|Cinema 12 / 1984|
Visionary and dreamer: A surrealist`s fantasies
cinema: Another obvious question: What made De Laurentiis choose you as the director of this film?
David Lynch: Raffaela, his daughter, who is the producer, was enthusiastic about "Eraserhead". Possibly she saw a talent to combine psychological and subconscient elements with a tight plot. And that`s what`s essential to "Dune". The adaptation of Herbert`s - saga simply mustn`t become a special effects and hard-ware spectacle. The theme is too moody, too mystic for that.
cinema: According to your director of photography, Freddie Francis, your
imagination is in black and white only.
cinema: That`s why the colours are not as 'loud' as in "Star Wars". Please name a film shot in color that made a lasting impression on you!
David Lynch: There`s none. My favourite movie is Billy Wilder`s "Sunset Boulevard". Getting back to "Dune": I would have loved to shoot it even darker, but Dino always wanted light, light, light. The film really benefitted from the compromise between the two tastes.
cinema: What`s your taste like? What do you consider beautiful?
David Lynch: A deserted industrial area covered by moss and weeds. The machinery no longer in use conquered by nature. Some years ago, I lived in a rotten house with twelve rooms in a poor quarter of Philadelphia. Degeneration - the streets filled with garbage and fear. Little girls crying, bringing home their drunk fathers, people being kidnapped out of driving cars, rats, three times my house broken into, permanent fear of being mugged. From this "paranoid beauty", as one reviewer put it, "Eraserhead" was born.
cinema: And "The Angriest Dog in the World".
David Lynch: Right.
David Lynch: That wouldn´t be completely wrong. When I made films as a student - and I count "Eraserhead" as one of them - there wasn`t a difference between painting and filmmaking to me. The reason was that I made them for myself. On my own, completely independent. Just like Henry in "Eraserhead": He was on his own, with no friends or television to distract him. He radically faced his own values. That`s what an artist is all about. Even when I made "The Elphant Man", I wasn`t completely independent, there was a studio, the producers, people who financed the movie, actors. So the direction isn`t entirely determined by your ideas. Maybe regarding the style, but not the ideas.
cinema : Then it must have been even more alienating working on "Dune" than "The Elephant Man".
David Lynch: Not quite, for I spent two years working on the script. Even if I kept closely to the novel, the look and mood of the film, much of the look and feel of the film is my contribution. I love smoke, machinery in motion, endless labyrinth of pipes. All this is present in "Dune" and yet: The film`s rather about humans than laser guns, spaceships or mechanical monsters. Both Frank Herbert and Dino payed great attention to this from the beginning.
cinema: Frank Herbert`s 500-pages-novel is very complex. How did you fit it into a 140-minutes-movie?
David Lynch: It was hard to find an access. My wife made me read "Dune". Reading the first 60 pages was embarassing, but then I became addicted, I just couldn`t get enough of it. And I realized that it might become a great film. I chose to do it the other way around. I tried to reduce the core of the story to a few pages, to add details to this basis. So I didn`t take from the novel, but added to its core.
cinema: You cast Jack "Eraserhead" Nance in a small role in "Dune". Do actors mean more to you than represent just protagonists or figures contributing to a certain atmosphere?
David Lynch: To my own surprise, that`s true. I never thought working with actors could be so fascinating. But now I know: In my films, actor`s arent reduced to single notes, they have complete scores.