“I visited the dominatrix club where customers were used as tables” – Patricia Arquette in The Making of Highway Lost

Bill Pullmanthe actor

I had to leave Boxing Helena, Jennifer Lynch’s first movie. But I had a good relationship with her. When her father, David, started talking about making The Lost Highway, she said: What about this Pullman guy? Early on, someone asked him why he had chosen me. With a smile on his face, he said, “Well, Bill struck me as the kind of guy who could get himself into so much trouble.” He was repeating it, like a mantra.

I have written a collection of noir stories. I love the fact that this genre can be scary and funny. But David’s version of noir was intense and surprising. Like the opposite of how ordinary people can be when they talk about death, or how secretly beautiful it is when a character’s head is cut in half on a table. This is a hard-to-get tone that you can’t fake. You must have a clear conviction about the story you are telling.

He didn’t explain much to us. But during pre-production, he came up with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and read us the section on dissociative amnesia. I had the audacity to suggest that I play both Fred Madison, the paranoid saxophonist about his wife in the first half of the movie, as well as Pete, the young mechanic that Fred turned into the second half, played by Balthasar Getty. But he said: [David Lynch voice] “No! I really like it that way, with different actors.”

The Madison house we filmed was next door to David’s house – he bought it and designed it that way for the movie. It still exists in the same state; He uses it as a production desk. It was a challenge to be as impartial as Patricia and I were in our performance. There was a nice bordering thing we were striving for. Almost like absence as you see it with a psychopath

David and cinematographer, Peter Deming, worked to get that creepy atmosphere in that hallway. They experimented with a mechanism that could completely separate the lens from the camera to better capture the dark. David doesn’t shout, but he’s good at getting everyone to instinctively utter what he wants. We had a conversation earlier about moments in life that increased a bit. I said, “Like kabuki.” Later that night he said, “I want you to go down the hall. And everything is familiar. And then it’s not. It’s all kabuki!”

Pressing on Europe’s Lost Highway, everyone was like, “Wow, that’s cool.” But everyone in the US was like, “Can you explain that to me?” It’s easier to cuddle him now. The world has become more like a movie: broken. Perhaps this reality that Farid participated in is what we live in now.

Patricia Arquettethe actor

David didn’t tell me if Renee and Alice were two different people, or two versions of the same woman. He asked me for my opinion. I decided that they were women from a misogynist’s point of view. So when Fred reconstitutes himself in the second half as Pete, this young, manly young man, Alice is still untrustworthy. She seems to love him but she works in porn. It’s very rare to see this idea of ​​how dangerous female sexuality is in the eyes of a man like Fred/Pete – especially in such a poetic way. David wrote the script at the time of OJ Simpson’s trial, with which he was obsessed.

With fashion artist Patricia Norris and makeup artist Debbie Zoller, we worked together to create two contrasting looks. For Renee, I wanted that dark hair and that kind of bang, like Bettie Page. We may have talked about her resemblance to Elizabeth Short, also “The Black Dahlia.”

Contradictory looks… Patricia Arquette as Alice. Pictured: Ronald Grant

I visited some weird clubs to get ready for the part, including the Dominatrix place where some customers paid to use them as tables. I tried to study the power dynamics there, the subtle expressions in people’s faces. Most start out as submissive before becoming dominant. I think Renee/Alice suffered such degrees of humiliation.

I also tried to look at female sexuality in an abstract way. These vixen women, like Salome or Jezebel from the Bible, have the power to destroy. So, for example, when Alice is forced to strip for these gangsters, I’ve been thinking about Salome dancing for Herod. There was some awkwardness with some of the actors in that scene. I told David that they were saying scary and lewd things, and he asked me out. When I got back, they were all looking at the floor apologetically.

One of the reasons I took the role was because of my phobia of nudity, but doing all those nude scenes didn’t cure it. I had to peek at my fingers when I watched those moments in the movie.

David doesn’t feel like a dark person to me. His movies are much darker than anything I’ve noticed. I remember being on my mind years ago. The people there are very likable and cute, but they have this cockfight, and it’s very dark and intense. They give you black and white woven ribbons. It’s about a balance of light and dark. I think David was looking for that balance.

The Lost Highway will be released on Criterion Collection Blu-ray on October 31.

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