Exclusive Kimberly Wright Interview!!

There has been a long-standing rumor that the iconic Laura Palmer Homecoming photo from Twin Peaks was Sheryl Lee's actual photo from High School. However, that is simply not the case. Photographer Kimberly Wright was behind the lens and with her help, we set the story straight. Our friend Brad Dukes gave her a call...

Brad: How did you first get involved with Twin Peaks?

Kimberly: I met David Lynch because I went to High School with his daughter at a high school for the arts in Michigan called Interlochen Arts Academy. His daughter is Jennifer Lynch, also an amazing, talented human being and she and I were good friends there. When we graduated from there, a lot of the parents showed up. I had a show up of some of my photographs and paintings at the time and David Liked my work. A couple of years later I was in L.A. and he invited me to shoot stills on a short film he was doing in collaboration with a company in France. It was called 'The Cowboy and the Frenchman'. So I shot stills on that, it was my first experience shooting stills on a set and it was good fun. Several months later I was up in San Francisco going to school at the Art Institute there and David gave me a call and said hey I'm shooting this T.V. pilot up in Seattle, would you like to come shot stills? Believe it or not I said let my think about it! (Laughs) I thought about for a few days and decided to go ahead and do it and it was definitely a big turning point for me because then I went into that career.

Brad: So from February to April, where you up there the entire time?

Kimberly: I was.

Kimberly Wright (left)

Brad: What comes back? What memories still stick out the most from that time?

Kimberly: You know...It's pretty fuzzy at this point! (Laughs) It was a lot of fun. Everybody, the cast was amazing, I just remember really enjoying the environment and working with David, he's quirky, he's really great guy. It was just an amazing experience. I was young and it was all very new to me. You know I didn't particularly have a goal to work on films at all, it just sort of happened, so I was just sort of rolling with it and wow this is fun and it was! It was a lot of fun. And also just not really knowing what I was doing, because I just so new to the whole experience.

Brad: Between the cast and the crew, there are some really interesting people. Who did you enjoy hanging out with or who did you bond with the most up there?

Kimberly: Gosh...I really enjoyed Kyle MacLachlan a lot. He's just really a great person. Sheryl Lee is also a lovely lovely human being and I did bond with her a bit. I did photos of her long after Twin Peaks, we stayed in touch for awhile.

Brad: Okay, here's something I have to ask about. Frank Silva was one of the set dressers and he actually turned into a cast member, obviously Killer BOB.

Kimberly: Correct.

Brad: Did you hang out with Frank or did you get to witness his transition from crew member to demon on screen?

Kimberly: Yes I did, I mean Frank was definitely someone I hung out with a bit and also a really great guy. I think his transition to that character happened when I wasn't around, I mean I knew about it because we were friends and...wasn't that in one of the later episodes?

Brad: Well, it was a couple of weeks into filming and they had the script but circumstances happened and Frank got cast. I don't think it was planned until...

Kimberly: It was not planned and maybe I was there, my memory is not the best unfortunately. It's been a very long time. Yes, but for sure that was not planned and that was just a fun thing for Frank and that's how David functions. He has an idea and rolls with it.

Brad: Okay, so I've got to ask about probably the most iconic photo that came out of Twin Peaks, the homecoming stills of Sheryl Lee. Take me back to that day. What was that like and what sticks out in your memory?

Kimberly: Well that's probably one of my most clear memories because it was actually really a most challenging moment for me! When David asked me to do it, this being my first professional job, I was very much a fine art photographer, didn't have a lot of experience doing studio shots, but you know, I managed to pull it off, obviously I was just like okay, make it look like a high school prom photo, but I also had the desire to make Sheryl look as beautiful as she is and was at the time and so I wanted to make sure she looked good. Back then there was no digital photography, so it was all film and we had to wait for the film to come back from the lab. I worked with contact sheets and small prints that I would show David on a regular basis. We would look at photos together. So with that particular photo, and this I remember really clearly, (Laughs) because I was really traumatized afterwards! I got the photos back from the lab and I was looking for him and when I found him, he was sitting in this car, I think he was talking with someone on one of those giant cell phones, he was definitely in the middle of something and I was sort of waiting to show him the photo. So when I showed it to him he was distracted. So he didn't say anything and I thought he didn't like the photos...or something. I don't remember what. I remember thinking oh my God, I was just so... (laughs) concerned! And later I found out he actually did love them, he thought they were great, so that was a huge relief!

