David Lynch has a new memoir out named Room to Dream, and it looks fantastic. He co-wrote it with journalist Kristine McKenna. Lynch also did the audiobook, which is great news because that means we now have fifteen or so more hours of Lynch saying “bladder” and “pretentious bullshit” and other interesting words.
In the book Lynch tells a story about a movie script that he generated with Robert Engels around 1994 that never got made with the name Dream of the Bovine. Around the same time Engels co-wrote Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me with Lynch.
The things Lynch and Engels have said about this screenplay are really weird. Engels actually said of the script that it was about “three guys, who used to be cows, living in Van Nuys and trying to assimilate their lives.” For his part, Lynch has said of the project that it was “a really dumb, really stupid, meant-to-be-pitifully-bad-quality budget thing” and also that it was to be a “very stupid comedy.” On The City of Absurdity, a website devoted to Lynch, it is stated without attribution that the action of the movie “should take place in Paris 1911.”
In the new book Lynch discloses more about Dream of the Bovine in which we learn that Brando enjoyed mirth with tomatoes at every opportunity. The part about Brando’s conception of the project comes at the end.
Around that time I was also trying to get Dream of the Bovine going. Dream of the Bovine is sort of in the same realm as One Saliva Bubble in that they’re both about misunderstanding and stupidity, but One Saliva Bubble is more normal and is kind of a feel-good movie. Dream of the bovine is an absurd comedy. The script needs a lot of work, but there are things in it that I really like. Harry Dean and I went up to talk to Marlon Brando about the two of them doing it together, but Brando hated it. He looked me and I and said, “It’s pretentious bullshit,” and he started telling us about these cookies made out of grass that grows in salt water that he wanted to promote. Then he told us about a car he wanted to build that had this bladder underneath that would cook this grass and make fuel, like the car would digest the grass. You could never tell if Marlon was putting you on or he was serious.
The thing about Marlon was, he just didn’t give a shit about anything. Every business has bad behavior going on, but there’s something about this business, with all the egos and lies and backstabbing, that makes you want to do something else rather than be in it. For sure, if anybody had that feeling it was Brando. He played the game for a while, then he couldn’t do it anymore because it made him sick, and he’d reached a point where he just wanted to have fun. In a weird way I think he was having fun, too, and it was fun talking to him. This was around the time he went on The Larry King Show and kissed Larry King.
He came here to the house a couple of times. One time he came up here by himself––I guess he’d driven himself––and he came in big, you know, just being Brando in this house. It made me a little nervous because I didn’t know why he was here or what we were going to do. I figured I’d make him a coffee, but right after he got here he says, “So, you got anything to eat?” I thought, Oh my God, but I said, “Marlon, I don’t know, let’s go look.” There was one tomato and one banana in the kitchen and he said, “Okay, that will do,” so I got him a plate and a knife and fork and we sat down and started talking. Then he says, “You got any salt?” So he was salting the tomato and cutting it up and eating it while we were talking. Then Mary came over with Riley, and Brando says, “Mary, give me your hand, I want to give you a gift,” so she put her hand out. He’d made a little ring out of the Del Monte sticker that had been on the tomato and he slipped it onto her finger.
Marlon was dressing in drag now and then during that period, and the thing Marlon really wanted to do was dress up as a woman and have Harry Dean dress up as a woman, and the two of them would have tea together and ad-lib while they were drinking tea. Think about that. It would’ve been fucking incredible! All I’d have to do is turn the camera on, but Marlon chickened out. It would drive me nuts. He should’ve done it!
For the record, the year Brando kissed Larry King on TV was 1994—Brando passed away in 2004 and Stanton died just last year. So this movie will, sadly, never get made.
Here’s David Lynch telling us his favorite quinoa recipe, because that sort of thing just never, ever gets old:
via Will McCrabb