Interviews

David Lynch: "I Never Said I Wasn't Going to Make Films Anymore"

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Um, right now I'm having a delicious cup of Kopi Luwak.

No. Will you be drinking espressos, or will you be drinking house roast?

Probably the house roast. I live in Miami, Florida, and I usually get Cuban coffee if I'm in the mood for espresso...

Uh huh..

I will definitely try the David Lynch Espresso as I work on this review. You say you drink it all day long. So it's true, you drink over 12 cups a day.

I think so, yeah.

Do you ever take a break and not drink coffee for a day or so?

No, um, I never had to do that.

I asked your receptionist about the coffee in your office, because most offices have this septic tank of stale-bitter coffee which sits there all day, and it's not really good. I asked her about it.

And what did she say?

She said that you could answer that.

(Laughs) Oh, OK. Well, I just got these two new machines, and they are so beautiful! And everybody that works here, you know, drinks the espressos and they make house roast. They make cappucinos. I have cappucinos all day long.

Do you make those yourself?

I make some of them myself and sometimes other people make them for me.

Now, you are a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation...

Right.

Apparently you are also quite a coffee enthusiast. I was wondering if there is a relationship between the two. Like, do you drink coffee before you meditate? Before and after? Does the coffee ever make you feel like jumping out of meditation and writing down ideas? Do you have enough discipline to...

That's already a whole bunch of questions, OK?

I'm sorry.

Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique to allow any human being to dive within and experience unbounded awareness. The deepest level of life, eternal level of life, pure consciousness. And you come out of meditation feeling so refreshed, and every time a person truly transcends, they infuse some of that all positive quality of consciousness. That field within is: unbounded intelligence, creativity, happiness, love, energy, and peace. You come out of meditation so refreshed, filled with energy, and ready to rock! And I drink a cup of coffee before I meditate in the morning, and I drink coffee all day long. Now a lot of people get their fix from meditation. I just love coffee, so I keep drinking it. But meditation is what really changes things for the good. Coffee is like some frosting on the cake.

So if...

And then you asked about ideas. Sorry to interrupt. You know, when John Lennon was with Maharishi in India, he told Maharishi, "I keep getting these ideas during meditation and I don't want to forget them, so what should I do?" And Maharishi told him, "Listen, just come gently out, write the ideas down, and then go back in." And so you get down deep in there and you get ideas. If you do get ideas; you don't always get ideas, and you don't meditate to get ideas. Mostly the ideas come after meditation, but if you are down there and if you do get ideas, it's a strange thing. Because when you come back out of meditation, sometimes you forget those things. So, if I got a great idea deep in meditation, I would come out, write that thing down, and then go back to meditating.

Does the coffee have any effect on the meditation?

No. Well, it has an effect on your physical being and body. But meditation is a completely different thing. It's... it's so beautiful. And some people enjoy coffee, and some people enjoy different things. And you don't have to give up anything to meditate. You just add meditation to your life and go about your business.

So this is another question, and please cut me off if I start going off on a tangent again...

Sure.

These ideas, they seem to be the dominating thoughts of your mind, and they transform into physical reality and objects. Your films, paintings, photographs, music, television, furniture, stage productions... For me personally, and people that I know, they have had a therapeutic effect on multitudes of people. And, I mean, in high school, I had really bad acne and I wrote this poem called, "I Am a Teenage Elephant Man." I had a drug problem later on in life, and I always could relate to that character behind the dumpster in Mulholland Drive.

I have seen that movie many times in the theater, and that character who pops out from behind the dumpster is such a jarring character. In 2009, I was driving under the influence, and I hit a pedestrian with my car, and there was blood all over the windshield, and, um, I've been drinking a lot of coffee since then. I don't drink alcohol or do any drugs anymore...

[laughter] Uh huh.

Your films have had a subconscious healing effect in the sense that sometimes life doesn't seem to have a linear narrative. It doesn't make sense right away. And this question might seem a little off, but have you ever considered opening -- I read that you aren't going to make anymore films because cinemas are kind of disappearing -- have you ever considered opening a David Lynch Coffee Shop, because it would probably put Starbucks out of business.

No, I haven't thought of that, but you know, you asked some good questions. You should find a legitimate teacher of Transcendental Meditation and start meditating. And you will see what it does for a human being. This thing of transcending means experiencing that field that is always and has forever been there. It is the self. This is that field. So you get that technique and then meditate regularly every day and then give me a call and tell me how you feel. I guarantee that you will tell me, "I am so happy and thankful to have this technique."

And I never said I wasn't going to make films anymore. I did say that I wasn't going to shoot on celluloid, but now, I even love celluloid again. It is a strange world. I think celluloid is so incredibly beautiful, and I love the digital cameras as well. So I think you should use what is right for the project. But like you said, the film industry has changed so much. I build films to go on the big screen, and the kind of films I make probably wouldn't get that many screens.

So, you know, things are always changing. Maybe the art houses will come back. We'll see what happens, but it's a great big beautiful world, and I just don't have the time to set up a coffee shop. [laughter]

But I got a great line of coffee. It tastes really good. It's smooth and not bitter. It is all organic. Fairly traded, and these beans have such a smell -- unbelievable -- and the taste: "boom!" Sends you right to heaven.

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Jason Handelsman