David Lynch Not Optimistic About Making Another Movie, Says Current State Of The Industry Is "Depressing"

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by Kevin Jagernauth
June 24, 2013 5:23 PM
47 Comments
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It's hard out there for a Lynch, it seems. As the waiting game for a new feature from the director inches closer to the decade mark, it doesn't seem like we'll see anything from him any time soon, at least not the on the big screen. While rumors pop up every now and then that he's got something cooking (earlier this year, word had it that he was working on a "typically dark" script), there doesn't seem to have been any real concrete movement and Lynch doesn't feel like the current system is conducive to his type of filmmaking.

"It's a very depressing picture. With alternative cinema – any sort of cinema that isn't mainstream – you're fresh out of luck in terms of getting theatre space and having people come to see it. Even if I had a big idea, the world is different now," the filmmaker recently told The Independent. "Unfortunately, my ideas are not what you'd call commercial, and money really drives the boat these days. So I don't know what my future is. I don't have a clue what I'm going to be able to do in the world of cinema."

And we gotta say he's not wrong, and it's a sad picture. Even within the indie realm, it's hard to imagine who would front the money for Lynch to go make another "Inland Empire" -- it's hard to conceive of a movie like that getting made today, unless it's done wholly outside the system (see Shane Carruth's "Upstream Color"). Even then, where it would play? New York and Los Angeles? Maybe a few other major cities and then it would be shuffled off to VOD land, which doesn't seem to be the right place for someone like Lynch, where almost every element of his films are calibrated for seeing them on a big screen. While those in our comments section will undoubtedly yell out for Megan Ellison to come to the rescue, even the mega-rich producer knows she can't live on bankrolling arthouse movies. There's a reason she bought the rights and is producing "Terminator 5." 

So yeah sing a sad song for Lynch and the possibility that we might not get another movie from the man. But there's always his coffee and music career....right? But before we get too bummed out, Lynch does have a bit more hope for TV. "I like the idea of a continuing story," he said. "And television is way more interesting than cinema now. It seems like the art-house has gone to cable." Are you listening HBO, AMC etc?

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47 Comments

  • Sujewa Ekanayake | September 9, 2013 11:04 PMReply

    I may be one of the 5 people on the planet who will say this, but I am genuinely a fan of David Lynch's Dune.

  • Dan | March 4, 2014 2:56 PM

    Yay! I'm not alone.

  • J | July 16, 2013 4:32 PMReply

    Glad to see so many people in agreement that IE wasn't a good movie.
    I wish people would shut up and let Twin Peaks rest, though.
    I agree with the user who said that making a movie should be easier than ever, at this time, especially for a guy like Lynch.

  • Patricia Eva JOYCE | July 3, 2013 6:05 PMReply

    I don't agree that theaters are over (thou the word... 'theatres'... yek... it's about 'movies' 'cinema' so 'theatre' is not an ok word to me, and should keep with theatre (plays)...).
    I love the dark room, the old cinemas of the Twenties, the Art-Deco decorum around the screen, the red seats...
    For sure a film as a piece of art should be projected in architecture pieces of art too.
    Now, that the days of the construction (and not architecture) ugly buildings with stupid square rooms where huge baffles pour a too loud sound over people seating in a cold refrigerated air after having paid a max are over, well done!
    There is a minimum in the experience, otherwise of course at home, in a warm bed in front of the computer, it's far better (...and less expensive).
    I'd love that they keep the old cinemas as places to screen a lot of films 24/24, during the day projecting the unknown filmmakers for example, and at night the ones known. This with a bar, please! I'd spent quite some time in such a place, and the exchanges between people, the meeting, the talking is important, it creates ideas and projects.
    It's no fun alone with the computer all the time... but the fact that soon everyone will be able to make his own movie and have it on the net (just like in music) is good, it will soon give the same freedom and occasion to every human, wherever and whoever he is.

  • Jesse Richards | July 2, 2013 7:35 AMReply

    Some people have been saying that David Lynch should crowdfund.

    No way. He has the money and connections to not have to do that.

    Maybe continue making films again? Sure. But honestly these quotes from him sound like excuses for something else. And David Lynch could certainly get theater space if he made something worth watching. Even "Inland Empire", possibly his worst film since Dune, played in theaters.