Brad: Do you remember when and where you shot these photos of Sheryl?

Kimberly: I set up, It was very early on in the shoot, like in the first week or two I would say. I just set up a backdrop somewhere. When you do a shoot like that out on a film set, you work with either prop people or some of the carpenters, whomever, gaffers, whoever you need to help you with setting things up, and so, I think I must have had somebody provide a backdrop that would look like a school photo. I do remember lighting it to also look like a school photo. I just got some lights from somebody on the lighting crew and set it up somewhere, I don't remember where but it was definitely in a building somewhere where we were shooting. That's how it is when you're working a film set, you're just kind of making do each day when you're asked to do these type of things.

Brad: That photo is so central to Twin Peaks, I almost imagine David Lynch there that day completely picky about every little thing, but it's cool that it was just thrown together...

Kimberly: It was thrown together and he was not there for the shoot. You know, It's a homecoming photo so it's in some way a very basic thing, like I said, I wanted the lighting to look good so I made the lighting nice and soft and I wanted her to look beautiful even though school photos can look weird, I still wanted her to look beautiful and she did. She was easy to photograph! (laughs)

Brad: Is it strange for you...I mean the other week, I was in Hot Topic in the mall with my wife and I saw that picture on a t-shirt. Is it weird...

Kimberly: Wow.

Brad: ...what is it like to know it's out there and it's still this huge thing?

Kimberly: It is very strange actually to see it every now and then, pop up you know? Wow, definitely.

Brad: Do you remember how many shots of Sheryl you took that day? I'm just curious.

Kimberly: I really don't remember. Probably not that many, I was shooting in a medium format film...I don't even remember if I had a 35mm film camera at that point but I might have. But I was doing a lot of medium format which is pretty unusual for film stills unless you're shooting a poster or something but that's just what I was working with. With that you only get a few shots per roll and so I think I only shot maybe two rolls of film. It's been so long and I don't have those photos, I handed those over to the production company many many years ago. I saw in the questions that there are rumors that they are lost and I would be mortified if that were the case. I hope that's not the case.

Brad: I hope not either. I mean, it's very hard to say. They used that photo throughout the production, so, I bet they're locked up in David Lynch's house or something.

Kimberly: They very well could be, and they should be. I would hope that he has them, I haven't spoken to him in awhile and when I did I certainly wasn't asking him about the Twin Peaks photo (laughs).

Brad: It's strange because I actually interviewed Sheryl for Twin Peaks Archive a few years ago and I asked her, that photo is so cool, did you do that for the show or was it for your homecoming and she said I actually don't remember so It's really cool to hear about this.

Kimberly: (Laughs) All of our memories are just whitewashed at this point!

Brad: So you were up there in Twin Peaks for about two months, when that was over, did you keep continue to work with the production when they moved down to California?

Kimberly: I did not. I don't remember why but a lot of the time it's just scheduling, I might have been doing something else or who knows.

Brad: Did you watch the show when it came on?

Kimberly: I don't think I did. At that point I wasn't much into television, I don't even think I had a T.V. back then. I havn't watched a lot of the movies I've worked on actually.

Brad: Oh wow.

Kimberly: Most of them. You know when you're working on a film...and I remember clips because I would often go to dailies which is where the producers and director and different people would go and review what they shot that day, so I did see a lot of clips and I might have caught one episode somewhere randomly but I never watched it.

Brad: So if you had to guess, how many photos do you think you took while you were in Washington?
Kimberly: Oh...Several thousand?

