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22 Things You Might Not Know About Mulholland Drive

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1. It started as a TV pilot.

Director David Lynch actually got the name for the film when he was planning to create a different pilot, a Twin Peaks spinoff with Mark Frost. Eventually, Lynch was inspired to create a new Mulholland Drive for ABC. It was very elaborate and many elements were similar to the film; it even had over 50 speaking parts. The show was eventually rejected by ABC, with whom Lynch was already having a rough relationship. Apparently, an executive told Lynch that he almost fell asleep while he was standing up and watching it. Lynch has even claimed that no one even told him that ABC had no interest in airing the pilot. The French company Canal Plus bought the pilot as a film. It was then re-edited with 50 minutes of new footage.

2. Many of the actors were lesser known because it was going to be a TV show.

Had Lynch been planning to make a film for the entire process, Naomi Watts may have not even been considered for the lead role. Because Mulholland Drive was originally going to be a television series, Lynch and his casting directors had to pick actors and actresses who would sign contracts for a long-term television series as opposed to a shorter film job. In Lynch’s words, “You swim in a different pool when you are picking actors or actresses for a TV series that may go on for a long time.” He did go on to emphasize that she was “right for the part.”

3. Most of the ideas for the film came from Lynch’s transcendental meditation.

Lynch practices transcendental meditation, which he describes as a way to “expand consciousness.” When the film version of Mulholland Drive was finally greenlit, he had no ideas and hadn’t even been thinking about it. The day that he needed to put ideas on pages, he meditated and that’s when “all the ideas came, all at once.”

4. Lynch didn’t audition any actors.

Before being cast, Naomi Watts merely had a 30 minute conversation with Lynch, which is similar to how all of the leads were chosen. During a press conference in 2001, Lynch said, “When you meet the person, I don’t know what it is. I never make anyone read a scene because then I want to start rehearsing—no matter who it is. I just get a feeling based on a conversation. It’s something in the eyes. It’s some sort of feeling in the air. And I know that this person can do that role.”

5. Laura Elena Harring got into a car accident on the way to her meeting with Lynch.

Harring was very excited to finally be at a point in her career where someone like Lynch’s casting agent would call her. That excitement distracted her and she rear-ended another car. Luckily for Harring, it was the car of another actor on the way to an audition. So they left the scene of the accident. She learned at the meeting that her character, Rita, gets into a car accident in one of the first scenes.

6. Harring also predicted the Mulholland Drive movie.

Even though Lynch told her that the pilot for ABC was no longer happening, Harring held out hope. She once said, “I kept dreaming about Mulholland Drive becoming a movie. And I kept telling [Lynch] that I was seeing omens: Rita, which is the character name, all over the place, and I just saw ‘Mulholland’ everywhere and I said, ‘You know, I just feel that it’s going to go forward.”

7. Billy Ray Cyrus was cast because of his music.

According to Lynch, “I was listening to Billy Ray Cyrus, even though he wasn’t on the list for this particular role in Mulholland Drive, and I said ‘Hey, that’s Gene the pool man right there.’ So there are beautiful, happy accidents.”

8. The character of the cowboy just appeared to Lynch.

He explained, “Sometimes an idea presents itself to you and you’re just as surprised as anyone else. I remember when I was writing Mulholland Drive, the character of the Cowboy just came walking in one night. I just started talking about this cowboy. That’s what happens—something starts occurring but it wasn’t there a moment ago.”

9. Lafayette Montgomery, the first Cowboy, was the co-producer of Wild at Heart and Twin Peaks.

Strangely, in the other projects, Montgomery is credited as “Monty” whereas he’s “Lafayette Montgomery” in the Mulholland Drive credits. A cowboy shows up again at the later party scene, but it is not Montgomery.

10. The film intentionally draws parallels between acting and amnesia.

David Lynch - On The Way To Mulholland Drive - 1/3 by kary82

The film features Betty, the actress, and Rita, the amnesia victim. Lynch sees a connection between those two. “Amnesia somehow ties into acting,” Lynch once explained. “A great actor or actress, they give up themselves and they become somebody else. And everybody, myself included, sometimes wants to get lost and to find themselves in a new world and film gives you that chance to get lost completely in another world."

11. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Not only that, but the film’s funders from Canal Plus saw it for the first time there.

