The Creators of Twin Peaks and What They’ve Been Up To the Past 25 Years

Twin Peaks was quite an oddball when it first premiered in 1990 on ABC. It was the most unique television series of its time in the fact that no one had seen anything quite like it. It was incredibly odd, surreal, mysterious, and at times comedic. Twin Peaks knew how to blend the right elements into creating an engrossing TV drama, and though it made a few bad turns here and there that lead to its cancellation hiatus in 1991, Twin Peaks later went on to solidified itself as one of the zaniest shows ever seen on television.

Little more than a quarter of a century later, Twin Peaks has returned to our TV screens for its long overdue revival. Showtime is the new home for Twin Peaks, airing the 18-part limited series that hopefully will solve the show’s 25 year old mystery. Along with familiar mysteries the Twin Peaks revival will have some familiar faces. Most, but not all, of the main cast will return, along with some recurring characters from the original run. Many of whom came out of retirement to work again on the series. But most importantly, the co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost has teamed up once again for this reboot. In this list we’ll take a look at the creators of Twin Peaks, and what their careers have been like from the cancellation of the original Twin Peaks up to now.

David Lynch

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Photo Courtesy of IMDB

David Lynch and Mark Frost, are the glorious co-creators of the mesmerizing weird-fest that is Twin Peaks. David Lynch of course being the more popular of the 2. It was his knack for weirdness that he’d displayed in his pre-Twin Peaks films Eraserhead (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986) etc. that made the series such a stand-out. After Twin Peaks got canned Lynch and Mark teamed up once again for the 1992 prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me; and the comedy series On the Air (1992), which was cancelled after only three episodes had aired.  Lynch parted ways with Frost and created the three-episode HBO mini-series Hotel Room (1993) about events that happen in one hotel room but on different dates; and the film Lost Highway (1997) co-written by Barry Gifford and starred Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette, which failed commercially and received a mixed response from critics. Following Lost Highway, Lynch directed a film from a script written by Mary Sweeney and John E. Roach. The resulting motion picture, The Straight Story was based upon a true story; that of Alvin Straight, an elderly man from Laurens, Iowa, who goes on a three hundred mile journey to visit his sick brother in Mount Zion, Wisconsin, riding a lawnmower for the entire journey.

Mulholland Drive

In 1999, Lynch approached ABC once again with ideas for a television drama. The network gave Lynch the go-ahead to shoot a two-hour pilot for the series Mulholland Dr(1999). It was inspired by an idea he had for an Twin Peaks spinoff series. The character arc of Betty was written for the Twin Peaks supporting character Audrey Horne, who would have been the central figure of the proposed spin-off. The TV pilot was shot in 1999 but was rejected by television executives. In his book Catching the Big Fish, David Lynch recounts that he was told the ABC executive who rejected Mullholland Dr. from going to series watched it at six in the morning, from across the room, while having his breakfast and doing other work. The executive found it so boring after the first few minutes that he even turn the volume down. After the pilot got rejected, Lynch revisited the project, – with additional funding from Studio Canal – adding newly shot footage to the Mulholland Dr. TV Pilot, turning it into a featured film Mulholland Drive (2001). The half-pilot, half-feature result, along with Lynch’s characteristic style, has left the general meaning of the film’s events open to interpretation. Lynch has declined to offer an explanation of his intentions for the narrative, leaving audiences, critics, and even cast members to speculate on what transpires. The film was acclaimed by critics and earned Lynch the Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director Award) at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival; as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Director, making it Lynch’s 3rd Oscar nominated film alongside The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet. In 2016, Mulholland Drive (2001) was named the top film of the 21st century by the BBC following a poll of 177 film critics from 36 countries.