    If Lars Von Trier can get his phony crap shown, especially his new one, then David Lynch (a much more talented, authentic filmmaker) can get his films screened too.

    My feeling is that if Lynch gave more of a crap about the state of cinema, (rather than whether he personally might make another feature video), he would be making efforts to collaborate with and support the new generation of filmmakers, particularly the artier, underground ones- the ones that don't have a support network; the ones that really need to do battle to get their work seen. I cannot tell you how many gifted artists I've seen literally killing themselves to do their films- which in the end are not even seen- not because they aren't great, but because there isn't a network to support them.

    Also if the old production/distribution model has failed now (which we ALL know is the case, as I'm sure he does better than many of us) then how's about trying to develop a new one? Maybe even a healthier, more supportive one?

  • Screenplayhouse | June 30, 2013 2:56 PMReply

    There's sort of four things going on here at once.

    1. INLAND EMPIRE was terrible. When Lynch says he's 'working on a script' it reminds a Lynch fan of how that wasn't the approach to IE. That type of film was a career ender, and it doesn't help that it followed LOST HIGHWAY and whatever that TV PILOT thing was called. Every Lynch movie has some great stuff in it, but the creativity has gotten thin and the coherence has flown out the window. Understanding this --

    3. -- I understand why investors might shy away from Lynch. Even if Art Houses were flourishing. I don't think Lynch has taken a ten year break because of the 'sad state of cinema'. I think he's taken a break because he doesn't have something new to say in a compelling way. Cinematic writer's block. That said --

    4. -- cinema is in deplorable condition. It essentially died right after AMERICAN BEAUTY. How in hell was ARGO best picture? Not a bad film, but ZERO DARK was in a similar genre but had a better story, better acting, better directing. And those two movies should have split votes in any non-rigged contest and lost to BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. And how exactly did Tarantino take Best Screenplay in a script/film that abandoned editing for excess one third of the way in?

    A Star Trek Into Feces? What WAS that? Sure, it was fun, but every element of that movie was recycled from better movies and a season of 24. Brave 'new' worlds? More like cowardly commercial retreads.

    5. David: theaters are over. Unless you're making DIET COKE: THE MOVIE stop whining and exploit home theaters via Apple TV or Roku or Netflix, or YouTube or Vimeo. You don't think one of those entities would flip their shinola to sign an exclusive movie deal with you?

  • Joseph Chastain | June 28, 2013 8:32 AMReply

    David Lynch can't get a movie made, yet there is a sixth Fast and Furious film. What kind of world do we live in?

  • JEFTCG | June 27, 2013 5:55 PMReply

    Sad news indeed.

    When "Breaking Bad" finally ends its epic run and the dust settles, Vince Gilligan should consider show-running a third "Twin Peaks" season for AMC, picking up exactly where season 2 ended, 20 years later. With Vince's strong influence and sensibilities, he could make really make Mr. Lynch's show relevant, contemporary and hard-hitting again.

  • Stamos | June 27, 2013 10:48 AMReply

    Somebody tell him about kickstarter...

  • Helmut Berger | June 27, 2013 12:03 AMReply

    I love Lynch and Speilberg to death but I think this is kind of a death rattle from the old guard. It's true that the state of cinema is in a turbulent period right now. I think it's great that things are so shaken up and democratized. This is basically the new beginnings of this transformation that is happening. People need to just adjust their mindsets. The studios are slowly losing their foothold and only funding these big budget so called "safe bets", and less of them to boot. People are not going to stop watching movies period. The system just needs to change with the times, which I feel will happen. I've been seeing more mom and pop type indie theaters spring up and they are actually filling seats. I don't see $100 movie tickets being a viable choice a for the masses as Spielberg suggested, but then again I'm not Spielberg so I don't know much. It will all fall into place and work itself out if there is a market to make money from. People will eventually get tired of the same old ish. We are just going through a phase and people shouldn't get all freaked out. This same thing happened when Napster dropped. They have really been selling this scary "films going to implode" story a lot over the past couple months. It's nuts, if anything things are more than likely going to change for the better from all this chaos. Just my 2 cents...

