The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
October 31, 2001

Leno: My next guest is an Oscar nominated director who's works include Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, my favorite, The Straight Story, which you should rent tomorrow. Great Film. His latest film has gotten terrific reviews as well, Mulholland Drive. I didn't understand it, but I really liked it. I'll watch it again. It's in theaters right now. David Lynch!


(Lynch walks out on stage)

Leno: How are you David. Good to see ya. Have a seat. Welcome back.

Lynch: It's good to be back Jay.

Leno: Are you a Halloween kind of guy?

Lynch: In Hollywood we're kind of use to seeing strange creatures going around, 24/7

Leno: Yes, that's what I mean. This is just kind of like casual Wednesday to us.

Lynch: Exactly right.

Leno: I mean, do you hand out candy. Do you do that?

Lynch: I have done that.

Leno: You have done it.

Lynch: I have done it, yeah.

Leno: But you're not doing it this year?

Lynch: No. I'm hear with you tonight.

Leno: That's right you are. Nice to have you here.

(audience applauds)

Leno: You know, your films always have... the making of this film almost seems as quirky as the film. This thing didn't even start out as a movie did it? Didn't this, this Mulholland Drive, start out as a TV show?

Lynch: This started out as an open-ended television pilot.

Leno: Now what does that mean, open ended television pilot?

Lynch: The threads are not tied up at the end. They're open. And you don't know where things are going to go, but you're compelled to see. And, so it's open. That's a problem when you are going to go to a feature film.

Leno: So, you do this... you start out with this open ended TV show, who was it ABC?

Lynch: ABC television.

Leno: Okay, listen, I've got this thing, it's Mulholland Drive, it's open ended, we don't know where it's going. So how does it get to be...did they pass on it?

Lynch: They hated this pilot.

Leno: Now why? What was it they hated? Because I enjoyed it.

Lynch: I understand. You didn't saw the feature film. They saw the open ended pilot.

Leno: The see, that open ended thing...

Lynch: Maybe that's what freaked them out...

Leno: Maybe that's scary, because if you say it doesn't have a beginning or an end, in the middle is where...that could be frightening. What that the part...

Lynch: That's the nature of a pilot though, to be open ended. But they hated it and they killed it. And, they never called me to tell me why. It just was sent though third parties.

Leno: Wow, it's like high school dating.

Lynch: Yes, sort of like that.

Leno: So okay. I assume they bought it, they paid for it, they owned it?

Lynch: They bought it, they paid for it, they owned it.

Leno: Now, how do you get it back. Did you have to go buy it back?

Lynch: It was Canal+, a great French company, who went and spent a year getting it back, buying it for themselves.

Leno: Oh, so they bought it, for an open ended French pilot?

Lynch: No, they gave me the beautiful opportunity to turn it into a feature film.

Leno: Oh, so they called, (in bad French accent) "Oh mister Lynch, we have seen your films..." I mean, how do the French do the do people in France find out about a pilot in Hollywood that some executive hated and nobody saw.

Lynch: Well, they're friends of mine, and they produced the Straight Story.

Leno: Oh, okay!

Lynch: You see what I mean Jay.

Leno: So they know you do good work.

Lynch: Yeah. Or, they feel that. So, they allowed it to become a feature film, and I'm very grateful for that.

Leno: So, the open-ended pilot...because the movie has some very sexy scenes.

Lynch: Yes.

Leno: Which I assume was not in the open ended pilot.

Lynch: You liked those scenes Jay.

Leno: It was very good. The two girls were terrific.

Lynch: Fantastic

Leno: So, can you describe the movie. Because it's hard for me to describe. I liked it, and I like movies where I have to try to figure out what it was and maybe go back and look at it. Because I found it very compelling to watch. Can you describe it? You're the director...

Lynch: Okay, film is it's own language. And a film's an entity. And it's a horrible shame to translate that language back into words and describe it in words. It is the film's...

Leno: Now you sound like Clinton talking to Hillary. Now it sounds to me like you said "I'm not going to tell you what it's about, you have to figure it out for yourself.

Lynch: That's exactly right. That's the beauty of things. And it shouldn't be translated back into words, it should be experienced. I had to describe it in a sentence at Cannes and I said it's a love story in the city of dreams. But that doesn't say much.


Leno: That's pretty good. I did find it compelling and and wanted to see more. Now what is the clip we're going to see? This is the clip with the director?

Lynch: This is a scene with Adam Kesher, the director and Camilla Rhodes. I'm not going to say all the names. It's a scene that's sort of self-explanatory.

Leno: It a scene that's self-explanatory in an open-ended pilot. Let's take a look. Mulholland Drive....

(They show a clip from the film)

leno3.jpg  leno4.jpg

Leno: Now, is that how you direct? Have you ever directed a scene like that?

Lynch: This is one of the great things about directing.

Leno: So, have you done that. Is it a little bit autobiographical?

Lynch: With all the girls, it sometimes can happen.

Leno. It sometimes can happen.

Lynch: I wish, yeah.

Leno: Now, what do you do in your free time? I'm curious. Do you have some time off?

Lynch: I don't. I like to work Jay.

Leno: Do you whittle?

Lynch: I'm involved in many things. It's not exactly work. It's painting and still photography and I'm working on the internet.

Leno: What was your last vacation?

Lynch: (after a long pause) I don't know.


Leno: You don't seem like a beach guy.

Lynch: No, I don't go to the beach.

Leno: You don't seem like a warm climate...

Lynch: Do you go to the beach?

Leno: No, I went to the beach in '73. I went to the nude beach. I was flying a kite and this girl says, "Are you a comedian?" and I never went back. When you get recognized at the nude beach, I said that's it, I'm not going there ever again.

Lynch: You betcha. Can I say hello to my friend Judy?

Leno: Well who's Judy?

Lynch: She's a friend. Hello Judy (Lynch waves)


Leno: Now who is Judy? What's she do?

Lynch: She's just a friend.

Leno: Now you see, is she an open-ended friend?

Lynch: Open-ended, yeah.

Leno: Where's Judy now?

Lynch: She's in America.

Leno: She's in America. Alright, okay. Anyway, the film's called Mulholland Drive. Folks, it's really well done. It's very interesting. If you like to think when you go to movies and like to figure things out...and I mean that in the best sense of the way.

Lynch: Bless your heart Jay.

Leno: It's not for dumb people. It's an interesting movie. And very, very sexy. You have some very sexy scenes in there. It's called Mulholland Drive It's in theaters right now. David Lynch. David, thank you very much.

Lynch: Thank you very much.

Copyright 2001 National Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Back to the Mulholland Drive articles page.