Brad: And what happened to all these photos?

Kimberly: Like I said, I handed all those over to David's production company, which was probably a couple of years later, so after we were done shooting, I had all the photos and then I connected with David somewhere in post production in L.A. and I actually spent quite a bit of time with him going through the photos and editing photos which was really fun. So at that point I had the photos for awhile and then I just remember handing them over to his production company for safe keeping.

Brad: Any photos stick out as some of your personal favorites aside from the Homecoming photo?

Kimberly: Well, the Homecoming photo and the one where she was on the shore of the lake. That photo has been used a lot. Even though she's dead, I know she's not (laughs) because I was there and she was very much alive. I think it's a very beautiful photo of her. She looks really beautiful and I remember that's another moment from the film that I remember really well. I remember they were shooting it, she was cold, it was cold and she was uncomfortable and I had to take those photos really quickly. But I remember David just asking me to just in there and get some photos.

Kimberly also shot stills on Wild at Heart. You can check out some of those photos on her website. Special thanks to Kimberly for taking the time to talk to us. Thanks also to Brad Dukes for the talking!

'Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier' Novel by Mark Frost due 10/31

Mark Frost will release a new novel 'Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier' on 10/31. Both the book and audiobook are available to pre-order!

Twin Peaks on Sundays Begins on Showtime

Showtime2 will broadcast back-to-back episodes of Twin Peaks today at 7e/4p and every Sunday leading into the Season Three premiere on May 21st.

EXCLUSIVE: 'The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer' Audiobook To Be Released!

A source has told us that Sheryl Lee has already recorded an audiobook edition of 'The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer'. Official announcement soon.

Exclusive Bruce Phillips Interview!!

If you are a Twin Peaks fan and collector of a certain age, the name Bruce Phillips may ring a bell or two. For others it will elicit memories of excitedly clutching the latest 'Twin Peaks Collectables' catalog in their hands and furiously scanning for the latest and greatest Twin Peaks goodie from Japan, or, perhaps even an actual prop from the show! Michael Anderson's Red Room Suit and Laura Palmer's Diary to name a few. The show has come back. Bruce hasn't gone anywhere and yet, he's back too...

Twin Peaks Archive: Talk about how you first got into TP, and were you familiar with Lynch before that?

Bruce Phillips: When we saw the first episode, my wife and I were hooked on the music, suspense, and the total “quirkiness” of the show. It was just different from anything at the time. I wanted to know everything about the show, so set my recorder to record virtually all day.

As a result I compiled 48 videos/DVDs (96 hours worth) which consist of TP clips: A) from around the world – Denmark, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Australia, UK; B) of highlights from Saturday Night Live; the Japanese Marathon; Georgia coffee commercials; Log Lady’s intros for Bravo; Into the Night; Donahue; GMA; Arsenio Hall; Jay Leno; Late Night Letterman; Entertainment; promos for upcoming episodes; award shows (Emmy, Golden Globe); Cannes Film Festival; specials and documentaries; cast interviews; and C) of videos from the TP festivals as well as footage from a resident fan who was able to capture actual TP shootings.

I Knew David Lynch only from Dune and Elephant Man; the latter in particular we thoroughly enjoyed.

TPA: How soon after the show premiered were you collecting TP items? How long before you were amassing a large collection? How were you able to get large quantities of the books, etc.?

BP: I started collecting when things first became available. We owned a video store, and when the series was released on video, merchandise and promo items were made available. I first wanted a TP mug myself, so it was the first item I purchased; then I thought others would also. I purchased more to sell at the store to pay for mine. That is what started me collecting TP items—to pay for whatever TP items I wanted myself.

Promo items became available with quantity purchases of videos, so I bought more than what my store needed and sold them. I also opened accounts with suppliers of posters, entertainment magazines, etc. and purchased quantities of them as well.

When I went to sci-fi conventions, I met dealers who sold things like posters and press kits, and I always bought all they had.

