David Lynch has proved for decades that he is one of the most unique auteurs in Hollywood. We here at Factinate have previously talked about his diverse and bizarre films, but now we’re going to focus on the man, the legend, himself. Is he really as “out there” as his filmography would have us believe? Keep reading to find out more.
1. He Builds His Own Furniture
As you would imagine from any self-respecting auteur, Lynch isn’t just a filmmaker. He is also skilled in the designing and building of furniture. If you want to find out whether he’s any good at it, don’t take our word for it. Go see his films, because a lot of the furniture he builds has made an appearance onscreen.
2. He’s A Hitchcock Fan
Like many movie buffs, Lynch named Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo as one of his favorite films. Another film he named was The Wizard of Oz. You can actually find references to the latter film in much of Lynch’s work, particularly Wild at Heart.
3. He’s A Mid-Westerner
David Keith Lynch was born on the 20th of January, 1946, in a small town called Missoula in Montana. He was the child of Donald and Edwina Lynch.
4. He Has His Own Word
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Lynchian” as “characteristic, reminiscent, or imitative of the works of David Lynch.” In case you’re still unclear, the OED helpfully points out that “Lynch is noted for juxtaposing surreal or sinister elements with mundane, everyday environments, and for using compelling visual images to emphasize a dreamlike quality of mystery or menace.”
5. He Has A Hidden Talent
Lynch is also an accomplished painter in his own right. He studied painting at both Corcoran School of Arts and Design in Washington D.C. and Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Many prominent critics have praised Lynch’s paintings, including film critic Roger Ebert while he was supposed to be reviewing a film of Lynch’s.
6. He Had A Nomadic Childhood
Lynch’s father, Donald Walton Lynch, worked as a research scientist for the US Department of Agriculture. This resulted in the family moving across the United States several times. During his youth, Lynch lived in such states as Virginia, Idaho, North Carolina, and Washington.
7. He Was The Cannes Champion
Many of Lynch’s films have been nominated for the Palme D’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. While only one of them, Wild at Heart, actually won this award, Lynch also won the Best Director award at Cannes for Mulholland Drive.
8. He’s A Music Lover
In 2011, Lynch joined forces with the popular English New Wave band, Duran Duran. Lynch directed one of their concerts, which they held in Los Angeles and streamed live on Youtube.
9. A Famous Comedian Took A Chance On Him
Around 1980, renowned comedian Mel Brooks offered Lynch the chance to write and direct a serious film that he wanted to produce. This led to The Elephant Man becoming a massive success for both men, earning no fewer than eight Academy Award nominations, including two for Lynch himself for Best Director and Best Screenplay.
10. He’s Multi-Talented
In case you didn’t know how multifaceted Lynch is, he’s also written the music for many of his film projects. He has no fewer than 35 soundtrack credits on IMDb.
11. He Has A Protégée
Speaking of music, Lynch is the mentor of musician Julee Cruise, who also acted in Twin Peaks. Lynch not only wrote lyrics for her first two albums, but he also occasionally played instruments when she was recording her music in the first place.
12. He Had A Serious Evolution
Ever since he worked on Eraserhead, Lynch has lived a lifestyle free of smoking, drinking, and maintains a vegetarian diet. To be fair, we thought watching Eraserhead was pretty trippy, so we’re not surprised if actually making the movie will scare you into a lifestyle change.
13. He Has A Strange Habit
Most of us have a restaurant or café as our own personal watering hole that we regularly visit, but Lynch took it several steps further than that. For nearly eight years of his life, Lynch had meals at a place called Bob’s Big Boy in Los Angeles. Our question now is whether he ate the same order each time or not!
14. He’s Obsessive
As you can imagine, eating at the same place for eight years will make you slightly dependent on that routine. When Lynch left Los Angeles for London to shoot the film The Elephant Man, he actually struggled with the loss of his regular diner until he found a similar locale to replace it.
15. He Was In A Danger Zone
In the late 1960s, Lynch was living in Philadelphia, studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He also became a husband and father for the first time while he lived there, and the family managed to get cheap housing in a very rough and violent neighborhood. Lynch himself reflected that their house was robbed just three days after they moved in, and later heard that a child was shot on their street. This would certainly explain some of his subsequent films.
