there was a layering process to find his

have returned to it in such a pure way. I think it’s

and Mark working together and putting together

physicality, to find his look and all the little bits that

very real.

the ideas—the writing—took about a year. Then it

go into him, like the wardrobe and the costume. I

needed to be set up, and that took a while as well.

worked with David closely on that. We discarded

Do you think you’ll ever return as Agent Coo-

One of the big hurdles, I think, was simply owner-

a lot of ideas and tried to keep it as simple as

per? David won’t be drawn on it, but would

ship of Twin Peaks. I don’t know all the ins and outs

possible: we just tried to imagine a guy who’s run

you come back to it again?

of that, but there were many people that had been

amok in the world with the kind of powers that he

I think those kinds of things are certainly possible.

involved and had a portion of the show. So every-

has, what that might look like, and how it might

I think we’re all just waiting on David to have the

thing needed to be collated, and brought back, and

translate just in terms of speech, movement, look,

spark of an idea to go forward. It’d be a great jour-

kind of organized into one.

all those things. So that took some time.

ney. I would drop everything to do that. ★


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you can joke around and laugh with them, but then when it’s time to get serious, you trust them and


you can both dive into it. How would you compare Murphy to your American Animals director, Bart Layton, having worked closely with both? Ryan Murphy’s a brilliant director to work with who’s very fun and creative. Because he’s the

As cult leader Kai, the American Horror Story star taps into the madness of acting and America today B Y M AT T G R O B A R

creator and oversees all of the writing, he can mix and match and create new things in the moment. That’s really inspiring to work with, because it makes you realize that there is a script, but we can rip it up and create something in the moment here, and that’s the best feeling. Bart did the Sundance apprenticeship and came ready to kick ass on that movie. I was really worried because when I would tell people that it


VAN PETERS KNOWS A THING OR TWO about madness. Recruited by Ryan Murphy for all eight seasons of American Horror Story—including bloody political satire Cult—Peters has, over the years, found his way into a smorgasbord of demented characters. But few are as deranged—or as topical—as Peters’ Kai, a malevolent, blue-haired cult leader playing off of panic and extreme polarization within American society. To get a grasp on madness, Peters went deep. “I was just obsessed with this role,” he says.

was based on real people and fused documentary with reconstructions, they didn’t know if it would work. But I think the impact of it is that much greater because of the fact that they’re in the movie, and you get to see their real emotion. And see their parents’ reactions and emotions, which is really sad as well. Did you end up meeting the real Warren Lipka? I really wanted to talk with him, but Bart was

What did you like about Cult?

and he was searching for the love of his parents

adamant that we not because he didn’t want our

It was such a current season, politically, with our

through all of his cult members.

performances to be colored by somebody who

election, and what had happened in Charlottes-

was 10 years older, and had the hindsight of 20/20.

ville, and the general fear that was sweeping the

How did you develop his look?

I wanted to be able to talk to him and get to know

country at that time—and still is, really.

I wanted to do the blue hair. I was researching

him, learn his mannerisms, the way he talks and all

This character, Kai, was in the news. He was

the role, reading The Art of Seduction, and I just

this stuff. Bart sent us some clips of the inter-

real, it was very scary, and I wanted to get it right.

thought to myself, “When I’m walking down the

views—most of what you see in the movie—and I

You just learn a lot about the seductiveness of

street and I see somebody with blue hair, I’m

could go off a little bit of that.

these people who lure everybody in, and bring

drawn to them.” I look at them and go, “They’re

nothing but pain and suffering, under the guise of

an interesting person. They have the balls and the

through Twitter, and started talking to him a little

making the world a better place.

brass to make their hair blue.” That’s not a natural

bit. When Bart found out, it was a whole thing.

But I actually broke the rules and found Warren

color. It’s very bright, it sticks out like a sore thumb,

It was frustrating to say the least, but Bart knew

Kai is a difficult guy to know.

and it says, “Hey, look at me man.” It reminds me

what he was doing and felt it was the right thing. I

It was very hard to understand, and I kept asking

of anarchy, and Detroit, and SLC Punk!, and I love

think because it is us living our own versions of the

the writers, “What is the endgame here?” They

that. I thought that was appropriate for Kai, who

characters, it was really just putting ourselves in

said, “Look at Helter Skelter,” Charlie Manson’s

wanted to blow up the world.

this situation and then running with that. We were

whole harebrained, insane scheme to cause a race war. Then he started to make sense to me.

