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David Lynch Compares His Two Biggest Film Failures, Still Prefers Movie Theaters Over Television

"There’s a little bit of sorrow in the picture," Lynch says of watching movies on television screens.

“Dune,” David Lynch, and “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”

Universal/Shutterstock/NewLine

David Lynch knows a thing or two about bombing with critics and audiences. The director’s 1984 “Dune” adaptation was fraught with tension behind the scenes, so much so that Lynch tried to take his name off his own film. The science-fiction epic was a notorious box office failure, but its poor reception was nothing compared to the vitriol Lynch faced at Cannes 1992 with the debut of “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.”

Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” prequel film was ripped to shreds by critics at the time of its premiere. Even some of the director’s most ardent supporters found themselves questioning their love of the auteur. Quentin Tarantino reacted to the film by famously saying, “David Lynch had disappeared so far up his own ass that I have no desire to see another David Lynch movie until I hear something different.”

In a new interview with Deadline, Lynch looks back at these two career misfires and admits he still loves “Fire Walk With Me.” The director doesn’t look back as fondly on “Dune” as final cut privileges were taken away from him by producers. While “Dune” still lives in infamy, “Fire Walk With Me” has grown into a favorite among Lynch fans over the years,

“I love the film,” Lynch said about “Fire Walk With Me.” “I love the film. With ‘Dune,’ I sold out on that early on, because I didn’t have final cut, and it was a commercial failure, so I died two times with that. With ‘Fire Walk With Me,’ it didn’t go over well at the time, but I loved it so I only died once, for the commercial failure and the reviews and things.”

“Over time, it’s changed,” he continued. “So now, people have revisited that film, and they feel differently about it. When a thing comes out, the feeling in the world—you could call it the collective consciousness—is a certain way, and so it dictates how the thing’s going to go. Then the collective consciousness changes and people come around.”

David Lynch compared the response to “Fire Walk With Me” to the paintings of Van Gogh in the way it has grown from disdain to appreciation. “Look at Van Gogh,” Lynch said, “the guy could not sell one painting and now nobody can afford them.”

Lynch also spoke with Deadline about his preference for movie theaters over television screens. The filmmaker is currently in the Emmy race thanks to the overwhelming critical success of “Twin Peaks: The Return,” which aired on Showtime last year. However, Lynch is still loyal to movie theaters despite his small screen acclaim. Lynch said “The Return” reinvigorated his love of filmmaking, but the fact his style is so antithetical to the way movies are made now means he’s unsure if he’ll make another big screen release.

“Feature films have fallen on hard times these days,” Lynch said. “And it’s sad, but it’s the reality. I always say now, cable television is the new arthouse. People have freedom and can make a continuing story. It’s pretty beautiful, but it’s not the big screen, so there’s a little bit of sorrow in the picture and a little bit of sorrow in the sound.”

Lynch is being campaigned as a writer, director, and actor for “Twin Peaks” at the Emmys this year. Head to Deadline to read his full interview.

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