After Mulholland Drive Lynch took a break from the TV and Film industry and utilized his website as his distribution channel. In 2002, he released a series of online shorts titled DumbLand, which was followed up by even more short-films, a sitcom titled Rabbits, and a Japanese-styled horror titled Darkened Room. In 2006, Lynch’s Mulholland Drive-follow up feature film Inland Empire was released. At three hours long, it was the longest of Lynch’s films and like Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway before it, the film did not follow a traditional narrative structure. Inland Empire was generally favored by critics but failed to reach the level of commercial success that Mulholland Drive had gotten.  After Inland Empire Lynch pretty much disappeared from the film world. He released another short film Boat (2007), but besides a few documentaries and guest appearances not much has been heard from Lynch until now (Twin Peaks reboot). In 2018 Lynch announced his retirement from the film industry and promised that Inland Empire (2006) was the the last film he’ll ever make. Many might have seen this coming since Lynch himself had stated in previous years that he lacked the inspiration to start a new movie project.

Mark Frost

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Photo Courtesy of IMDB

David Lynch and Mark Frost, are the glorious co-creators of the mesmerizing weird-fest that is Twin Peaks. Mark Frost is a bit more low-key. Before Twin Peaks (1990) Frost was best known to be a writer on the emmy-nominated NBC television series Hill Street Blues (1983), and wrote a few episodes for other television series back around that time as well. After Twin Peaks got canned Frost and Lynch teamed up once again for the 1992 prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me; and the comedy series On the Air (1992), which was cancelled after only three episodes had aired. Frost then ventured out on his own to write and direct the 1992 mystery thriller Storyville. He took a long break from the industry, and released 3 ficton novels between 1993-1997; The List of Seven (1993), The Six Messiahs (1995) and Before I Wake (1997). Frost returned to the film industry in 1998 with the short film The Repair Shop. He made a return to television also, but his returned was short-lived after his 1998 CBS television series Buddy Faro got canceled after only 8 episodes aired; and his 1999 pilot Forbidden Island failed to make it to series. He wrote the TV Movie The Deadly Look of Love (2000), and 1 episode of the 2001 TV Series All Souls before it was canceled by UPN after 6 episodes. Frost released his first non-fiction novel The Greatest Game Ever Played: A True Story in 2002, based on the early life of golf champion Francis Ouimet. It was later adapted into a film – with the same title – in 2005.

Fantastic Four

Production for the 2005 Fantastic Four film faced many setbacks. Fox hired Chris Columbus to write and direct Fantastic Four in 1995. He developed a screenplay with Michael France, but decided to step down as director. Peter Segal was hired to direct in April 1997, and was replaced by Sam Weisman by the end of that year. Fox brought in Sam Hamm to rewrite the script in April 1998 in an attempt to lower the $165 million projected budget. In February 1999, with development taking longer than expected, Eichinger and Fox signed a deal with Marvel to extend the control of the film rights for another two years, with a summer 2001 release planned, and hiring Raja Gosnell to direct. However, Gosnell decided to do Scooby Doo (2001) instead and dropped out in October 2000. He was replaced by Peyton Reed in April 2001 and this is when Mark Frost was brought on board for another rewrite. Reed departed from the project in July 2003 and Tim Story was signed on to direct Mark Frost’s re-written script in 2004. Fantastic Four (2005) was a commercial success but failed to impressed critics. But despite getting based by critics, 20th Century Fox insisted on a sequel. Mark Frost was joined by Don Payne as they wrote the screenplay for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). The sequel received even more negative reviews from critics and performed less at the box office, but even the Fantastic Four movies are the most commercially successful films Mark Frost has been involved in.

After Fantastic Four Mark Frost took an indefinite break from the Film industry. The following years he went on to release a collection of both non-fiction and fictional books: The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America, And the Story of Golf (2006), The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever (2007), Game Six (2009), The Second Objective (2009) and Paladin Prophecy 1,2 & 3 (2012-2015). Frost reconnected with David Lynch in 2014 for the Twin Peaks reboot, and insight of its return has released 2 dossier style novel based on the series: The Secret History of Twin Peaks (2016) and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (2017). David Lynch has definitely had a better career than Frost and for this reason many has overlooked Frost and praise Lynch as if he’s the sole genius behind Twin Peaks. He even addressed this issue in 1993 saying “There were times, when David was making Wild at Heart (1990), when I was doing almost all the work on Twin Peaks (1990). But everybody wants to believe in the auteur theory, that it all somehow springs from one person, and David had a much higher profile.”