I love the physicality of roles. I love watching

the movie version of what was going on, but we

and listening to people in real life who are talking

were playing it as ourselves in a way, not trying to

in different voices or moving in different ways. It’s

do an external characterization of any of the guys,

was, and it’s just madness for him to get what he

fascinating to me. I always respect actors who

but really an internal characterization, understand-

wants, which is to run the world. But I really looked

take the time to work on physicality, and in this

ing why and where they’re coming from.

at his past for why he is the way that he is. His

particular season, there was so much physicality to

mother killed their abusive father, who lost his legs,

work with.

First, I had to understand what his overall plan

and then ended up killing herself, so there was an

By email, I was in so many words asking Warren, “Why did you do it? Why would you attempt to do something this crazy when you have a great life laid

immediate loss of family and connection and love.

Ryan Murphy runs American Horror Story like a

out for you?” And he said, “To hell with this boring

As a result, this hopeful, idealistic view of the world

repertory company.

life. I want to do something unique.”

got flipped into him wanting to take it all over, and

It’s incredible. It’s an opportunity to not be pigeon-

control and dominate everybody.

holed in one type of role. Ryan Murphy’s given me

I did watch a lot of movies for that role, because

opportunity after opportunity to play something

it does give you that feeling of, “I’m in a movie, I’m

through that, seeing that he was a normal person

very different from something I played last year. It’s

living this fantasy.” It’s scary how effective movies

up to this certain point, and then he just was

a very cool thing for me to be able to do, and it’s

can be. It’s a very powerful medium that I think is

unable to digest it. Everything got crisscrossed,

also nice working with the other actors. You know

sometimes abused. ★

How I was able to empathize with him was


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In movies, how cool does being a criminal look?


Dan Doperalski

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Fred d i e

decisions about Shaun’s autism, or the way that condition affects his life at the hospital, couldn’t


change. So it was a lot to figure out, because those decisions felt more meaningful than, perhaps, on other jobs, where you have a little more time to find your feet. It was more research than I’ve ever done for a character. We had about a month where I devoted my time to reading books on autism, watching

From life-taker to lifesaver, how the nosebleed transition from playing Norman Bates to playing an autistic surgeon was just what The Good Doctor ordered BY J OE U T IC H I

documentaries. We had a consultant who we had discussions with. And then, at the same time, I also had to feel free to give Shaun what makes him an individual in his own right; figure out what his desires and individual quirks are. What kind of people he might fall in love with. The things that might not necessarily have anything to do with the fact that he has autism. So it was about researching how his condition


REDDIE HIGHMORE MAY WELL BE TRYING to make amends. After spending five seasons as Psycho killer Norman Bates on Bates Motel, the British actor is now saving lives as Dr. Shaun Murphy on ABC’s runaway hit The Good Doctor. The medical drama from House creator David Shore is also going out of its way to challenge stigmas around people with autism, as Shaun takes a job as a surgical resident over the protests of higher-ups who are skeptical of his condition, and how it will affect his work. For Highmore, getting to grips with the challenges and opportunities of Shaun’s world was irresistible.

would manifest itself, but also feeling free to live in the moment when you’re there on set; to do what instinctively felt right. There’s a phrase that is often said in the autism community: once you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Shaun isn’t able to represent everybody who’s on the spectrum, nor will he ever be able to and that shouldn’t be expected. That felt freeing. You’re joining the writers’ room on Season 2,

Have you spent much time comparing and

was easy, then, and I was off, back to Vancouver. It

and will be directing an episode. You did that

contrasting Shaun with Norman Bates, who

felt like it wasn’t just an interesting character, but

on Bates Motel also. Did you entertain that

you played in Bates Motel?

an important show with an important story to tell.

idea in Season 1, or did you prefer to bed-in

Shaun is very much the opposite [laughs].

To what extent TV shows have the power to

with the character first?

Although I could discuss forever the ways in which

change the world is always debatable, and ulti-

It was a discussion that I had, and was very open

Norman wasn’t really an antihero; he had his flaws,

mately it is just a television show. But I like to think

with David about, from the beginning. I so enjoyed

but Bates was actually this beautiful love story

it’s important to portray characters like Shaun on

that level of involvement on Bates Motel of get-

between a lovely young guy and his mom!

TV in the way this show is doing, because I don’t

ting to contribute beyond acting. When I work on

think it’s been done in quite this way before.

something it becomes all-consuming for me, and

But I think what’s been refreshing to people with The Good Doctor is it’s almost a reversal of the

so as time went on with Bates, it just seemed odd

tendency to sit down and watch a dark show. It’s

What was the power of this character for you,

not to want to be involved in telling those stories.

comforting to come home at the end of a hard day

in your mind?

