David Lynch Tonight Show
February 18, 1997 appearance.

Leno: My next guest is an Oscar nominated director who's works include Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. His latest movie is called "Lost Highway." Rolling Stone magazine said it is the best film he has ever made. It opens in theaters this Friday. Please welcome David Lynch.

Leno: You know, we haven't seen you in a while. (someone in the audience yells out). You see, you have many fans. It's good to see you again. You haven't even been in this studio, that shows you how long ago it was.

Lynch: That's true Jay.

Leno: But you look good.

Lynch: Thanks. I've been trying to catch ideas.

Leno: Huh? Yeah. Have you been working out? You look like you're staying in shape.

Lynch: No sir, I haven't.

Leno: No, you don't work out? You're not a...?

Lynch: I'm on a diet though.

Leno: Well, that's kind of working out. Any special diet? Just you're own...you make it up yourself?

Lynch: Uh, it was made up for me. And it works. It works fantastically.

Leno: But I mean, is it like...I mean is it one of those where you buy the video and you have to eat along with the lady in the thing or is it...?

Lynch: No it's just a...you don't eat...so much. I think.

Leno: You don't eat...that's my Italian grandmother (In bad Italian accent): "You don't eat so much" diet. Do you own any exercise equipment? Are you...?

Lynch: I own a treadmill.

Leno: Oh. Well, that's pretty good. Do you use that?

Lynch: No.

(Audience laughs)

Leno: No, you don't ever...

Lynch: Ah, the treadmill, um...

Leno: The hold their value you know.

Lynch: Yeah. It's a very heavy treadmill, and it was delivered in the car port and I had to make room for it in the garage.

Leno: Right.

Lynch: And so six months went by before it went in there.

Leno: So it stayed outside?

Lynch: Yeah, in a box. And then, when we plugged it in, it didn't work - fortunately.

Leno: Oh, it didn't work. And you felt no need to fix it. Are you a mechanical person?

Lynch: I am a mechanical person.

Leno: Yeah? I know you're very artistic, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can fix things.

Lynch: Yeah.

Leno: But you are mechanically inclined?

Lynch: I'm mechanically inclined.

Leno: Oh that's good.

Lynch: But I haven't paid any attention to this treadmill though.

Leno: No?

Lynch: No.

Leno: What are you more inclined? Are you like a automotive guy, or plumbing guy, or carpenter guy?

Lynch: I installed hot water heaters for a while.

Leno: Oh, that's right.

Lynch: We talked about this. When I was making Eraserhead, I delivered the Wall Street Journal and installed hot water heaters.

Leno: Now how is a hot water heater different than a water heater?

Lynch: Uh, a hot water heater starts with very hot water.

Leno: Oh, I see. So you just have to put hot water...that takes more skill.

Lynch: It just goes hotter now. (Everyone is laughing)

Leno: Now we were talking before we interrupted you...

Lynch: (Pointing at Leno) This is one funny guy here.

Leno: It's like cold ice cubes. Like really cold ice cubes.

Lynch: Exactly.

Leno: We wanted to ask you about rules of the road. We were talking about driving and then I had to run out here and do the monologue.

Lynch: Well, there's a scene in the film that has something to do with rules of the road. And it just strikes me that we could talk about what's happening in Los Angeles and maybe many places in the world: People are going through red lights.

Leno: That's a big problem.

Lynch: It's a big problem. And I understand the frustration of the light turning yellow and the cars in front are going ahead. But it's extremely important to stop at a red light. (Audience cheers and claps.)

Leno: Is that really a topic of debate? I mean, do you find yourself in cafes and restaurants... people arguing the run the red light theory?

Lynch: No.

Leno: Do you like to drive.?

Lynch: I love to drive.

Leno: So you enjoy driving.

Lynch: I enjoy driving.

Leno: And you always stop at the red lights?

Lynch: I always stop, because if we all want to get there quicker and safer we have to obey the rules. (Audience applauds)

Leno: I couldn't agree more. One thing, you can't say you don't get the hard hitting opinions on this program.

Lynch: Thanks exactly right.

Leno: The traffic jams...do you get frustrated?

Lynch: Very frustrated. You have to sit on the frustration (audience laughs) and a good tip for...

Leno: Sit on the frustration?

Lynch: Let someone into traffic, and you feel better, and they feel better.

Leno: Well I do, I'm a very polite...

Lynch: And this is a beautiful thing because it goes on through the day.

Leno: It just goes on throughout the whole day. Now let me ask you a question. You've got this new film which they're calling your best. Congratulations by the way.

Lynch: Thank you very much.

Leno: I know you used to do short films. What's the shortest film you ever did?

Lynch: One minute.

Leno: One minute?

Lynch: A one minute film.

Leno: Now it doesn't seem like you can get a lot of plot...

Lynch: No. It was plotless.

Leno: Now what was the name of it? Is this an idea you came up with at a red light by any chance?

Lynch: No.

Leno: What was it about? Tell me the story...a minute tell me what the minute film was about.

Lynch: Maybe it will take hopefully shorter than a minute. I was looking at a painting I had done, and it was a very dark painting. And it was in...a painting inside a garden with very tall plants. Picture it at night, and a figure not quite human coming out of the darkness. And I saw the thing move and I heard a wind, and I became very interested in animation.

(Audience laughs)

Leno: I'm always curious, like when you have a one minute film, how do you go through it to like, pick out the coming attraction. You want to make a trailer for this. I'm just curious as to which scenes you pick.

Lynch: That's a problem.

(They laugh)

Leno: I just don't know how that works. Now tell me about the current film actually. Because this one, this clip I saw...I always try to see the films, but I couldn't get a screening of yours this week.

Lynch: Exactly.

Leno: But, this looks so odd. To me, the scariest films are not the ones with monsters, they're the ones with people. And this scene with Robert Blake is really scary to me. I don't know what makes it scary. Obviously the way it's directed, but tell us what the film is about.

Lynch: I can't tell you what it's about, except maybe a story of a man in trouble.

Leno: A man in trouble?

Lynch: And it's maybe beautifully uneasy.

Leno: Yeah. Well, it made me uneasy to see this clip. Robert Blake...well Robert Blake is a terrific actor, but he is really creepy in this scene. Look at this scene. Here we go. Now that's Bill Pullman, right?

Lynch: Right. (They view the scene where the Mystery Man has Fred call him at his house.)


Leno: Folks, the film is called Lost Highway, and congratulations on the terrific, terrific reviews. Good to see. Come see us more often.

Lynch: You bet Jay.

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