David Lynch’s wildly anticipated “Twin Peaks” revival is kitted out with plenty of talented faces — over 200, both old and new — but there’s still a handful of original stars who were not tapped to return for the Showtime series. One of them is Joan Chen, who played Josie Packard during the show’s original run (and, incidentally, was the very first face to appear in the series’ very first episode, way back in 1990).
Chen, however, is eager to change that, and The Hollywood Reporter shares a compelling — and kind of wild — letter from the actress that she sent to Lynch, asking for her role to be reprised. Given that Chen’s character ended her “Twin Peaks” run as a drawer knob, it’s obviously written from a unique perspective.
“Dear David, I write to you from the wooden drawer knob in which I have been trapped for the past two decades, yearning restlessly for an escape,” the letter opens, and it only gets more sharp and creative from there.
In Lynch and Mark Frost’s original “Twin Peaks” run, Chen starred as Josie Packard, the owner of the Packard Sawmill who — like everyone else on the series — was brutally tangled up with a whole mess of other characters, including Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) and Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie), neither of whom are on deck to return to the series. In Season 2 of the series, Chen reportedly asked to be written out in order to go after other acting opportunities, a wish that was granted…by turning her into a drawer knob. Cool.
In the series’ 23rd episode, “The Condemned Woman,” Josie dies (kind of? maybe?) after a particularly shocking run-in with Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Cooper, and her soul (presumably) ends up stuck in a drawer knob of a desk at the Great Northern Hotel. As is so often the case with “Twin Peaks,” such a weird and wild plot twist doesn’t necessarily spell death for the character, and that seems to be what Chen is banking on for a possible return.
As Chen explained to THR, “I was wandering in the aisles of American Apparel, waiting for my daughter to get done in the fitting room, when a young shop girl approached me and asked, ‘Are you Josie in ‘Twin Peaks’? I was quite shocked that she had seen ‘Twin Peaks’ and could actually recognize me with my unadorned face decades after I appeared in the show.”
She added, “That was around the time when ‘Twin Peaks’ was set to be revived. I thought it would be fun to write David as Josie’s spirit. I was sure that it would bring a smile to his face.”
Thus, the letter, and what a letter it is. Read the full text of Chen’s letter over at The Hollywood Reporter.
“Twin Peaks” premieres new episodes on Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.