You put so much in for four or five months that it

and watch an episode of The Good Doctor because

I think that Shaun, hopefully, speaks not just to

felt disingenuous to go off on holiday and be like,

it’s not hard-hitting. With Bates, I think you’d prob-

people with autism, but to anyone who has felt

“See you day one and I’ll see what you’ve come up

ably want to balance watching it with watching

somewhat different or marginalized by society,

with for Norman.”

something that doesn’t make you feel dark and

or that they haven’t had their fair shot and their

scared as you go to bed.

chance to prove themselves for whatever reason. Everyone on the spectrum is different too, and

So we discussed it from the very beginning with The Good Doctor, and David was very open to that. He’s been a wonderful person to work with and a

You had three days to switch gears.

even people with autism aren’t necessarily going

collaborator. In the first season, as you say, I did

Three days, yeah, between finishing Bates and

to identify with the exact experience Shaun goes

very much want to focus on getting the character

starting The Good Doctor. It wasn’t really the plan.

through. It’s just the idea of him showing up in

right, and taking my time to do that. But I was

If you’d have asked me before I got the script, after

that workplace, in the very first episode, and the

involved as a producer from the very beginning.

the relief of finishing a season that took so much

conversations that are going on about whether

from everyone involved, I think I’d have said I was

they should have someone like Shaun working at

to be as honest as I can as an actor, a writer, and

excited about the world of possibility that opens

the hospital. You’d think society has moved on, but

a director on the show in my support of David’s

up from not being part of a television show.

I think the reality is very different.

vision. He’s a wonderful leader because he’s very

But then this script came through, and once

And just as with Bates Motel, I see it as my role

open to collaboration, and at the same time he

I’d gotten over the fact that it could be possible to

How much intensive research did you have to

has a very strong idea of what he wants to do.

find such an interesting character three days after

do into autism?

We’re very much in-sync with what that is, and we

finishing with another, I managed to reconcile that

It felt like decisions were going to be made in that

have a very similar sensibility, and a similar way of

I was just so lucky fate had intervened. Saying yes

pilot that you had to stick with, and that the bold

approaching Shaun.★


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Michael Buckner

6/7/18 10:37 PM

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6/7/18 10:37 PM


In the film All I Wish, you play a role originally written for a 25-year-old, going against old-fashioned notions of ingenues. Maggie Gyllenhaal


once said, at 37, she was told she was too old to play opposite a 55-year-old man. The same thing happened to me with Mel Gibson. When I was at the height of my career, I was told I was too old to play opposite him.

In Mosaic, the actress brings nuance and vulnerability to a role that’s so much more than a femme fatale BY A N T O N I A B LY T H

How old would you have been at that time? Oh, I don’t know, in my 30s. So in All I Wish, were you setting an example of how to change that age prejudice for women? Yes. You have to just do it. And then everyone said well obviously I didn’t represent other women of my age because I don’t look like other women of my age.

HEN STEVEN SODERBERGH SET OUT TO MAKE MOSAIC–a murder mystery surrounding a magnetic, commanding and complex female character— he had in mind one particular actress who can expertly convey all those traits with barely a blink: Sharon Stone. And in playing the doomed Olivia Lake, Stone enthusiastically dug deep into a character that was “messy and flawed and vulnerable and warts and all.” Which is not surprising, given Stone’s penchant for authenticity as her career has progressed, and her refusal to cave to the stereotypical roles on offer for older women.


Well, guess what? I do. There are other women who are just like me, and we’re in the movie business. It’s an aspirational business anyway. So, what? Are you just going to constantly find a reason to say no? Only men can be attractive after they’re 35? This is an absurdity. If you work and you try to look good, you’ll look good. If you eat right, you’ll look good. It’s not like looking good is a crime. We’re all out there trying to do our best. It’s like being your best is somehow then an affront. There’s

This role was written for you. What were the

Joel [Hedlund] calls Olivia a narcissist.

always going to be a criticism when you accomplish

initial conversations?