16. He Tried Out Television
Following the popularity of Twin Peaks in the early 1990s, Lynch decided to pursue television with various new projects. One of these was a documentary series titled American Chronicles, examining what living in the US is like, and another was a comedy series titled On the Air. Ironically, this comedy series was already off the air after just three episodes.
17. He Made A Big Switch
While many auteurs such as Quentin Tarantino insist on shooting their movies on film, Lynch has not followed them down the same path. At the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Lynch announced that he was so impressed with the possibilities of digital filmmaking that he’d focus on filmmaking in that format from here on out.
18. He’s A Guru
In July 1973, Lynch was initiated into the specific meditation practice known as Transcendental Meditation. He even got to meet the original founder of the practice, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in 1975. Since then, Lynch continues to advocate for the use of Transcendental Meditation.
19. He Embraces Technology
In 2001, Lynch launched his own exclusive website known, rather obviously, as davidlynch.com. For a price, visitors may check out the site, personally designed by Lynch, and look at interviews of this legendary auteur and several of the projects he has released online.
20. He Has Never Won An Oscar
During his career thus far, Lynch has received four Academy Award nominations. Two of these were for the film The Elephant Man (Best Director and Best Screenplay), while he also received Best Director nominations for Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. Believe it or not, though, David Lynch has actually never won an Oscar.
21. He Made An Embarrassing Mistake
As any Lynch fan will know, he worked with Italian actress Isabella Rossellini on two films in his career, Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. According to Lynch, a mutual friend introduced him to Rossellini in a restaurant during pre-production of Blue Velvet. Lynch was struck by Rossellini’s poise and grace, stating “You could be Ingrid Bergman’s daughter.” His friend then admonished him, pointing out that Rossellini really was Bergman’s daughter.
22. He Really Loves Coffee
We’re probably not going to shock anyone when we say that Lynch is an enthusiastic fan of coffee, but in between all his artwork, Lynch has also developed his own line of organic coffee blends. You can find these blends for sale on Lynch’s website, or else in Whole Foods.
23. He Almost Directed A Star Wars Film
We can’t imagine what everyone’s reaction was to the horror show that was Eraserhead, but one man was inspired to offer Lynch a job because of it. After watching this freaky film in 1977, George Lucas gave Lynch the chance to direct Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. As baffling a collaboration as this might have been, Lynch turned down the opportunity, as he thought his vision would clash too much with Lucas’s. To be fair, he wasn’t wrong!
24. He’s A Cartoon
It might baffle you to know, but Lynch provided voice work on The Cleveland Show, Seth MacFarlane’s less popular Family Guy spinoff. Lead actor Mike Henry is a long-time Lynch fan, and he somehow persuaded the director to act as Gus the Bartender in the show. We honestly have no idea how Lynch must have reacted when Henry first explained what the show was about!
25. He Had A Comeback
In 2017, Lynch finally returned to the world of Twin Peaks with a third season to his cult classic TV series. Lynch has gone on record stating that working on Twin Peaks again has been one of the best experiences of his professional life.
26. He Almost Backed Out Of His Biggest Project
Of course, as much as Lynch gushed about how glad he was to work on Twin Peaks again, he very nearly didn’t do it. In April 2015, Lynch announced that he was no longer on the production, citing budgetary restraints as his primary reason. However, just over a month later, Lynch clarified that not only was he back, the number of episodes had increased.
27. His Daughter Is Following In His Footsteps
Lynch isn’t the only member of his family to have a directing career in Hollywood. His daughter, Jennifer Lynch, has spent the 2010s being one of the busiest television directors working today. She’s directed episodes of Quantico, Teen Wolf, American Horror Story, and various television series under the Marvel banner.
28. He Has Devoted Actors
Speaking of Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer’s feature directing debut was the 1993 drama Boxing Helena. The film co-starred actress Sherilyn Fenn, who’d previously worked with Lynch on both Wild at Heart and Twin Peaks.
29. He Saved The Day
Some of Lynch’s inspirations include Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, and Werner Herzog. In the case of the latter, Lynch actually got the chance to work with Herzog on his 2009 arthouse drama My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? Lynch stepped in to produce the film after Herzog couldn’t find anyone else.
