The City of Absurdity   Lost Highway  
About the Film

  David Lynch | Barry Gifford | Patricia Arquette | Bill Pullman

Robert Blake | Robert Loggia | Natasha Gregson Wagner

Balthazar Getty | Patricia Norris | Mary Sweeney | Peter Deming


Mary Sweeney (Producer/Editor)

"He's (David Lynch) written a synopsis that describes that on one level it's the simple story about a man who has murdered his wife for her infidelity. And on another it's a very complex and interesting representation of his interior struggles, and the world he creates to deal with this heinous crime he's committed."

"Working with David is just great. He's an all-around filmmaker, very involved every step of the way, certainly in editing, which is very important. We work together very well. There was absolutely no fear; I told him what I thought all the time, and sometimes he wasn't thrilled. I'll make a first cut during production; he gives me many notes and goes on his way. I'll make the changes, and he comes back. He had confidence in me, and our communication was good enough that he could tell me what he wants, knowing he'll get it. If it doesn't work on the cutting end, he accepts that. We do collaborate, but he is very much the director in the cutting room."

"All of that's in the script. David knew exactly what he wanted, and it's enhanced beautifully by the way he shoots things and how visual the film is. Working with him and getting dailies makes every day Christmas - all of the crew shows up; you can't believe what you're seeing; and it's all so exciting. It wasn't a walk on the wild side for me. The film is very close to the script."

"There was a lot of stuff about Pete's life with his buddies. There were a couple of great scenes that were visually so fantastic that I hated to lose them, so we kept them in. Pete goes out with his friends, first to the drive-in, then to the bowling alley, where he's dancing with Sheila, and both of those scenes are significant. We lost a lot in that area, and immediately after the transformation there are a couple of things that weren't moving the story forward. It all had to do with Pete's life, which were scenes that weren't going to give people the answers they were looking for. Those scenes were just hanging there."

"What's interesting with David is you have to cut knowing how you're going to work it out, which I do know very well. You can trust certain things that feel awkward. He knows exactly what he's going to do, and it's going to be full of sounds. David does the sound design for Lost Highway. You just know the footage is going to be greatly enhanced. It's as old as the hills in filmmaking; the way you cut a scary sequence with music enhances it. There are sequences like that in the film. The transformation from Fred to Pete has got terrific sounds."

"David and Angelo work together in such a way that long before they went to Prague, they had a couple sessions where they sat down and came up with some melodies that Angelo eventually translated to orchestral arrangements. Some of the music, like the end title music by David Bowie, was chosen by David in pre-production. He knew right away that's what he wanted for the end titles. Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor and some of that other stuff came in at the eleventh hour, and we had to figure out a place for them. We actually replaced a song with a song from Smashing Pumpkins."

"Music came in different stages. All through post-production, David listened to music. He listens to music while he thinks about writing. It's really integral to him. He knows when something is completely ready and when it's not. We use temporary music tracks, but the problem with temp tracks is you aren't using what you want in the end. The music will change, and your picture changes in how it's cut, which changes the internal rhythm of a scene and how it feels. We only use temp music as part of the process of selection. Once a song is in there, it's pretty much going to stay, except in that one case."

"David sings praises to those people. He gives a lot of details. People give the film a significance that tells part of their own story, and that makes David so happy. I've had people give very funny reactions. There are all kinds of explanations for who Patricia Arquette is; Fred is having a dream about the type of person he'd like to be with, or someone he used to be with, or she's his alter ego. People come up with great stories and I can't say if they're right or wrong. Students write their theses on David's movies- and they write fascinating things- but it's not what David was thinking when he made the film. People read a lot into his work. I think it's great. You stimulate people.That's very satisfying for an artist."

"David has a very strong vision, and in other ways he's very reckless. He has no fear. The more well-known you get, the more difficult that becomes. I'm very proud that he's still 'out there.' He's always lamenting that he wants to change his name, get a wig, grow a beard, make a movie as a complete unknown and see how people take it. His films are so recognizable that he couldn't do that, but could another person come along and make something like this? It's an interesting question."

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© Mike Hartmann