I think she’s a messy, real human being. When you see

something. I think that you just have to keep fighting

Well, I didn’t know a lot about it in advance. Steven

somebody in all of their private time–because Steven

the fight. And my head has been hitting that glass

called me and told me that it was a big piece, that

shot this very like a documentary–you see their

ceiling since I started getting paid after I had a big

we would each just get our own section–the script

insecurities. You see their downside, their upside, their

box office hit. You’re never going to be popular when

is 500 pages long. That it was a murder mystery and

weaknesses and their strengths.

you’re a person who’s doing that. You’re always going

that it was based on some cases that had hap-

I think she’s probably all the things that people

to be a little bit offensive. That’s all right.

pened, but wasn’t on any one particular thing. They

thought about her. And a lot of things they probably

described it as a conglomerate of characters. Ed

thought about her after she was dead, and didn’t

When Lee Cowan on CBS Sunday asked you if

Solomon, the writer, came out and we spent some

take the time to think about before, when they were

you’d been sexually harassed, you laughed so

time together. He’s so wonderful, of course, and

busy thinking about how she best served what they

hard. Is there any satisfaction in what’s happen-

interesting and funny and smart. We really got along

really wanted.

ing now, or is it too little too late?

and have remained great friends. It’s just been a really fun and intriguing process.

I think that a lot of times people think about

I grew up in the country in really rural Pennsylvania.

women only in the way that they serve them until

Where real hardworking men and women come

they’re not there to serve them anymore. I think that

from. Not at all a sophisticated environment. For the

It was shot chronologically, backwards. So by

these men all wanted something from her so much,

women where I came from, I feel certain that this

the time you came to set, you’d been the subject

that they didn’t bother to really see her, until she

movement is not yet changing their lives. I’ll have

of a shoot but you hadn’t been there. What was

wasn’t there any more.

satisfaction when that’s happening, because I grew

that like, stepping into that scenario?

up in an environment that was just absolutely without

Well, Steven took us out to dinner, the whole cast

You haven’t allowed yourself to be constrained

together. And normally, I’m pretty shy, but I tried to

by Hollywood diktats for women post-40. Has

throw in and get to know everybody. Paul Reubens

that been challenging? We haven’t seen you on

I was very, very blessed to be raised like that, by a

and I had already started to hang out together to

screen nearly as much as we used to.

father who just thought it would be absurd that I

engage in our friendship and get to know each other.

It has caused me such a limited amount of work. I’m

shouldn’t be treated like any other guy. And who

And Fred [Weller] and Garrett [Hedlund] and I got to

sure I would have worked more and been more suc-

stood up for me from the time I was a little girl

know each other and really liked each other imme-

cessful if I had wanted to be just one thing, or express

and told me to go back out there and win. He said,

diately. I think you’d see from Devin Ratray’s perfor-

one thought. But I really believe that the women that

“You’re going to get the amount of respect that you

mance what an extraordinary talent and amazing

I know are not one thing or one thought. It’s been

demand—not ask for, demand.”

guy he is and I was of course delighted to work with

much more interesting to take my time and to play

Jennifer Ferrin, who played Fred Weller’s sister. It was

multi-dimensional women.

a very small group of us. We all lived in the same hotel

This woman was a very interesting character to

thought and care for how women felt about anything. My father was the first real feminist I ever knew.

But it took a man to stand up for me to make that true in my life. And until we educate our men and boys, we’re not going to have that. I will feel better

residence, so we hung out together. It was a little like

me. This woman is flawed, like we all are. And loving,

when we get this happening for little boys and girls all

college. It was really sweet.

like we all are. And she’s trying.

over the world. ★


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Michael Buckner

6/7/18 10:41 PM

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6/7/18 10:41 PM

Susan Kelechi


Beth is usually so poised. Will we see her get a little messy in Season 3? You know what, I think she will. Let’s be honest, there’s story that needs to be told, and the family’s obviously at a place where there’s this crossroads happening for all of them, which is what sort of breaks open the drama, right? At the end of the day, maybe we just haven’t

The This is Us star on becoming a surprise fan favorite and not being killed off just yet B Y A N T O N I A B LY T H

looked deep into Beth’s closet yet. Once we open up whatever her Pandora’s box is, we’ll see how she deals with it. But at her core, I believe there’s strength. I believe there is a part of her that is used to dealing with a lot of different issues at once. So let’s see what happens when that is challenged by her own personal issues. We did see Beth having some more dramatic moments towards the end of last season,

HEN SUSAN KELECHI WATSON first appeared as Beth Pearson in NBC’s mega-hit This is Us, her steady, supporting character could have become just a foil to onscreen husband Sterling K. Brown’s lead role. But she brought such gravitas and complexity to the role that, when a flash forward at the end of Season 2 prompted rumors Beth might be killed off, fans began an online campaign to save her. Now, deservedly surrounded by Emmy buzz, she reassures us that not only is Beth not doomed to die anytime soon, but we’ll be seeing a great deal more of her in Season 3.


