Justin Theroux says even David Lynch didn’t understand ‘Mulholland Drive’

"He wasn’t being cute or cheeky or evasive; he genuinely didn’t know"

Mulholland Drive star Justin Theroux says that even the film’s director David Lynch didn’t understand some of its complex storylines.

The 2001 surrealist neo-noir film saw Theroux play director Adam Kesher, who finds his wife cheating on him.

In a new interview with IndieWire, Theroux was asked about the process of making the film with Lynch, and the actor shone interesting light on the legendary director’s process.

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“He’s a total outlier because he doesn’t answer your questions,” Theroux said of Lynch. “[On] the first couple days of Mulholland Drive, I was course peppering him with a million questions like, ‘Well, why am I there? Who’s the cowboy? What’s going on? What reality are we in?'”

After Lynch “cleared the set” on the first day of filming in order to talk to Theroux, he was able to ask the director some of his questions.

David Lynch
David Lynch has continued to released artistic projects throughout lockdown. Credit: Getty

Theroux said: “I started asking him questions… When I finished a question, [he’d say], ‘You know, I don’t know, buddy. But let’s find out.’ He wasn’t being cute or cheeky or evasive; he genuinely didn’t know.

“He’s like, ‘I don’t know.’ It’s like you’re on an escalator into a cloud with him, you never know where the escalator lets off.”

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Back in 2018, David Lynch said he will never explain his work. Speaking to The Guardian, the 72-year-old Twin Peaks creator said to talk about art is to “reduce it” saying that such discussion “make[s] it smaller.”

“When you finish anything, people want to talk about it. And I think it’s almost like a crime,” he added. “A film or a painting – each thing is its own sort of language and it’s not right to try to say the same thing in words.”

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