‘Twin Peaks’: Tim Roth on the Unique Experience of Working with David Lynch

     September 13, 2016


There’s great mystery surrounding the revival of Twin Peaks on Showtime, but I suppose it’s fitting. The series returns with the core creative team intact, as co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost joined forces once again to bring us 18 all new episodes of the cult drama series, with a bevy of the show’s actors reprising their roles. We know that Lynch directed every episode, and we know it’s Twin Peaks, but beyond that the biggest piece of information we got was when Lynch himself simple dropped a full cast list online—featuring 200 names.

Among those 200 actors was Tim Roth, and while we won’t be seeing any of Twin Peaks until sometime in 2017, Collider’s own Christina Radish recently spoke with Roth in anticipation of his upcoming movie Chronic (opening September 23rd), and the actor took some time to briefly tease Twin Peaks. While Roth understandably can’t say anything in terms of plot, it’s clear he’s an enthusiastic fan of Lynch’s and has been for a while, so he gets into how big of a deal it was for him to work with the legendary filmmaker. Check out this portion of the interview below, and look for Christina’s full interview with Roth closer to the release of Chronic.


Image via Wild Bunch

Collider:  Twin Peaks is my all-time favorite TV series and always will be, so I was very excited to see you listed in the cast for the upcoming revival. 

ROTH:  I can’t believe that David [Lynch] just put out a list! It’s so David Lynch! He’s wonderful, and I love him. I don’t even know when it’s coming out. I have no idea!

At the recent TCA Press Tour, Showtime Networks CEO David Nevins and Programming President Gary Levine said that they didn’t even know exactly when it’s going to air or how many episodes it will be because they were given the entire season as one script, instead of separate episodes. 

ROTH:  When we were working on it, we just got the pages that we were involved in, and we came and shot them. And you got to spend your time with David, which was hilarious and fun.

How did you end up getting cast in that? Did you just get a phone call, or did you have to go meet with him? 

ROTH:  I can’t remember. Seriously! I think I just got a call, and as soon as you hear the words spoken, you just go, “Yep!” It’s just one of those things. And I was in, as you can see from the list, very good company.

Very interesting company. 

ROTH:  Oh, yeah! It’s wild!


Image via Showtime

What was your relationship with the original series? Were you a fan, or did you have to go back and watch any of it?

ROTH:  I was a fan. It was more about having three or four friends, when I was a kid, and we all wanted to be actors. We were crazy about movies and wanted to be actors. And EraserheadBlue Velvet and Elephant Man were all things that we were very interested in. Eraserhead, particularly, was mystifying to us and we were like, “What is that?!” It was just so out there. David Lynch was adored by us. We even absolutely adored Dune. So, if you get a chance to work with him, you leap at it. Twin Peaks was something that came later. I was a fan of it, but that came later. Also, Mulholland Drive.

It was really the first appointment TV for me, where I was glued to each episode, and then got on the phone with my friends directly after, so that we could talk about what had just happened. 

ROTH:  Yeah. And the thing is that television has changed. The very nature of it is not even television anymore. Mostly, people watch their shows online and they watch them in a block. They don’t have to tolerate the commercials, and they also don’t have to wait another week. People binge watch. It’s interesting. I don’t know how that will affect how people feel about this new whatever it is with Twin Peaks. Now, people can watch the entire first series over a period that would probably take you a couple of nights.

I can’t imagine anyone other than David Lynch would get a network to let them go make a show that doesn’t even have a set number of episodes. 


Image via FX

ROTH:  No! And I believe they were very hands off, or as hands off as you can get, really. They still are, I believe.

What was it like to work with David Lynch? Do you have to just sit back and let him do his thing? 

ROTH:  No, you can be as involved or as not as you’d like. You can choose. You can choose to either have him dictate to you, which is sometimes what you would like with somebody like that, or you can be involved. He has that transcendental meditation thing. He’s just completely calm. But, he will absolutely insist on it being right. I found his direction and the notes that he gave to be fascinating choices. For me, I just let him guide me down the whole road. In my area, whatever my area was, I let him push me over the edge and get me to do whatever he wanted me to do. I can’t really tell you what that is, but it was wonderful. At one point, me and the person that I was working with asked for more, which he supplied. When we came to the end of our work with him, we asked for some more and he gave us more. I don’t know if any of it will end up in there. I hope it does. But it was an incredible, fun and gentle time. I loved it.