MD as a television pilot

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KyleOrKyla
 
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MD as a television pilot

Postby KyleOrKyla » 08 May 2011

Hey there, I've wanted to post this for a while, but never had the time to gather my thoughts, and hopefully present this as not a "negative" thread, because that's not my intent*

But as people who thoroughly enjoy the intense nightmarish puzzle-box nature of Mulholland Drive as we know it, how did you react to learn that much(?) of the footage as it is comes from an attempt at a pilot episode for a television series?

I know my initial reaction was dismay... maybe it's because I have a dim view on the process of editing and revising stuff (which is most likely to my great detriment), but it seemed to under-cut some of the disjointed nature of the narrative if perhaps it wasn't originally meant to be joined together in the way we see it..?

Over time I've come to enjoy the complexity more, but still have a bit of a sour taste somewhere in my mind about the idea that it's a hat made out of material that was originally measured and cut to be a coat (if I may metaphor flailingly).

I'd be interested in hearing how the intended pilot became the movie we know -- I'm sure any factual errors I've introduced will be sorted out, but I'm also interested in reactions (as I've described mine above) but also reflections (could it have lived as a Twin Peaks-length serial and kept its intensity? Would diluting some of the depth of the mystery have sapped most of its strength, etc).

*: Again, I don't want this to be seen as a negative thread; even at my least-thrilled with the opaqueness of Lynch's work, I love the strength that his films have, and have found nothing else like them: the alien-ness of the behavior and dialogue coming from the things that pass as people; or how film can change a conversation between two unknown characters, followed by a walk around a building, into one of the most terrifying series of images I've ever seen.
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ctyankee
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby ctyankee » 10 May 2011

Whether your perspective is negative or positive, it's your perspective and thus valid. Perspective and insight is what we do here.

Have you watched the pilot? The LoMD website goes into great detail as to the changes but the short of it is that the feature film follows quite closely with the pilot albeit with the added Jitterbug dance and scenes at the end. The point being that the disjointed narrative is alive and well in the pilot to be sure. So a viewpoint could be that it was the pilot with added material. Is it better to have a failed pilot or an expanded pilot turned feature film?

Your viewpoint is your viewpoint, I'm simply sharing mine. I don't give a darn whether someone had a million feet of film and trimmed it down into a short film nor do I care whether a tailor took a coat length of material and made it into a jacket. I just care how the jacket turned out.

All films are made in the editing room. It's simply the process.

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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby peirucalueva » 11 May 2011

In a way the TV origin bothers me, but only if I dwell on it. The fact is the finished product is an extremely coherent entity, and even though one can tell the first 2 hours were produced for television, it doesn't hurt the film in my opinion.

What's interesting is the way that the final half-hour, shot a year later for the feature film, reflects back onto the first 2 hours, giving them impressions and insights they otherwise wouldn't have. It doesn't work the other way around; it can't, logically, because there was no idea of a Diane Selwyn dreamer when Lynch shot the pilot (just to give my favored interpretation). So I find it slightly absurd when people say there are deliberate clues to Diane placed in the "dream" portion. There may be, but they weren't put there intentionally when the scenes were shot; rather, they accumulated meaning by being intentionally reflected by Lynch in that final half-hour.

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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby ctyankee » 11 May 2011

peirucalueva wrote:It doesn't work the other way around; it can't, logically, because there was no idea of a Diane Selwyn dreamer when Lynch shot the pilot (just to give my favored interpretation). So I find it slightly absurd when people say there are deliberate clues to Diane placed in the "dream" portion. There may be, but they weren't put there intentionally when the scenes were shot; rather, they accumulated meaning by being intentionally reflected by Lynch in that final half-hour.


Yup.

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Siku
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby Siku » 28 Jul 2011

ctyankee wrote:Have you watched the pilot?


No but I seriously want to! Where can we get a copy? I have a copy of the script.

How do you know that Lynch hadn't decided it was all a dream when shooting the pilot? (I find it funny that one of the most incredible films of all time use two of the cheesiest plot devices - dream and amnesia!).

Personally I would have loved to have watched many episodes of MD. I imagine we would have been treated to much more of Adam meeting Diane, gangsters pulling strings, Betty chasing her identity, comings and goings at Havenhurst... all leading to the same finale: The collapse of the fantasy into Diane's reality - populated by the same people but all changed in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby ctyankee » 28 Jul 2011

Siku wrote:
How do you know that Lynch hadn't decided it was all a dream when shooting the pilot? (I find it funny that one of the most incredible films of all time use two of the cheesiest plot devices - dream and amnesia!).


I don't know that for a fact. However, it's one thing to do a movie heavily based on dream aspects and quite another thing to do a whole series based on a dream. Moreover, I can't think of a series that has done that ... can you?