especially during the trip to Vegas. I loved this idea of, OK, cool, let’s just put something behind us and have a good time. It came off as her being a little bit harder about it, but it wasn’t that. It was like: I have to think about this every minute of every day and I have to deal with the pain of that. I’m just trying to try over here, I’m just trying to hold on. And if somebody’s given us a weekend away from this, I’m going to take it. Laura [Kenar] was our writer for that episode. It was so honest and so real, and the argument that her and Randall had was so raw and so real, and

Beth is by far your biggest role to date—has

her background was, of what she’s fighting for, and

it wasn’t trying to be cute, it wasn’t trying to wrap

the show’s massive success been a strange

who she is, because that is my part in it. She gets

anything up with bow. It was like, “Are you serious

experience for you?

to reveal herself a little more slowly than the others

right now? Can we have a moment where there’s

Finally breaking through and coming to the other

so she sort of remains this surprise that we keep

just no drama?”

side of something felt really great. It felt like I just

learning about. And it gives us the opportunity to

reached this new level, but I didn’t know the suc-

tease her out a little bit more.

cess that it was going to be. There was no way to

And so this has, to me, started to show what we’re cracking into with Beth. What is underneath the surface, what is she dealing with, how does

predict that This is Us was going to be what it is;

Fans really panicked when they saw Randall

that affect her? And I’m fairly certain from the

that it would really resonate with people. But once

without Beth in the flash forward at the end

conversations I’ve had with the writers that we’re

it did, we were right in the midst of it, so it was hard

of Season 2. Are they right to be worried?

going to delve more into that next season.

to wrap your brain around as it was happening. We

I thought it was hilarious. I was like, “Oh, they think

were still in this bubble at the very beginning, but I

I’m going to die. Oh, I get it it’s like one of those

What sort of feedback have you had from the

felt really good about it because they let us see the

urban legend things that somebody was making

series’ viewers?

pilot before it aired, and I thought, “Oh, wow. Wait,

up.” But then people were really expressing this

With my representation of a black woman in the

was it just me or was that really good?”

love for her and they’re like, “You better not kill

world today, there’s such a powerful response

Beth off!”

from my community about what it means to have

Was Beth always intended to be this dynamic

It’s just so lovely. I was so surprised by it, of

black representation on television. That response

or did the writers adjust the role when they

course grateful for it, and didn’t expect it. There

is so overwhelming and so strong that I just have to

saw what you could do with her?

were all these articles either wishing Beth the best

express my own gratitude for it, because I under-

Honestly, they didn’t quite know what direction

or threatening the writers if they killed her off. But I

stand the necessity for it. I grew up with that need.

they were going to go in with Beth yet, and so

talked with Dan [Fogelman, creator] about it, and

I still have that need. I’m thankful that I get to fulfill

there’s this really cool symbiotic thing that starts

we had a good laugh about it. He was like, “Did you

that need for so many.

to happen. The more I play the character, the

see this? We don’t have any plans to kill Beth off.”

more food it kind of gives the writers to go, “Oh,

That’s when a show means the most, when you

the camaraderie. They just feel like I’m their best

we can go in this direction, or this direction. We’re

see how invested our audience is, and how they’re

friend; this character’s their best friend, and so

learning about the character through the actor.”

really tracking with us, which is just awesome. It

many women say, “I’m just like you.” Or the goal

So it goes back and forth. But I was very invested

makes me want to go so much further with her

is to sort of be similar to Beth, and it gives them a

in the beginning, and although I didn’t know much

and continue to bring as much life and integrity to

way to kind of strategize and it helps them to move

about her, I was giving her my own sense of what

her as I possibly can.

through their life. ★


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Then there’s the aspect of me as a woman and


Mark Mann

6/7/18 10:45 PM

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6/7/18 10:46 PM

Sydelle Noel and Marc Maron

Simon Quarterman

Justin Prentice, Anne Winters, Chelsea Alden and Timothy Granaderos

Deadline Emmy Season Kickoff Party JUNE 4, LOS ANGELES Talent behind shows like 13 Reasons Why, Westworld, Dear White People, The Good Doctor and many more danced and dined the night away on the rooftop of the Dream Hotel in Hollywood. See more photos at

Young Beardo, Jimmy O. Yang

Sherman Augustus, Lewis Tan

DeVaughn Nixon and Bryan Craig

Matt Iseman

Wilson Cruz

Richard Schiff


Justina Machado

Jonathan Tucker

Lisa Edelstein


Norman Lear

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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6/7/18 10:25 PM

Untitled-26 1

6/6/18 12:36 PM

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6/6/18 12:36 PM

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