12. David Lynch is cryptic about its meaning.

Lynch is notorious for his refusal to discuss interpretations of his films. For example, this is how he described Mulholland Drive: “Part one: she found herself inside the perfect mystery. Part two: a sad illusion. Part three: love.”

13. But he calls it a love story.

Lynch said, “It’s strange how films unfold as they go. There may be a noir element in Mulholland Drive, and a couple of genres swimming around in there together. For me, it’s a love story.”

To many, the film is undoubtedly a mystery. But Roger Ebert denied that idea shortly after the film was released. He believed that “Mulholland Drive isn’t like Memento, where if you watch closely enough you can hope to explain the mystery. There is no explanation. There may not even be a mystery.”

14. Promotion for the film involved clues.

Luckily for Lynch fans, he was asked to create a promotional campaign of 10 clues. Clues included “Notice appearances of the red lampshade,” “Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup,” and “Where is Aunt Ruth?” The rest can be found at Mulholland-Drive.Net.

15. Naomi Watts has her own interpretation.

In an interview with James Lipton, Watts stated that she saw Diane as real and Betty as a figment of Diane’s imagination. She told Lipton, “I saw Diane as being the truth and she imagined this Betty character because she was the one who was the actress and getting all the attention and all the light and, you know, her friendship with Camilla, it was the other way around.”

16. Watts’s tears in the masturbation scene were genuine.

“David wanted utter despair and I was so humiliated by doing the scene that I did cry a lot and I couldn’t stop crying,” Watts said. “He didn’t want me to cry because that would seem that I’d arrived at a place of emotion. What he wanted was that I was reaching, that I was absolutely, desperately trying to connect with something I’d experienced and I wasn’t reaching it. Because I was so mortified by, you know, sitting in front of a film crew with my hands down my pants, I just kept crying. I would say, ‘David, I can’t do this. I can’t do it.’ Crying, crying, crying. And he was like, ‘That’s okay, Naomi, that’s okay.’ And I was thinking, ‘Okay, so he’s going to call cut.’ But he didn’t. And I would keep going. And I—just breaking down, and it was like, I said, ‘Fuck you, David! Fuck you!’”

17. Lynch lives near the actual Mulholland Drive.

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He called it a “beautiful road.” But he also noted, “It’s a mysterious road with many curves in it. It’s really dark at night and, unlike so many other spots in LA, it has remained pretty much the same over the years.”

18. Rebekah Del Rio sang “Crying” four minutes into her meeting with Lynch.

Del Rio singing “Crying” at Club Silencio is one of the most iconic parts of the film, but it was very spontaneous. She showed up to a 10am meeting with Brian Loucks and John Neff, who were working on the music for the film.

Lynch explained, “Rebekah just wanted to come over for a coffee and sing in front of us. She didn’t want to record anything, but she came in and four minutes later—I think before she’d had her coffee—she’s in the booth. And the one take that she sang, four minutes off the street, is the vocal that’s in the film. THE ACTUAL RECORDING!”

19. There are some subtle references to Sunset Boulevard.

Sunset Boulevard is one of Lynch’s favorite films. In Mulholland Drive, a Sunset Boulevard street sign can be seen in addition to a very similar shot of the Paramount Gates that’s in Sunset Boulevard. Lynch even tracked down the same car from Sunset Boulevard to include in the shot of the Paramount Gates.

Plus, Lynch recognized that Norma Desmond and Betty are “both experiencing some of the negative sides of acting.”

20. Lynch had specific directions for theater projectors.

When the Mulholland Drive film was sent to theaters, Lynch included a personal note for projectors. It read “I understand this is an unusual request yet I do need your help.” Among the requests are for volume to be 3db hotter than usual as well as a smaller amount of headroom (the black strip above the screen) than normal.

21. The nude scene is blurred for the DVD release.

The scene has been digitally altered and blurred from what moviegoers saw in theaters. On his website, Lynch explained, “We did that blurring for the DVD on purpose as we knew that pictures of Laura would be everywhere if we didn’t ... If the shot is timed correctly you should not be able to tell one bit if Laura’s pubic hair has been blurred—this probably means some viewers are experimenting to see Laura’s pubic hair and more ... This is why the picture was blurred—I promised Laura that I would try to protect her as much as possible.”