30. His Film Inspired A Legend
While Stanley Kubrick was shooting The Shining, he insisted that his cast and crew all watch Eraserhead, Lynch’s feature directorial debut. Kubrick was adamant that this was the perfect film to get everyone in the mood to shoot a horror film. We can only imagine how stoked Lynch was when he heard that bit of trivia!
31. He Banned One Feature From His DVDs
For those of you old enough to remember, films in DVD format come in chapters under “Scene Selection” in case you want to skip to a specific part of the film. However, Lynch would have none of that! Any DVD release of his films with his approval don’t have the “Scene Selection” option, as Lynch thinks people should see a film from start to finish.
32. He Doesn’t Explain Himself
Another thing Lynch omits from his DVD releases is an audio commentary on his films. Despite the existence of so many cinephiles who would give their back teeth for Lynch’s insight into his own films, Lynch believes that his films must speak for themselves, so we won’t be getting any commentary from him any time soon.
33. He Has A Big Brood
Throughout his life, Lynch married four times. He has had one child from each of these marriages, presumably for the sake of symmetry.
34. He Keeps It In The Family
In a rather bizarre achievement, Lynch has worked with two generations of two different acting families in Hollywood. Lynch cast Diane Ladd and her daughter, Laura Dern, in Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet. He also worked with actor José Ferrer and his son, Miguel Ferrer, in Twin Peaks and Dune.
35. He Witnessed An Iconic Moment
During his youth, Lynch joined the Boy Scouts, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout before he quit. Interestingly, Lynch was one of the Boy Scouts who bore witness to the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. That same day was also Lynch’s 15th birthday!
36. He Kicked His Roommate To The Curb
During his college years, Lynch was roommates with Peter Wolf, the lead singer of the J. Geils Band. However, this connection didn’t end positively. Lynch kicked Wolf out of their residence, saying that Wolf was “too weird.” How weird WAS he??
37. He Has A Secret
While we already mentioned that Lynch prefers to let his films speak for themselves, he’s broken this rule on a couple of occasions. The most famous example is Mulholland Drive. So complex and bewildering is this story’s mystery that fans have begged the director for some clarity. In response, Lynch gave 10 clues out to anyone watching the film. You can find them on IMDb if you’re curious.
38. He Broke Nicolas Cage
Interestingly, the director played a crucial role in the career of one of Hollywood’s most eccentric actors. Nicolas Cage co-starred in Lynch’s film Wild at Heart, and he had to put up with Lynch’s frequent rewrites during filming. Cage later credited this, along with the sheer bizarre world of Lynch’s film, to put aside method acting and become more experimental with his acting.
39. He Got A Creepy Inspiration
Once, early in the morning, Lynch’s intercom began to buzz. When he answered, a strange voice uttered the phrase, “Dick Laurant is dead.” Lynch didn’t recognize the voice, and when he hurried to the front of his house to investigate, he didn’t see anyone there. While an interaction like that would freak most of us out, Lynch used it as inspiration for the first scene of his film Lost Highway.
40. There’s One Film He Wants To Forget
Despite the public interest over the decades, the director has continually refused the opportunity to work on a special edition DVD of Dune. Not only was the film a financial and critical failure, Lynch went on to regret ever working on the film. Lynch even went so far as to say that he shouldn’t have been involved because that was when he began selling out.
Dubbing Dune as the only real failure of his filmmaking career, Lynch has explained that returning to the project in any way would be much too painful for him. You can’t even ask him about it in interviews. Truly, no one suffers like the artist.
41. He Has Writer’s Block
Observant fans might have noticed that Inland Empire was his last feature film. Lynch explained his absence by citing a lack of inspiration, but he clarified that he’d “go to work tomorrow” as soon as he got a good idea. As of October 2020, this hasn’t happened, but he has worked on a multitude of short films, music videos, and television productions in the meantime.
42. He Turned His Trauma Into Art
When the director was a child, he and his brother were walking home from school one day, only for them to stumble upon a woman walking in the street. What made the situation more alarming was that she was in a daze and completely naked. The strangeness of the scene affected Lynch so much that he began to cry. The memory never left him either: As some of you might know, a similar moment occurs during his film Blue Velvet.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19