If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head at the end of Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks, don’t be too hard on yourself: Kyle MacLachlan has admitted that he “[doesn’t] pretend to understand” the work of David Lynch, despite being one of the eccentric director’s go-to stars.
MacLachlan reflected on how Lynch impacted his early career in a new interview with The AV Club, where he recalled debuting as the valiant nobleman Paul Atreides in the filmmaker’s 1984 adaptation of Dune: “The roles that came following Dune…were more in my wheelhouse,” MacLachlan said, referencing his other characters like the curious college student Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet and the quick-witted FBI special agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. “That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t and I’m still not intrigued with the idea of playing a character that is, you know, maybe not necessarily a Marvel character, but someone who is in a heroic capacity. But maybe it’s just not going to be a straightforward action film.”
Interviewer Todd Gilchrist then asked MacLachlan about how Blue Velvet’s incendiary depiction of suburbia influenced the roles he’d choose for himself later on: “I don’t think that I was that conscious of it, to be honest,” MacLachlan responded. “I was fresh out of school and just learning my chops, and suddenly I’m working with one of the great filmmakers, surreal filmmakers in the world. And I don’t pretend to understand much of what David does, but I do recognize that I’m his conduit through these worlds, and that’s a challenge — and also, I feel pretty good about that.”
He went on: “There’s still the large chunks of data [about Lynch’s scripts] that I don’t understand, and I don’t need to understand, honestly. His movies are experiential, really, and they ask a lot of questions, but there are not a lot of answers provided.”
Considering MacLachlan has continued to work with Lynch regularly for almost four decades, the actor still manages to have a great rapport with the filmmaker: “I think he knows exactly what he’s doing and what he wants to create, but I don’t think I always understand why,” MacLachlan added. “But oftentimes I find I’m pretty intuitive and I follow what he needs… And we just have a lovely shorthand together when we work.”
Stars — they’re just like us! MacLachlan most recently starred as a quirky art dealer opposite Jon Hamm in Confess, Fletch, and he’ll soon appear in Prime Video’s upcoming Fallout series. Earlier this year, he starred as Tiger King phenom Carole Baskin’s husband in Peacock’s Joe vs. Carole.