22. It has inspired a nightclub.

Silencio

In 2011, Club Silencio opened in Paris’ Grands Boulevards District. Lynch himself designed the club, which is obvious when you browse through the pictures on its website. The club contains a 24-seat movie theater, an art library, and a reflective dancefloor. You can become a member at Silencio for €840 a year. It has a 3.5 star Yelp review average.

All images courtesy of Getty Images unless otherwise noted.

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30 Memorable Quotes from Carrie Fisher
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Just days after suffering a heart attack aboard a flight en route to Los Angeles, beloved actress, author, and screenwriter Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60 on December 27, 2016. Though she’ll always be most closely associated with her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, Fisher’s life was like something out of its own Hollywood movie. Born in Beverly Hills on this day in 1956, Fisher was born into show business royalty as the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds.

In addition to her work in front of the camera, Fisher built up an impressive resume behind the scenes, too, most notably as a writer; in addition to several memoirs and semi-autobiographical novels, including Wishful Drinking, Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, The Best Awful, Postcards from the Edge, and The Princess Diarist (which was released last month), she was also an in-demand script doctor who counted Sister Act, Hook, Lethal Weapon 3, and The Wedding Singer among her credits.

Though she struggled with alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness, Fisher always maintained a sense of humor—as evidenced by the 30 memorable quotes below.

ON GROWING UP IN HOLLYWOOD

“I am truly a product of Hollywood in-breeding. When two celebrities mate, someone like me is the result.”

“I was born into big celebrity. It could only diminish.”

“At a certain point in my early twenties, my mother started to become worried about my obviously ever-increasing drug ingestion. So she ended up doing what any concerned parent would do. She called Cary Grant.”

“I was street smart, but unfortunately the street was Rodeo Drive.”

“If anything, my mother taught me how to sur-thrive. That's my word for it.”

ON AGING

“As you get older, the pickings get slimmer, but the people don't.”

ON INSTANT GRATIFICATION

“Instant gratification takes too long.”

ON THE LEGACY OF STAR WARS

“People are still asking me if I knew Star Wars was going to be that big of a hit. Yes, we all knew. The only one who didn't know was George.”

“Leia follows me like a vague smell.”

“I signed my likeness away. Every time I look in the mirror, I have to send Lucas a couple of bucks.”

“People see me and they squeal like tropical birds or seals stranded on the beach.”

“You're not really famous until you’re a Pez dispenser.”

ON THE FLEETING NATURE OF SUCCESS

“There is no point at which you can say, 'Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.'”

ON DEALING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

“I'm very sane about how crazy I am.”

ON RESENTMENT

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

ON LOVE

“Someone has to stand still for you to love them. My choices are always on the run.”

“I've got to stop getting obsessed with human beings and fall in love with a chair. Chairs have everything human beings have to offer, and less, which is obviously what I need. Less emotional feedback, less warmth, less approval, less patience, and less response. The less the merrier. Chairs it is. I must furnish my heart with feelings for furniture.”

“I don’t hate hardly ever, and when I love, I love for miles and miles. A love so big it should either be outlawed or it should have a capital and its own currency.”

ON EMOTIONS

“The only thing worse than being hurt is everyone knowing that you're hurt.”

ON RELATIONSHIPS

“I envy people who have the capacity to sit with another human being and find them endlessly interesting, I would rather watch TV. Of course this becomes eventually known to the other person.”

ON HOLLYWOOD

“Acting engenders and harbors qualities that are best left way behind in adolescence.”

“You can't find any true closeness in Hollywood, because everybody does the fake closeness so well.”

“It's a man's world and show business is a man's meal, with women generously sprinkled through it like overqualified spice.”

ON FEAR

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

ON LIFE

“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.”

“No motive is pure. No one is good or bad-but a hearty mix of both. And sometimes life actually gives to you by taking away.”

“If my life wasn't funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”

“I shot through my twenties like a luminous thread through a dark needle, blazing toward my destination: Nowhere.”

“My life is like a lone, forgotten Q-Tip in the second-to-last drawer.”

ON DEATH

“You know what's funny about death? I mean other than absolutely nothing at all? You'd think we could remember finding out we weren't immortal. Sometimes I see children sobbing at airports and I think, 'Aww. They've just been told.'”

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12 Admissible Facts About Judge Judy
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Judge Judith Sheindlin was 54 years old when her namesake TV show premiered on September 16, 1996. Two years later the diminutive (5’1”) adjudicator was trouncing the powerhouse Oprah Winfrey Show in the Nielsen ratings. Today, she is one of the highest paid TV celebrities, earning $47 million per year—which she will continue to do through 2020, thanks to a new extended contract.