  • jl | June 26, 2013 1:14 PMReply

    homie needs to learn french

  • Patricia Eva JOYCE | June 26, 2013 11:36 AMReply

    It's incredible to read such a thing. That man is one of the greatest in cinema! I'd pay to see his work again and again, me... And I can get you the people you want to see his films: all is question of publicity. And his interviews are very interesting too, so, hey! if you have any influence in the cinema business, WAKE UP!! There you have one man of real interest. I can't believe this thing...
    I'd have the money, I'd buy studios, and work on great movies. Tired of being fed with crap all around, and then to read this. I can't believe this.

  • Roland K. / Lynchland | June 26, 2013 10:58 AMReply

    Hi ,

    If you want to stay in tune with David Lynch's news, I recommend you the FB page Lynchland (you'll figure out how to get there : fb.com/lynchland)

    See you in the trees !

    Roland / Lynchland

  • Oliver | June 26, 2013 7:34 AMReply

    Who, I ask, are you going to believe when it comes to the state of cinema -- Soderbergh, Lynch and Spielberg, or your lying eyes?!

  • DrZaius | June 25, 2013 10:30 PMReply

    Reboot Twin Peaks!
    Or, uh... bring it back, somehow, with the same cast?

  • tgrrrg | June 25, 2013 10:01 PMReply

    "While those in our comments section will undoubtedly yell out for Megan Ellison to come to the rescue"

    American "art house" people are enthusiastic about the projects of the daughter of a CEO of Oracle? Thats sad hmm

  • Raj | June 25, 2013 2:49 PMReply

    In the older days kings, czars, monarchs or what have you would finance to build works of art no matter how much it costs. What use is the Taj Mahal, what use is the Pieta and the list is long. And yet they were built. Taj Mahal, Pieta and the rest of it has audience/tourists now but when they were built only a few hundreds must have seen them let alone appreciate. The point I want to make is these big multi-billion dollar studio empires with their ever changing CEOs' answerable to the share holders and the board though might want to make such art movies have their hands tied. They are appointed CEOs' in the first place to make money for the company and themselves and shareholders'. Its a strange world now money, money and more money. Its not bad to have money but its what you do with it is the question. Lets see what happens in the next 10 or maybe 20 years. From what I forsee most of these big studios will sink under their own weight. The Romans were gone a very long time ago weren't they.

  • nathan | June 25, 2013 1:24 PMReply

    TV series is a great idea, there is more room & time to develop depth & characters in the story. He is not wrong in saying the movie industry is in a bleak state.

  • eduardo | June 25, 2013 10:18 AMReply

    what he needs (and so do we) is the season 3 Twin peaks

  • Ceili | June 25, 2013 4:24 AMReply

    I think everyone who's doing something creative at the mo knows it's easier than ever to get the thing made, and harder than ever to get anyone to look at it/pay to see it. Everyone wants it now, for free, or for so little you won't recover your costs let alone see any capital for the next project. *That's* the depressing part, especially when we all thought the net would level the playing field.
    People like Lynch have got to be feeling that too. You know he's in love with a big screen and where do you get one of those these days if you're not Superfuckingman Six or Steelguy Five? Good luck with that.
    I just write books- no capital involved, thank christ. I can't imagine what it's like trying to pay for a production and promotion and blah blah blah and I take my hat off to anyone who's willing to try. But I think Lynch knows the score now as well as anyone. The arsehats are winning with their mouthbreathing franchises. And I don't know how indie creators can turn that around.

  • Glass | June 25, 2013 1:29 AMReply

    So inspiring. I love reading interviews from resourceful artists who kick ass in their craft no matter what the world hands them. Oh wait.

  • Dick Head | June 24, 2013 10:01 PMReply

    Now he has more opportunities than ever to make a film over which he has total creative control - something which has caused problems for him in the past ('Twin Peaks', 'Dune' etc.) It's always a bit irritating when hugely-successful showbiz people who could easily raise money to make whatever they wanted (in many cases, they could pay for it themselves) complain and blame their lack of output on "the industry".

    Personally, I think Lynch is out of ideas.

  • Helmut Berger | June 27, 2013 12:05 AM

    I think you are spot on mate... couldn't be said any better

  • LB | June 25, 2013 11:06 AM

    I could barely sit through TDKR once, surely if anyone's running out of ideas Nolan is, and blockbusters in general haven't managed to drum up an original idea in years, how many Super/Spider man films can they make? Thing is any art form that loses it's provocateurs and innovators is already dying from the inside out, they may be seen by relatively few but their impact is more lasting and evolves the medium as a whole. Nolan may be talented but he's hardly an innovator, I mean his dream film Inception? Lynch was there first.

