“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” turns 35 tomorrow, a milestone Variety has marked by speaking to director Amy Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe. Among the revelations: the fact that David Lynch, who was also offered directing duties on “Return of the Jedi” at around the same time, was approached to helm the classic teen comedy. “I had a meeting with David Lynch,” says Crowe, apparently on the recommendation of Universal exec Thom Mount.
“He had a very wry smile on his face as I sat talking with him,” continues Crowe, who won an Oscar for writing “Almost Famous.” “He went and read it. We met again. He was very, very sweet about it, but slightly perplexed we thought of him. He said this was a really nice story but ‘it’s not really the kind of thing that I do, but good luck.’ He got into the white VW bug and drove off.”
Of the many “what if?” scenarios in Hollywood, this would appear to rank among the strangest — though it’s worth remembering that Lynch eventually directed “The Straight Story,” a conventional narrative that’s quite sweet at its core. Read Heckerling and Crowe’s full recollections here.