Because of the growing quantity of items that I couldn’t sell just from my store (there was no internet back then), I ran ads in various sci-fi and entertainment magazines that were also distributed internationally. I compiled a catalog of my items I had and sent it out to those who responded to my ads indicating I’d rather trade for items I didn’t have. Because of the international interest in TP collectibles, I was getting contacts from around the world which is how I obtained most of the items from outside the US. As my preference was to trade, many started hunting for items in their country in order to trade with me. Whenever I received something, I would contact the suppliers and purchase wholesale; however, I had to buy large quantities.

When I visited the filming locations, I met the owner of the Mar T Café, or as we TP fans know it, the Double R R Diner. We hit it off, so I started buying items from her that she was producing herself, e.g. mugs. There was also a general store in town called the Alpine Blossom that was across the street from the diner. They were selling and producing various items as well, and we traded for things either of us didn’t have.

I also went to England where I met up with an international comic/sci fi shop owner with whom I had been in contact to get quantities of various TP items, while I did likewise here in the US; and we traded.

My first major quantity purchase was that of the Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, the TP Access Guide, and the Diane tapes from Bargain Books which would locate in vacant stores for a short time to sell various over stock, then relocate to another area around the country. I was able to find some TP items at one locally, contacted their corporate office, and purchased a large quantity.

A year later I was out of stock, so I contacted Bargain Books again. They offered me a deal to purchase all their remaining stock. As these were case lots in their original shipping boxes, they were in mint condition. I took a huge financial gamble in doing this, and because there were so many , I had them for years.

Bravo UK aired the TP series and made their own collectible items—T shirts, pins, etc. for promotional purposes. Once they finished airing, I purchased all of their remaining promo stock. When the series was aired in Germany, they also produced their own promo items which I was able to purchase.

TPA: Talk about your relationship with Star Pics. How did you manage to buy out their collection of autographed cards?

BP: Star Pics, Bravo, Pat Shook, and I did a joint promotion because of Pat’s and my mass mailing lists. Bravo sent us their postcards advertising the coming airing of TP reruns on their cable channel featuring Log Lady’s introduction to each episode. I personally picked up Star Pics’ fliers for selling their cards as they were just down the street from me which is how I made contact with them. Pat Shook had her information for the coming TP festival, and I had my catalog. Once all these pieces were gathered, Pat Shook’s and my family sat around my dining room table stuffing envelopes.

When I heard Star Pics was going out of business, I immediately contacted them and ended up purchasing some of their autographed cards and factory box sets but not all. Eventually, Star Pics ended up selling their remaining stock—sports cards and everything else—to a sports card vendor. I contacted them and ended up purchasing all the autographed cards and cases of the factory sets because they were only interested in the sports cards. Once again, all this was another huge financial gamble on my part.

Because of all this buying, I was amassing what became known as the world’s largest personal TP collection.

Pat Shook prepares for an early Twin Peaks Festival.

TPA: How many TP festivals did you attend? Any fun stories? Can you talk about Don and Pat Shook?

BP: I went to the first four festivals. The first was sponsored by Lynch and New Line Cinema promoting the release of FWWM and was held in Spokane, WA where it was filmed. I then went to three more put on by Pat Shook where I took merchandise to sell.

It was easy to gain a good relationship with Don and Pat because we lived close to each other, so I was able to meet their family and do social activities with them.

Obviously, it was great fun meeting the cast who were surprised there was still a large TP fan following and so many interested in TP collectibles. Many asked if I could sell some of their items, so I purchased everything they had.

There was also a teen collector, Josh, who I always enjoyed meeting—always very excited and full of enthusiasm. It was fun to see a young fan so interested. It was also great to meet people who had purchased collectibles from me and hear their remarks on how much they enjoyed their items.

TPA: Among collectors, your printed catalog is the stuff of legend. Talk about how that started. Were you shipping to many countries? How did you manage to collect so many original props from the series. Did you sell them all? If so, why were you not tempted to keep any? Where were you able to find the rare outtake videos?

