The Twin Peaks Archive recently sat down with Grace Zabriskie and asked her some questions about acting, art and her new website.
Twin Peaks Archive: How did you first get into acting and when did art enter your life?
Grace Zabriskie: I have always, since early childhood, been a writer, an actor and a visual artist. I acted in a few things as a child in New Orleans, but preferred painting sets to acting in high school plays. My father, who had been an actor himself, was advised by friends from L.A. to keep me out of acting as long as possible, to make sure I had a normal life, growing up. I majored in French and art in college, took no theatre courses, but was commandeered by seniors for their senior directing projects. I did a couple of plays in New Orleans as a young adult, and was pregnant with my daughter, Marion, when I played my last ingenue at the Gallery Circle Theatre in the French Quarter. For many years my writing was foremost at times, and then my visual art. I did occasional plays in Atlanta as my children were growing up. I started doing commercial voice-overs for all manner of things, including expensive perfumes. Those were fun. Then I did a few movies. "Norma Rae" was the fourth or fifth professional film project I did, and, long story short, moved to L.A. within a year of its release, as there were several agents interested in representing me, and I was ready to leave Atlanta.
Twin Peaks Archive: Talk about working with David Lynch on Twin Peaks and Wild At Heart
Grace Zabriskie: I had seen enough of David Lynch's work to know that I wanted to work with him when I was brought in to meet him on Twin Peaks.( I had been told I was being seen for the role of "Lucy." ) We talked for a long time during that meeting, and I told him a funny theatre story about a Cajun play I had done at Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans. I did it in the Cajun dialect. It was then that "Juana" was born in his mind, I think. Needless to say, we never talked about "Lucy." Or "Sarah," for that matter. I was soon very happy to be offered the role of Sarah.
A year or so later he called and said he'd written something for me, that it was pretty wild, and if I didn't want to do it he would understand.( I don't know that he ever described her to me except to say that the role was pretty out there.) I thought "fat chance" I wouldn't want to do it, but when I read it, it was very difficult...I'm not sure I ever thought I wouldn't or couldn't or shouldn't do it, but a decision can be very difficult even when you know the decision you're going to make. Someday I'll root out the script of Wild at Heart, and send you the monologue he wrote and shot for Juana. I never got to see it. It was cut after the first test screenings. What's left are the snippets you see when Harry Dean gets killed.
Photo by Richard Beymer
Twin Peaks Archive: Did you take any photos or keep any props or costumes from the set of Twin Peaks?
Grace Zabriskie: I asked for and was given the bathrobe I wore in the final episode. In the cafe, with Don Davis. I have attatched a Polaroid I asked David to pose for, with his megaphone. I got a kick out of that megaphone. I think I asked for the bathrobe because I was happy with the Polaroid.
I was heavily into making photo collages during the Twin Peaks years. I was in love with C-stands, and took hundreds of portraits of C-stands. Several C-stand collages and boxes came from those photographs. I used to think of them as the little soldiers of the movie industry, standing around in their little battalions, waiting to be needed. There are some C-stand boxes on my website. I don't think I photographed people, really. Except a great shot of David standing behind some C-stands.
Photo by Grace Zabriskie