Steven Spielberg Was Set To Direct An Episode Of Twin Peaks But David Lynch Wanted It For Himself

The moment of David Lynch and Mark Frost‘s Twin Peaks first hitting TV was one of those “you had to be there to really get it” moments like, I can only assume, Psycho, The Jazz Singer and L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de La Ciotat. At this moment in time, I still love it more than any other show.

I am, however, a little surprised that Steven Spielberg wanted to get involved, but according to one of the series’ writer-producers, he certainly did.

Harley Peyton was speaking with Brad D Studios. Here’s his Spielberg story.

After the first season a lot of crazy things happened, like me and Mark [Frost] sitting at Steven Spielberg’s house convincing him to do the opener for the second season. That was all ready to go.

This is a long story, but my first wife is and was Kate Capshaw’s best friend so I knew Steven pretty well and he was a huge fan of the show – watched it every week, I mean a huge fan. Because we were friendly we talked about it a lot and he said to me in passing how fun it would be to direct an episode so I went to Mark over the summer and said, “This probably is not a bad way to kick off the second season, right?” So we sat down with him and had this very long meeting about the second season and Steven just said “I want it to be as weird as possible, it’ll be so much fun” so whether or not he would have even done it – we’ll never really know, but when Mark told David he didn’t even hesitate saying, “No, no, I think I’ll direct the first one. Maybe he can direct later in the season” – which he obviously didn’t.

I’m with Lynch on this. I’m not arguing that Spielberg should never have directed any episode,* that he can’t come in to , but just not the second series opener. That was a perfect match for Lynch. Not to mention that it was “his” show, built largely to his spec, and it benefited both creatively and in terms of reputation from his association.

Sadly, the show didn’t make it to the end of the second series. I don’t know if Spielberg coming in to direct an episode would have changed that and “saved” the show, but if there was a chance, I guess it’s a real shame he didn’t get involved.

Twin Peaks, if you still haven’t seen it, lurks on Netflix, and some superbly well-appointed DVDs. I’m hoping for a lovely, shiny Blu-ray set.

*AI probably makes a good case that Spielberg should stay away from projects deeply steeped in the very particular flavour of others.