Fervent fans are familiar with Judge Judy’s more outrageous cases, like The Tupperware Lady and the eBay Cell Phone Scammer, but they might not know some of these fun facts about both the show and the woman behind it, who turns 75 years old today.

1. THAT GRUFF, NO-NONSENSE STYLE OF JURISPRUDENCE IS NOT AN ACT.

Judge Judy spent a little over 20 years in New York City’s family court system, where she earned a reputation early in her career for being blunt, impatient, and tough-talking. “I can’t stand stupid, and I can’t stand slow,” was one of her oft-repeated “Judyisms” at that time. She also frequently warned attorneys appearing before her: "I want first-time offenders to think of their appearance in my courtroom as the second-worst experience of their lives ... circumcision being the first." 60 Minutes filmed her in action as part of a 1993 profile, and while her hair color and eyebrows have softened since then, her impatient rants and verbal smackdowns haven’t changed a bit.

2. SHE BEGAN WEARING HER TRADEMARK LACE COLLAR AS SOON AS SHE WAS APPOINTED AS A JUDGE.

New York City Mayor Ed Koch appointed Judith Sheindlin to the bench in 1982, and to celebrate she and her husband Jerry—both civil servants at the time—took a $399 package trip to Greece for two weeks. While passing by a row of street kiosks with various locally made crafts for sale, she impulsively purchased a white lace collar from a vendor. She explained to her husband that male judges wore stiff-collared white dress shirts and colorful neckties that peeped out of the top of their robes, so that they had a nice colorful “buffer” between the austere black gown and their face. Female judges, however, had nothing but neck peeping out of their robes and the unforgiving black color revealed every minute of sleep deprivation as well as any skin tone irregularities. The white lace collar, she decided, would not only perk up her face but would also be a bit disarming for litigants—she could picture them thinking “That nice little lady with the lace collar sitting behind the bench couldn’t hurt a fly!”

3. DESPITE THOSE NEW YORK CITY SCENES ON THE COMMERCIAL BUMPERS, JUDGE JUDY IS TAPED IN CALIFORNIA.

Sheindlin spends 52 days per year taping her show. She flies to California via private jet every other Monday and hears cases on Tuesday and Wednesday (occasionally Thursday if there are production delays). One full week’s worth of shows are filmed each day. Many viewers, however, are fooled into thinking Judy is holding court in her native New York, thanks to the scenic Manhattan footage in between station breaks and the New York state flag behind her chair. That is, until something oh-so-unique to the west coast—like an earthquake—occurs on-camera. (Note that in the clip below, Judge Judy quickly ducks beneath her bench once the room begins to tremble.)

4. SHE IS BRIEFED ON THE CASES BEFORE SHE ARRIVES ON THE SET.

Judge Sheindlin does not go to the studio unprepared; producers FedEx the sworn statements and relevant information on each upcoming case to her home (Naples, Florida in the winter; Greenwich, Connecticut in the spring and summer) and she familiarizes herself with enough details to have some background, but not enough so that the case doesn’t appear “fresh” when she questions the litigants during filming.

5. THE CASES REALLY ARE REAL.

The production company has a staff of 60-plus researchers across the country who spend their days poring over lawsuits filed in local small claims courts. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, they are able to photocopy cases that they think might make for interesting television and those copies are forwarded to the show’s producers. Any cases that make it to the next stage (about three percent) involve contacting the litigants involved and asking them if they’d like to forego their civil court hearing in exchange for a free trip to Los Angeles, an $850 appearance fee, and a per diem of $40 (as of 2012). An added incentive is that any judgments awarded are paid by the show, not by the plaintiff or defendant. The best cases, according to the executive producer, are those that involve litigants with a prior relationship—mother/daughter, father/son, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. Such cases engage the audience because it’s an emotional tie that’s been broken (the recurring plot on many soap operas).

