"I'll take a cigarette if you have one."


Middle 20s


Pink's Hot Dogs




Joe, Billy



LaneyThe brainless prostitute bears a striking physical resemblance to Diane. I interpret this character to be Diane's negative projection of self, just as Betty is her positive projection. Just as Betty's life reflects Diane's hopes for her career (which I believe is a Winkie's waitress who picks up bit acting roles), the prostitute reflects her worst fears regarding what her life might become, especially since she has just spent all the money Aunt Ruth left her to kill Camilla. - (Carla Beaudet)

We see that Diane and the prostitute have a similar connection to the hit man. This is because in real life the hit man showed Diane the blue key after taking it from his shirt pocket, and in the fantasy the prostitute reaches into that same pocket to get a cigarette (»visual echoes). Other than just indicating for us that Diane and the hit man smoke the same type of cigarettes, this scene also shows us that the hit man supplies what the prostitute wants in the same way that he gives Diane what she wants, by going into his shirt pocket.
As the prostitute gets into the van, the scene shifts back to Betty and Rita in the bedroom. It is here that Betty asks Rita about the money and the key. This scene's close association with the scene before it give us the answer to Diane's question. The money came from Diane's work as a call girl prostitute, and the key came from the hit man. Together they are the payoff for the hit and the signal indicating that the hit had been successful. - (Alan Shaw)

  • Laney working behind Pink's as a parallel to the bum behind Winkie's?

  • The girl got bruises on her left arm, presumably inflicted by a client or her pimp. Is it because Diane doesn't think highly of herself and she comes out like that in the dream? Or a further clue to the sexual abuse theme running through the film?

Woddy with Betty

Joe with Laney

Similarities between Laney and Betty/Diane:

  • Betty, Diane and Laney wear a light color top

  • Betty and Laney are both Blondes, similar in size with similar hair length

  • Diane and Laney wear jeans of the brand "Diesel"

  • Diane and Laney are seen with a red lamp shade »more

  • Diane and Laney get something from Joe's left shirt pocket

  • The bruises on Laney’s arm match where Woody held Betty

  • Woody puts his hand on Betty’s butt / Joe puts his hand on Laney’s butt as she enters the van

  • Billy, the pimp, watches Joe and Laney’s every move / Bob Brooker, the booker, watches Woody's and Betty’s every move

  • Wally asked Betty if she wanted a coffee or water - Betty said "no, I’m fine" / Joe asked Laney "a drink or something?" - Laney said "no, thanks though"

  • Rita asked Betty in regards to a newspaper article about her crash - Betty says "not that I can see" / Joe asks in regards to a new Brunette on the street - Laney says "I haven’t seen any"

Note: The prostitute wearing all blue is getting into a blue van just like a key entering a box. - (vinovampire)

As an aside, reading Rena's bio call to mind the archetypal "rural girl to big city" narrative that is clearly at the core of the Betty/Diane archetype. The details may be off re Cannes, but the crossover to the satirical sexploitative work in the 1995 film (Penny/Hope in Showgirls) is revealing; with time, Riffel's character may have been the literal heroine of MD. - (Rochas Redux)

Casting trivia

David Lynch had offered Rena a role opposite Marilyn Manson in Lost Highway, but her agents turned it down due to nudity requirements. Rena was disappointed but hoped that Lynch would remember her for future projects. In 2000, Rena was called in by casting director Johanna Ray to be put on videotape for Lynch's TV series pilot, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, a follow up to Twin Peaks. She later got the good news that Lynch had given her the part, the series regular role of Laney, a mysterious homeless character who would get revealed throughout the series and come to a grande finale when the big secret is unfolded. Though the pilot turned out to be another groundbreaking masterpiece for Lynch, Disney Studios wanted a family oriented show and asked for changes which Lynch would not agree to. The project was shelved until it was then released as a feature film.

Prostitute is the real protaganist? - (jkandell)
Similarities between Laney/Betty/Diane - (richdubbya)
Diane in real life turns waitress and finally into prostitution - (Anders Hellgren)
Laney & Herb
- (gandalf36)

Related: The Call Girl Scenario

Links: Rena Riffel's Homepage