By Ali Moosavi.

I think with movies sometimes whether the movie is good or bad isn’t necessarily the criteria anymore. It becomes about do you want to spend time in the world of that movie.”

Kyle MacLachlan’s name will forever be associated with the role of agent Dale Cooper and films of David Lynch. His latest film is Confess, Fletch, directed by Greg Mottola, in which MacLachlan plays yet another eccentric character, Horan who is very sensitive to germs and has to wipe everything that visitors to his office touch. Jon Hamm plays the eponymous character, brought to screen in the eighties by Chevy Chase. Hamm shows admirable comic timing and is reunited with his Mad Men co-star John Slattery. The character Fletch could be described as a loose, humorous version of Philip Marlowe and in this movie the femme fatale is Fletch’s fiancé Anglela (Lorenzo Izzo) who wants Fletch to find her stolen art collection which her mother, the countess (Marcia Gay Harden) also takes an interest in. Roy Wood Jr and Ayden Mayeri play a couple of bumbling cops.

I spoke to Kyle MacLachlan about his latest role and also his work with David Lynch.

Your character in Confess, Fletch is another eccentric personality. Did you identify with any of his eccentrics?

I think I did. He’s described as being a germaphobe and highly aware of bacteria as well as a lover of electronic dance music and I can appreciate electronic dance music. I don’t think I’m a lover of it, but it is fun to throw yourself around in space and not have to think very much. As far as the germaphobe, I tend to be more of a neat and orderly person and things don’t necessarily have to be super clean in my world but they do have to be tidy and so I think that’s where there’s a couple similarities to the character that exist.

You obviously have a fantastic working relationship with David Lynch. What has made it work over so many years?

I think we share an appreciation for slightly eccentric material. We come from the same part of the country, we’re both from the Pacific Northwest. We have a similar sense of humor. I think we have a respect and appreciation for each other and I think there’s something to be said for longevity and the fact that we’ve known each other for almost 40 years. That is of value to both of us and something that we don’t take for granted. And then we can speak about the working relationship which is just a very concise, joyful, intense experience and we also have a lot of fun, there’s a lot of joking around that happens too.

What were your first impressions when you first read the scripts for Blue Velvet and the first Twin Peaks series?

Well, I read Blue Velvet while we were filming Dune in Mexico City. I remember reading it and it was a very charged script. There was a lot of intensity and danger and it was highly erotic and it was so completely different than the role of Paul in Dune. It was a journey that I could understand. I could see why this character would get drawn into this world and attracted to this chanteuse played by Isabella Rossellini whilst still feeling like he needed to hold onto the good girl that Laura Dern played. He is pulled in both ways and I guess I was at an age when that made sense, I mean I was 24 or 25. But I got it, I understood it and I think I understood intuitively that it was going to be a world that David would be much more comfortable in instead of a giant science fiction film. This was something that was personal, that he wrote and made sense to him and I thought he would tell the story in a very interesting way. And when I read Twin Peaks for the first time, similarly the character for me was the springboard and I thought Cooper was a complex, interesting, unusual, eccentric character. There were a lots of things going on that I thought would be interesting and it was also going to be filmed in the northwest where I grew up and went to school. I knew the areas that we were shooting in because I had been in that environment before; so those were some of my reactions.

From the first Twin Peaks series to the second one it was a distance of some 27 years. Was there a lot of change in both David Lynch’s directing style and also your approach to acting after all this time?

I think there was, just by nature of the fact that there’s been such a long time. I learned a lot since I started back in the 80s. I feel I’ve gotten better, maybe some people would argue with that! but I feel like I’ve gotten better as an actor and I think David has become even more focused and confident and certain. Not that he wasn’t before, but I think it expanded and everything was a lot of fun, there’s a lot of joy, there’s a lot of appreciation, he appreciates his actors so much and that was all still there.

Was it more fun second time playing multiple and very different characters?

I so enjoyed it, it was challenging and we didn’t really get to Cooper as we know him until almost at the end of the series. So I had to play the Dougie character and the Mr. C character which weren’t really related to Cooper at all in my mind, they were their own different entities and so as an actor it was a wonderful challenge.

You studied classical singing but there are no musicals in your resume. Have you not been tempted to do a few musicals?

It’s funny you say that. Yes, there have been a couple of opportunities that I’ve actually auditioned for a role in New York, I think one was The Music Man. This was many years ago and yes I studied classical voice at the University of Washington in Seattle. I think I recognized that I was never going to be a classical singer but I thought this could enhance the musical world which I was comfortable with and I’ve done musicals through high school and done musicals in college and I said well this is what I’m going to do; I’m going to go to New York and work as a musical theater actor. But I never pursued it and it just kind of drifted away as more film work took over and I never really said: oh I have to go off and do a musical. I admire the people who do because it is very challenging. Theatre is also highly challenging but musical theater in particular is very challenging. I appreciate it and who knows maybe someday; I’m not getting any younger but I guess it could still happen.

A couple of movies that you made, Dune and Showgirls were lambasted by critics when they came out, but they’ve grown to become cult movies. Do you think that some movies need certain passage of time to be fully appreciated?

I think with movies sometimes whether the movie is good or bad isn’t necessarily the criteria anymore. It becomes about do you want to spend time in the world of that movie. For the original Dune I think it’s David Lynch so of course it’s brilliant in many ways, it’s flawed in some ways, but the world, the environment, the visuals, everything somehow, not for everyone, but you develop this kind of affinity or this closeness to them and you love being in that experience for those couple of hours and you’re not necessarily judging good or bad, you were just enjoying the ride. I think the same with Showgirls. I think Showgirls was a miss but it has developed a certain kind of audience because there are elements of it that are just so outrageous that you come out enjoying spending time in that place and I think it comes down to that. I love Blade Runner which when it came out was not a movie that was well received but I loved that world and that environment. I love those characters, I love the music, I love going on this two hour journey with these people and I’m not going: oh that’s good, that’s bad; I’m accepting everything and I think that happens with some movies, not every movie but a lot of movies.

Ali Moosavi has worked in documentary television and has written for Film Magazine (Iran), Cine-Eye (London), and Film International (Sweden). He contributed to the second volume of The Directory of World Cinema: Iran (Intellect, 2015).

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