6. THE AUDIENCE, HOWEVER, IS NOT SO REAL.

Regular viewers will note that the same faces seem to pop up in the audience regularly. Those folks in the spectator seats are paid extras (often aspiring actors) who earn $8 per hour to sit and look attentive. Prospective audience members apply for the limited amount of seats by emailing their contact information along with a clear headshot to one of Judge Judy’s production coordinators (sorry, we cannot provide that info). If chosen, the spectator must dress appropriately (business casual or better) and arrive promptly for the 8:30 a.m. call time. Audience members must pass through metal detectors on their way in and are not allowed to bring cell phones or any electronic devices with them, and food, drinks and chewing gum are also verboten. Spectators are rearranged after each case so it’s not as obvious that it’s the same group of people, and the most attractive folks are always seated in the front row (it’s Hollywood, after all). The audience is instructed to talk animatedly amongst themselves in between each case so that Officer Byrd’s “Order in the court!” admonition has more impact. Bad behavior is grounds for immediate expulsion (in front of 10 million viewers, as Judge Judy likes to remind us).

7. JUDGE JUDY DRESSES CASUALLY FOR THE JOB.

Sheindlin has been known to publicly chastise litigants who come to her courtroom in skimpy clothing or “beach attire,” but behind that bench and under that robe she is usually sporting jeans and a tank top or T-shirt.

8. OFFICER BYRD IS A REAL BAILIFF.

Brooklyn native Petri Hawkins Byrd earned his B.Sc. degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1989 and started working in the Brooklyn Family Court system. He first worked with Judge Sheindlin when he transferred to the Manhattan Family Court. “We [the court officers] used to call her the Joan Rivers of the judicial system,” he recalled in a 2004 interview. “She was just hilarious.” Byrd relocated to San Mateo, California in 1990 to work as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal and a few years later he read an item in Liz Smith’s gossip column about Sheindlin’s upcoming TV show. He sent his old colleague a congratulatory letter and added, “If you need a bailiff, I still look good in uniform.”

9. DESPITE HIS SOMETIMES IMPOSING COURTROOM DEMEANOR, OFFICER BYRD IS ALSO A VERY FUNNY GUY.

He is a talented impressionist, but his sense of humor almost cost him his job—or so he thought at the time. Once, back when he was working with the feisty Judge Sheindlin in New York, he donned her robe and reading glasses to entertain his co-workers with a barrage of Judyisms. Of course, as always seems to happen when one mocks the boss in the workplace, he was caught in the act.

10. THE OCCASIONAL CELEBRITY RELIES ON JUDGE JUDY’S BRAND OF JUSTICE.

Depending upon your own definition of “celebrity”, of course. Actress Roz Kelly (Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days) appeared on the show in 1996 as the plaintiff, suing her plastic surgeon for a leaky breast implant that was impeding her acting career. One year later, former Sex Pistol John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) appeared as a defendant when drummer Robert Williams, who was hired to support Lydon on a solo tour, sued the singer for lost wages and an assault. Despite Lydon’s occasional bad courtroom behavior, the decision was made in his favor.

11. THE STAR ORIGINALLY DIDN’T WANT THE SHOW NAMED AFTER HER.

Sheindlin first envisioned calling her show Hot Bench, a term used frequently in the appellate court, but the producers wisely advised her that the term was meaningless to TV viewers who didn’t work in the legal system. Her next thought was Judy Justice, since she’d overheard her court officers warning deadbeat parents who were delinquent in child support payments that they were in for a load of "Judy Justice" if they weren’t prepared to cough up some money. In retrospect, Sheindlin realized the wisdom in calling the show Judge Judy: She couldn’t be easily replaced, as the various judges had been on The People’s Court. However, after 19 years on the air, she still does not refer to herself by that sobriquet; whether introducing herself to someone or advertising her show in a promotional clip, she is always either “Judge Sheindlin” or “Judge Judy Sheindlin.”

12. JUDGE SHEINDLIN INHERITED HER SENSE OF HUMOR FROM HER FATHER.

Murray Blum, Judy’s beloved father, was a dentist whose office was in the family home. In those days—before sedation dentistry was an option—a dentist’s best tool to distract nervous patients was the gift of gab, and Murray became a master storyteller out of necessity. Years of listening to her father at the dinner table and at family gatherings taught Judy how to deliver a punchline. One evening outside of a hotel in Hollywood, Sheindlin was approached by a woman who introduced herself as Lorna Berle. She told the judge that her husband Milton was a huge fan and asked if she would mind talking to him for a moment. The elderly comic slowly emerged from a limo and Judy greeted him by singing the theme song to Texaco Star Theater, her favorite TV show as a child. Milton Berle complimented her in return, saying “Kid, you’ve got great comic timing.”

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