I disagree about dreams. Most everyone has them and I think that some of the best films in all of film have used dream aspects (or potential dream aspects) such as: Vertigo, 8 1/2, Open Your Eyes, Eyes Wide Shut, The Wizard of Oz and Alice In Wonderland (to name a few).

I do agree about amnesia. I have never met a person that had amnesia nor met a person that knew a person that had amnesia. It's a cheap and WAY OVERUSED device to advance a plot that would be completely implausible if amnesia didn't exist.

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Siku
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby Siku » 02 Aug 2011

Dallas - a whole season was retrospectively designated a dream so they could bring back Bobby. He'd been killed off in the season before but fans missed him too much.

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Camilla
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby Camilla » 22 Aug 2011

It's a shame that the TV series never had the chance to blossom into something beyond an unseen pilot. After looking through the pilot pics and reading the screenplay I think there was plenty of room for development and your Lynchian twists and turns. I was also intrigued by the fact that the hooker "Laney" was to be an important character.

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Siku
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby Siku » 07 Sep 2011

Camilla - totally agree it's such a shame that we'll never get to see the series unfold, or find out what happened to Laney. I hope she's ok.

If the dream idea was an afterthought to make this a movie than that's a radical change of course. And from that point of view it surprises me how much of the pilot was retained. lynch could have chopped it up a lot more of course, but instead he found a way of framing it and twisting it into something else. Quite a conjuring feat!

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Siku
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby Siku » 28 Aug 2012

I've just finished watching Twin Peaks.

Where that went from pilot to conclusion was, well, a bit of a mess in some ways! The themes, atmosphere, even the genre wavers out of control at times. the central Mystery is lost and you have to face the fact that they're just stringing it out really.

MD avoided this fate by being tied up in a single canvas - taut and coherent. Yes I would have loved to watch fifty hours of Betty getting a part and falling for Adam but it wouldn't have maintained the quality or intensity IMO.

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derekfnord
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby derekfnord » 28 Aug 2012

DL also left Twin Peaks partway through. I wish we could have seen how Twin Peaks would have evolved if the network hadn't pressured DL to solve the Laura Palmer mystery, and he'd been allowed to continue exploring that world and those characters with the Laura Palmer case always there as an unsolved background element (which, according to him, was his original intention).

Likewise, how MD might have evolved as a TV series would probably have depended a great deal on how much creative freedom and control DL was allowed to maintain over time...

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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby kmkmiller » 28 Aug 2012

I think it's funny a failed pilot ends up on the Top 50 of all time list.

While TWIN PEAKS is inconsistent, there are still very very important scenes in the second season that are indispensable in the context of Lynch's body of work. Also my favorite scene in the whole series is when Cole meets Shelly and Coop meets Annie. And Annie's speech at the Miss Twin Peak's pageant is a fairly clear indication that Lynch (or at least Barry Pullman, the guy who wrote that episode) believes that through honoring our interior land (probably through transcendental meditation), we can change the world around us. And save a forest. What I mean is, it's the closest Lynch has come to activism within the context of his art.

it's pretty powerful stuff really strictly by implication.

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Siku
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby Siku » 23 Jul 2013

This issue of movie vs pilot has come up in the why are you here thread and I just wanted to link from here to this post because I think it's really interesting that Naomi Watts let's it slip, in this documentary (about two minutes in) that Diane would have woken up at the start of the second series if MD had been made into a TV show.

So its wrong to assume that the ideas added in the movie version of MD were necessarily NEW ideas. Maybe all of this was going to happen in the TV show too.

On my most recent viewing i took note of all the references to sleeping, waking and dreaming in the first hour or so of the movie and it's an absolute barrage of clues that it's a dream, from Betty "I'm in this dream place", Rita "I thought sleep would do it", Dan "I had a dream about this place", etc., etc. the pilot is just saturated with references telling us THIS IS A DREAM.

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ctyankee
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby ctyankee » 23 Jul 2013

Siku,

Perhaps it's just a bit of language confusion, but you've misunderstood Watts. She is using "come alive" in the slang sense of a dead project 'coming alive.' Moreover, she never mentions her role either as Diane or Betty in that "sound byte."

Btw, iirc, back in the day, this extra on the French DVD had just enough information in the background behind Lynch to allow us to find the house used as Adam Kesher's house. That was a nice day. :holmes:

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derekfnord
 
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Re: MD as a television pilot

Postby derekfnord » 23 Jul 2013

Whether Watts actually let something slip or not, I do think it's likely that the film version of Mulholland Drive probably does go generally down the same road (pun intended) as DL intended the TV series to go down. Certainly, he would have to re-work how certain elements would be introduced and resolved in just 2.5 hours rather than a (potentially) open-ended series. But it just seems logical to me that he'd find a different way to reach the same destination, rather than invent a wholly new destination, and try to retro-fit the existing material to fit it...

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