BP: I started the catalog after I accumulated so many extra TP items (as indicated in #2 and #3). From there it just escalated into a large catalog at the end. As I mentioned, it started from me buying and selling quantities of items to pay for my personal collection. When I realized there were so many fans looking for TP items, and as I already had the contacts to obtain items, I purchased more and offered through my catalog. I often see a copy of one of my catalogs even today on Ebay by others selling items—it’s very flattering.

Yes, I shipped and received items from around the world with many countries having different items than we had in the US. I shipped to Japan, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Russia, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands just for starters.

Through my advertising in sci-fi magazines and later in “Wrapped Plastic”, I was contacted by many people, including crew members, where I purchased props, art work, and production paperwork. I searched many “prop houses” to see if they had purchased back any of the props from the series and bought everything they had that could ship at a reasonable price. They did have large items that I didn’t purchase due to shipping costs, e.g. Leland’s Victrola; Dr. Jacoby’s door; and tables, chairs, and ceiling lamps from The Great Northern and One Eye Jacks. I regretted not buying some of those items later. I did contact fans from the California area and let them know where these props were so that they could go and purchase if interested.

I kept the props for many years and wasn’t interested in selling any as they were part of my personal collection. However, I had two daughters now to put through college which is why I decided to sell much of my collection. I regret selling Laura Palmer’s actual diary prop.

I was able to obtain some of the outtake videos from crew members who rescued them from the trash. I have been told my compiled outtakes and deleted scenes have more material than the box set because mine include “Invitation to Love; dailies; alternate takes; clips where you hear the director’s comments; uncut, unedited scenes; bloopers/gags; outtakes; and behind-the-scenes footage.

TPA: Were you ever covered by the press at all?

BP: There was a local magazine here in Michigan who did an interview article. My name and collection have also been mentioned in magazines, books, TV shows, and the internet. Bravo, the cable channel in the UK, also mentioned me a couple times in their interviews pertaining to TP. This was how I became known as the “Super Collector” of TP items. I have since turned this into simply “The Twin Peaks Guy”.

TPA:What was your contact (if any) with the Lynch/Frost office? Did you attend the LA TP Prop Sale in late ‘91.

BP: I did have some communication with the Lynch/Frost administrative assistant.

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about the prop sale until after it happened. I was able to contact a few people who did attend and purchased items from them.

TPA: Did you think the show would come back? What was your reaction when you first heard?

BP: I was very surprised and excited that Show Time was going to do a mini series and can’t wait to see it particularly since many of the original cast members will be in it. I have noticed there seems to be a strong resurgence in fan interest, and I have already begun collecting on this as well.

TPA: Do you think you will put out a catalog again, or has Ebay replaced that.

BP: Once Ebay became popular, I stopped putting out the catalog and simply offer the items through it. However, when people contact me, purchase an item, or ask a question, I let them know I have other items available.

At the same time I discontinued the catalog, I also stopped my website. I really wasn’t selling anything on the website—I was just showing photos of various collectible items. I am amazed there is still such a strong TP following, and I continue to sell items on Ebay.

TPA: Are you on or plan to be on social media?

BP: I’ve never had any interest in being on social media. People can just contact me through Ebay.

TPA: What are some other TV shows you count as favorites? Are you watching Westworld?

BP: My favorites include, the 1960’s Avengers with Emma Peel and John Steed, Dallas, X-Files, and currently Penny Dreadful and Outlander for which I have collectibles, crew items, and props on all of these. I am still collecting because I enjoy “the chase”—like a treasure hunt—and learning about various collectible items.

No, I’m not watching Westworld.

For your information, I still have some of my original collection items that I have not offered for sale yet. In addition, I am still purchasing total collections which most people aren’t interested buying as they only want a particular item, so they are free to contact me.

Make sure and check out Bruce on eBay. You can email him at twinpeaksguy@yahoo.com

Special thanks to Bruce Phillips!