David Lynch, known for iconic works like “Twin Peaks” and “Mulholland Drive,” has several unmade projects. These projects offer a glimpse into Lynch’s creative process and what audiences might have experienced. Through available information and interviews, we explore the uncharted territories of Lynch’s imagination, gaining insight into the mind behind the eerie narratives.
‘Woodcutters from Fiery Ships’
“Woodcutters from Fiery Ships” was a project where David Lynch collaborated with Synergy Interactive, a Japanese video game company, to develop a computer game in 1998. The game’s narrative was centered around mysterious events in a bungalow in Los Angeles, with woodcutters appearing to take a man believed to have witnessed these events. Their ship, fueled by logs, was described as a 1930s style silver ship. However, due to concerns that its complex story would not appeal to gamers, the project was cancelled in 19991.
The Audrey Horne ‘Twin Peaks’ Spin-Off That Morphed into ‘Mulholland Drive'”
The whimsical world of “Twin Peaks” left audiences with an array of memorable characters and storylines, one of which is Audrey Horne’s peculiar marriage to Charlie and her affair with Billy. However, if David Lynch had had his way initially, Audrey’s story would have veered down a different path. Post the cancellation of “Twin Peaks” by ABC in 1991, Lynch along with Mark Frost, envisioned a spin-off centered around Sherilyn Fenn’s character, Audrey, as she navigates through a complex noir narrative in Los Angeles. Although this project never materialized as intended, it laid the foundation for what would later become Lynch’s iconic film, “Mulholland Drive.” The evolution of this project, from a spin-off to a standalone masterpiece, underscores the fluidity and boundless creativity in Lynch’s storytelling approach.
Lynch’s Phantom Project ‘Wisteria/Unrecorded Night’
As 2020 saw the rumors of Lynch’s return to television with a 13-episode Netflix series titled ‘Wisteria/Unrecorded Night,’ the speculative fires were stoked anew. Although shrouded in mystery with an intriguing connection to “Twin Peaks,” this $85 million project became a focal point of discussion within the Lynch fandom, especially with the whisper of Twin Peaks’ realm echoing through a diner on Wisteria Street in Odessa, Texas. As the series didn’t come to fruition on Netflix, the speculative embers continue to glow, fueled by cryptic social media posts from Lynch’s close collaborators. This piece delves into the ephemeral nature of ‘Wisteria/Unrecorded Night,’ exploring what it could have entailed and its elusive ties to the enigmatic universe of “Twin Peaks.”
The Unseen Marilyn Narrative by Lynch and Frost
Before the eerie woods of “Twin Peaks” were brought to life, the creative duo David Lynch and Mark Frost embarked on a cinematic venture to explore the mystique surrounding Marilyn Monroe. Inspired by Anthony Summers’ book “Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe,” they conceived a film titled “Venus Descending” during the late 1980s. Veering towards a fictional narrative akin to Andrew Dominick’s “Blonde,” the project would have portrayed Monroe under the pseudonym Rosilyn Ramsey, navigating a reality far from the glitter of Hollywood. Though the script never blossomed into a film, the rumored plot of Ramsey being entangled with a fictionalized Bobby Kennedy highlights the bold storytelling avenues Lynch and Frost were willing to tread.
Dream of the Bovine
Conceived alongside “Twin Peaks” writer Robert Engels, this whimsical narrative was set to chronicle the lives of three former cows striving to blend into human society in Van Nuys. With a brief casting of Harry Dean Stanton in the 1990s, the project hinted at a surreal exploration of identity and belonging, a theme often revisited by Lynch. The script, characterized by its quirky premise, even caught the fleeting attention of Marlon Brando, though it failed to charm the esteemed actor.
The Unmade Vision of ‘Ronnie Rocket'”
Post the eerie allure of “Eraserhead,” David Lynch found himself entangled in the electric whimsy of “Ronnie Rocket.” Drafting several renditions of a screenplay filled with terror and peculiarity, Lynch envisioned the tale of Ronald d’Arte, a three-foot tall man transformed into an electrically charged being post an eccentric surgery. Embracing his newfound abilities, Ronnie embarks on a melodic journey, dabbling in music. Over the decades, the script tantalizingly hovered on the verge of reality with heavyweights like Mel Brooks and Francis Ford Coppola showing interest.
