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Young David Lynch Talks 'Eraserhead' in 1979 On-Location Video Interview

Photo of Tom Christie By Tom Christie | Thompson on Hollywood July 3, 2013 at 2:29PM

Some painfully bad questions (and hair) from the 23-old me but good answers (and, as always, hair) from the 33-year-old David Lynch. Shot for my television-production class at UCLA in 1979, this interview features archival footage of the oil fields that served as a location for Lynch’s AFI film "Eraserhead" and now lie beneath the Beverly Center.
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David Lynch, center, during the "Eraserhead" production
David Lynch, center, during the "Eraserhead" production

Some painfully bad questions (and hair) from the 23-old me but good answers (and, as always, hair) from the 33-year-old David Lynch. Shot for my television-production class at UCLA in 1979, this interview features archival footage of the oil fields that served as a location for Lynch’s AFI film "Eraserhead" and now lie beneath the Beverly Center. 

Also seen but alas not heard much from (mea culpa, bad interviewing) is cinematographer Frederick Elmes. I was working at the time for Parallax, now Landmark, Theaters, owners of the Nuart, where Eraserhead was the midnight movie. (The video also includes some funny responses from audience members.) Lynch had been with John Waters earlier on the day of the interview and almost got him to join us. 

"Eraserhead"
"Eraserhead"

David later provided me with a copy of his short film "The Amputee," also shot by Elmes, which we screened following the interview on one TV set outside on the UCLA campus — a world premier. The interview ends on one of the great lines from David Lynch, who said he wasn’t interested in Hollywood stars at the time: “If you’re going into the netherworld, you don’t want to go in with Chuck Heston."

Watch the video interview with Lynch here.

This article is related to: Interviews , Interviews, David Lynch


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.