  • spassky | June 25, 2013 10:32 AM

    RE: Nathan

    I know plenty of people who never want to see a Nolan film ever again and would gladly rewatch Inland Empire or The Last Emperor for eternity.

    By "raising his game" I take it you mean throw more money at a production and have it not get out of hand? Yeah, I would agree that's a positive attribute, but does it make a movie more interesting, or more entertaining? More adult, or more four-sector?

    I would agree and say it's disingenuous for an auteur to say how much Hollywood is broken when their relationship with that part of the industry was fraught to begin with, to say the least. Having said that, Soderbergh and Lynch have had some seriously subversive mainstream films out there, and have gotten nothing but shit after the fact due to their being deemed arthouse. Like it's a pejorative term. Which way do we want it? I know what side I'm on. And it ain't Nolan's.

  • AE | June 25, 2013 10:24 AM

    I watch Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire all the time, the beauty of Lynch's later films is that they are true mysteries that require many viewings, unless of course you like your stories spoon fed to you, in which case you'll be hard pressed to sit through them once, which I guess is Lynch's point. As for him being out of ideas, what a crock, those later films were innovating film narrative in ways no one else comes close to, and he was just getting started. As for commercial cinema, it's growing more niche by the day, yeah the fanboys turn out on the opening weekend, but so many blockbusters are failing in the following weeks to draw in the rest of us, who would rather sit at home and devour TV box sets from the comfort of our home.

  • Nathan | June 25, 2013 4:09 AM

    Obviously he's out of ideas, he used that stupid Mobius strip narrative gag in three out of his last four movies. But the problem is it's hard to take guys like Lynch, Gilliam, Soderbergh, or Bertolucci seriously when they say Hollywood is broken, because they mostly specialize in arty movies that 9 out of 10 moviegoers have absolutely no interest in anyway. (Honestly, when was the last time you had the urge to rewatch Inland Empire, Tideland, The Girlfriend Experience, or The Last Emperor?) I'm no fan of Chris Nolan but you gotta give the guy credit for consistently raising his game and delivering in a cut-throat business.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | June 24, 2013 9:58 PMReply

    American film has always been about the dollars. That's why we don't really throw the word "cinema" around here stateside. Edison and the other "vertical integrators" didn't see an art form. They saw something the common man would pay a hard-earned nickel for to escape his low-key shitty life.

    Not much has changed in over a century.

  • LA2000 | June 24, 2013 9:46 PMReply

    Rather than focus on pure original, Lynch should turn his attention to a known brand that would blend well with his sensibility, something that might give the marketing department a little help.

    I am pretty sure that if he pitched, say, a Lynch-ian remake of "Sunset Boulevard" to HBO or Annapurna, he'd be back on the set in no time. Once back on the map, he'd have access to the capital to pursue a modest Lynch original.

    Otherwise, he'd be wise to just pick up a Canon 5d and do his own thing, or remain content to complain about the state of the world like a crotchety old man.

  • Northern Star | June 24, 2013 8:59 PMReply

    I've got a GREAT new project for David Lynch to work on... go back and re-cut 'Dune' to his original vision or as close as he can get to it! Even in it's compromised and severely truncated theatrical version, Lynch's 'Dune' is a work of art that is sometimes utterly inspired and transcendent, I so wish he'd give it another go or at least give instructions to someone else on what to change... Michael Thau who worked on the Dick Donner cut of 'Superman II' would be the perfect go-to guy for this restoration if Lynch doesn't want to do it himself!

  • spassky | June 25, 2013 10:34 AM

    Lynch won't even TALK about 'Dune'

  • TetraVaal | June 24, 2013 7:39 PMReply

    "it would be shuffled off to VOD land, which doesn't seem to be the right place for someone like Lynch, where almost every element of his films are calibrated for seeing them on a big screen."

    Hmm, while his films may be tailor-made for the 'big screen'--VOD has become a sort of saving grace for a lot on independent filmmakers. If anything, VOD and Netflix could become the future of indie film with the type of success those mediums are having.