Lynch’s Unrealized Sequels to ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’
Following the enigmatic narrative of “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,” David Lynch aspired to extend the eerie lore of Twin Peaks through a series of sequels. Liberated from the constraints of network television, these films were envisioned as a pathway to delve deeper into the haunting mysteries enveloping the quaint town. However, the stark depiction of sexual violence in the prequel diverged from the show’s earlier tone, drawing a wedge between Lynch and some members of his audience and cast. This discord, coupled with the tepid reception of the series’ latter episodes, stalled the sequels in their tracks.
‘Antelope Don’t Run No More’
Since the abstract terrains of 2006’s “Inland Empire,” David Lynch has remained absent from the domain of feature films, navigating instead through television and visual arts. Despite his outspoken critiques of the contemporary film industry, 2010 saw a flicker of Lynch’s cinematic passion in the form of “Antelope Don’t Run No More.” Revealed in his enigmatic pseudo-memoir “Room to Dream,” this script promised a Lynchian odyssey filled with space aliens, articulate animals, and the musically inclined Pinky. However, like an elusive dream, the project never took flight, making way for Lynch’s subsequent venture back into the haunting woods of Twin Peaks.
David Lynch, a self-proclaimed admirer of Franz Kafka, once endeavored to transform the haunting narrative of “The Metamorphosis” into cinematic reality. Drawn to the dark humor and surreal transition of Gregor Samsa, the tale’s protagonist who morphs into an insect, Lynch saw a reflection of his own storytelling ethos. As he embarked on this ambitious project, the limitations of the late 80s emerged as insurmountable barriers. The exorbitant costs and the era’s nascent technology thwarted the creation of a convincing colossal insect, integral to the narrative. Lynch, unwilling to dilute his vision, shelved the project, redirecting his creative energies elsewhere. His sentiments from the experience were encapsulated in his 1993 book, “Lynch on Lynch,” where he remarked, “If you told me you could build a perfect beetle then I would concentrate”.
‘One Saliva Bubble’
After the acclaim of “Blue Velvet,” David Lynch joined forces with Mark Frost, his soon-to-be partner on “Twin Peaks,” to pen down a dark yet slapstick comedy titled “One Saliva Bubble.” Set in Newtonville, Kansas, the narrative unfolds as a security guard’s saliva bubble triggers a bizarre shift in the townspeople’s personalities, courtesy of a secret government project. The tale, rife with elements of concealed identity and altered consciousness, characteristic of Lynch’s storytelling, promised a humorous journey with Steve Martin and Martin Short at the helm. However, the envisioned laughter never resonated on screen as production stumbled and the project was left in the archives. Yet, through Lynch’s recounting in his 2018 memoir, the whimsical essence of “One Saliva Bubble” still offers a glimpse into the comedic flair nested within his creative psyche, portraying it as a “feel-good movie” that unfortunately never saw the light of day.
Upon embarking on his filmmaking journey at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, David Lynch nurtured the seeds of a surreal horror narrative titled “Gardenback.” The plot, as bizarre as it sounds, centered around a man with a garden sprouting on his back, housing a large insect within. However, as the financial patrons yearned for a more conventional script, “Gardenback” was left unharvested. Lynch’s recollection of this early endeavor paints a vivid picture of his creative process, “My first year at the Center was spent rewriting a forty-five-page script I wrote called ‘Gardenback,’” he reminisced in an interview. “The whole thing unfolded from this painting I’d done. The script had a story, in my mind, and it had what some people could call a ‘monster’ in it. When you look at a girl, something crosses from her to you. And in this story, that something is an insect.” The artistic metamorphosis soon led Lynch towards the eerie lanes of “Eraserhead,” marking the start of a distinctive and illustrious cinematic voyage.