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‘Twin Peaks’: David Lynch Tells the Story of Fighting Showtime for the Proper Budget to Make ‘The Return’

David Lynch knew from the beginning how much money he would need to return to "Twin Peaks," and he wasn't going to let anyone tell him otherwise.

Twin Peaks Season 3 Part 16 Episode 16 David Lynch

“Twin Peaks: The Return”

Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Twin Peaks: The Return” was one of the most acclaimed television series of 2017, but getting the revival from the page to the screen proved to be a rocky journey for David Lynch.

The director famously tweeted on April 5, 2015 plans to bring the series back on Showtime were scrapped because “not enough money was offered to do the script the way [he] felt it needed to be done.” Fast-forward just over a month to May 15, 2015 and Lynch was confirming “Twin Peaks” would return to Showtime. So what went down during those four weeks? David Lynch tells all in his new memoir, “Room to Dream.”

“Mark [Frost] and I met with Showtime about ‘Twin Peaks,’ then [executive producer] Sabrina [Sutherland] came up with the numbers and everybody freaked out. They were realistic numbers, but Showtime thought the budget was stupid high,” Lynch writes about negotiations falling through with Showtime (via Vulture). “I hadn’t made anything since ‘Inland Empire’ and nobody went to see that.”

In addition to the budget, Lynch writes his plan to make more than nine episodes also worried Showtime executives. The director envisioned the project as one long movie that he would separate into episodes and knew it would run over nine installments  (the series ran for eighteen parts). But while Lynch’s plan made Showtime apprehensive, the director walked away from negotiations himself after he saw the budget the network was proposing.

“When I saw the budget they were offering, I said, ‘Fuck this,’ and then they made another offer that was worse than the bad one they’d already made.” Lynch writes. “I said, ‘I’m fuckin’ out! If they want to do it without me I’ll probably let them, but I’m out,’ and I felt a tremendous sense of freedom mixed with sadness when I made the decision.”

Showtime executives David Nevins and Gary Levine must have seen the value in getting into the David Lynch business as they visited the director two days later at his Los Angeles home to start working out a new deal.

“Gary brought cookies and they were here for about forty-five minutes,” Lynch writes. “By the end it wasn’t happening at all, then when they stood up to leave and David said, ‘I’m going to work up an offer for you.’ I said, ‘Well, maybe I’ll work up an offer for you.’”

“With not a fuckin’ thing to lose, Sabrina and I drew up a list of everything we’d need,” Lynch continues. “I said, ‘Okay, Sabrina, you’re gonna go in there in say, ‘This is not a negotiation. If you want to do it, this is what it takes.’ If they start quibbling about stuff, say thank you very much and stand up and leave. But David Nevins said, ‘We can make this work,’ and that was it — I’m back in the thing.”

Lynch refused to negotiate and to his surprise Showtime agreed to reviving “Twin Peaks” on the director’s terms. The series would make its Showtime debut two years later to near universal acclaim. The filmmaker’s memoir, co-written by Kristine McKenna, is now available for purchase.

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