Dailies: “I Love You, You’re a Mad Man”


Hiya, folks. Just a bit of a “fun fact” sort of post today.

Very quickly in his career, Lynch established a reputation for the bizarre. In the late 1970s, he was looking for support for an upcoming dramatic feature, The Elephant Man (which would star John Hurt and Sir Anthony Hopkins), but had much difficulty finding an ally. Several studios had turned down the project. Then Lynch met Mel Brooks, who had begun producing films in the same period and who, after signing on for The Elephant Man screenplay, requested to see a screening of a previous Lynch work. And Brooks chose Eraserhead (1977).

In the interview I mention in my previous “Nightlies,” Lynch describes how he reluctantly agreed to the request, assuming that one look at Eraserhead (with its bleeding chickens and deformed babies and bizarre musical set pieces), and any sane producer would find the nearest exit. As he puts it, “This was the end of the road for me.” So, the film was screened, but Lynch could not bear to be present, and instead paced outside the theatre. Here’s Lynch full description of the Brooks’s response:

The doors came bursting open and Mel came hurtling towards me and wrapped his arms around me, and said: “I love you, you’re a mad man, you can do the job.”


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