  • BEF | June 24, 2013 7:55 PM

    True, and more available to areas other than LA/NY/Chicago etc

  • Joeblo | June 24, 2013 7:54 PM

    Not the mention the fact that two of his best works... TWIN PEAKS and MULHOLLAND DRIVE either were or started out as designed for the small screen.

    This is in general just another sloppy article with a good bit of information accompanied by amateurish / not well thought out commentary.

  • hank | June 24, 2013 7:26 PMReply

    He's well aware that he could raise $15 million for a film. It's the culture of cinema and distribution that's depressing to him. He doesn't want to make a film just for someone to download illegally and watch it on their ipad. He's clearly just not inspired, with regards to cinema.

  • THOR | June 24, 2013 7:23 PMReply

    As other commenters have said, Lynch might be the most popular/recognisable arthouse director in the world today.

    Mulholland Drive cost $15M and even made its money back. With all the new acclaim he's got since then, sure his new movie can be a box office hit.

    Just how big a movie he wants to make? A $15M one shouldn't be a problem for him.

  • Andre | June 24, 2013 6:58 PMReply

    If Veronica Mars can raise $5M, David Lynch should have no problem Kick-starting a project! I would donate for anything David Lynch wants to make.. Anything!

  • Blue Bob | June 24, 2013 6:44 PMReply

    Lynch should do a series for HBO, most definitely.

  • ummm...no | June 24, 2013 6:38 PMReply

    So tired of this attitude...a minute doesn't go by on Tumblr without seeing a sea punk post a Twin Peaks still. All he needs to do is a promote a Kickstarter campaign, and he'd raise $5-8 million, no problem. If Braff can raise duckets from fans, there is no excuse for Lynch. His fanbase has never been larger and more cross-generational. He's practically mainstream. Just like Korine.

    Why are filmmakers not embracing the Louis CK direct download model? Very few of Lynch's fans originally caught his films during a theatrical run and his unorthodox style is conducive to intimate home screenings.

    I'm not knocking theatrical, but all these mediums are blurring in exciting ways, Lynch surprisingly isn't taking advantage. Don't blame "American cinemagoers," either.

  • Peter | June 24, 2013 6:28 PMReply

    I don't believe Lynch couldn't get distribution. He's a recognizable name enough to coast on that for a modest budget

  • Alan B | June 24, 2013 6:24 PMReply

    This isn't a joke: Lynch needs to write, direct and star in a shot-for-shot remake of 'Leave it to Beaver', playing the father. There's part of him that is that Norman Bates psychopath, and there is another part that is a 'gee, golly' nuclear family dad.

  • joeblo | June 24, 2013 5:49 PMReply

    Lynch heralded how incredible the freakin PD-150 (the camera that's too pathetic for students to use at USC film school now) made the process for him. If what he cared about was creating something original and cinematic, there's less stopping him now than ever. SC and Upstream Color is a great example. Lynch would have no problem getting enough money to put something like that together - and it would show in plenty of theaters. He's just tired and out of big movie ideas, so he's focusing on small things. That's fine... but don't blame it on the state of the industry. It's easier than ever for him to make a film.

  • Sad | June 24, 2013 6:22 PM

    These guys get lazy as hell after they get in the habit of someone else paying for their films...lol

  • kenneth land | June 24, 2013 5:43 PMReply

    Lynch has made a number of brilliant movies, but he shouldn't be encouraged to make another "INLAND EMPIRE," which was abysmal in just about every way.

  • Nolan | June 24, 2013 6:34 PM

    Came here to say this. I love Blue Velvet, but that was a long, long time ago.

  • Marko | June 24, 2013 5:32 PMReply

    "Says Current State Of The Industry Is "Depressing""

    And this is why he's embarking on a music career?

  • Webster Skyhorse | June 24, 2013 9:10 PM

    "you're fresh out of luck in terms of getting theatre space and having people come to see it."

    Close reading skills tell me he's talking about exhibitors as much as he is other parts of the process. What theater chains are going to want to float this for a few weeks waiting for word of mouth to build when they can slot in more franchise slop and based on a true story Oscar darlings?

    Despite his dalliances with digital, Lynch likes a big canvas and high production values. A deal where VOD is the primary release platform will not give him the support (ideological and commercial) he needs to see the project done right.

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