Exclusive Matt Haley interview!

Recently it was revealed that the upcoming Twin Peaks 'Complete Mystery' dvd box set was to have included a third season graphic novel illustrated by acclaimed artist Matt Haley and written by Twin Peaks producer and story editor Bob Engels. The project got dropped. Why? We asked Matt...

Twin Peaks Archive: When did you first get into Twin Peaks?

Matt Haley: When it first aired, I can't recall if I saw the first broadcast episode, but it was definitely the 2nd or 3rd.

Twin Peaks Archive: Were you a fan of David Lynch before Twin Peaks?

Matt Haley: I was looking for something unusual, and I think I had already seen DUNE, so I knew of Lynch's works, though I didn't see ERASERHEAD until much, much later. It just grabbed me in a visceral place, I can't describe the appeal. Something about the genuine quality of the actors he cast and the characters they were portraying, especially Ray Wise and Michael Ontkean, I just got sucked into watching Twin Peaks religiously, and was a bit crushed when the show ended without resolving the storyline.

Twin Peaks Archive: When did you first get the idea to do a graphic novel/season 3 story?

Matt Haley: Round about the time the first season DVD set came out, I rightly surmised they would be creating a boxed set of the entire show. I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be cool if somebody did a '3rd season" graphic novel to coincide with the DVD set, which became "Well, why don't I do it?", so last September or so I started calling and e-mailing people I knew, asking idly if they knew what the rights situation was. I wasn't really taking it seriously, it was just kind of a fun intellectual exercise that grew out of control. I finally got in touch with the right people at CBS/Paramount, specifically Paula Block, whom it turned out I had worked with on my very first comic project, "Star Trek" for DC Comics. She found out that they did indeed have the rights to do a Twin Peaks comic, but warned me up front that there was a 'trail of broken hearts' where Twin Peaks licensed products was concerned. Once I realized there was a chance of actually doing this, I understood I couldn't do a Twin Peaks comic and just write it and put my name on it, as fans would want one written by somebody connected with the show, and Bob Engels (co-producer and executive story editor of the series) seemed a logical choice to write it, so I contacted him and he said if I could secure Lynch and Frost's blessing, he would write the graphic novel.

From there, I got in touch with various people involved with the tv series, including Angelo Badalamenti and Sheryl Lee, and finally Mark Frost, and they all seemed to think it was a good idea. Mark in particular told me Lynch probably wouldn't go for it, but that he had my blessing to proceed. Apparently, when they sold Twin Peaks to ABC, they were given unprecedented creative control over the series, so while they do not technically own Twin Peaks, they both have veto power over any projects related to it. Then, I secured an agreement from Top Shelf to print the book, and then Paramount Home Entertainment, including Ryan Adams who is the actual DVD producer, to agree to package the book with the set. So really, everything was sort of magically falling into place, and it seemed that suddenly I had this project that was bringing itself to life.

Twin Peaks Archive: Did you have any thoughts or wishes about where the storyline would have gone? Or, were you interested more in the visual side of things? Can you tell us anything about what may have been written by Bob or yourself or considered about the proposed season 3?

Matt Haley: Bob and I had a number of discussions about what the story would be, I was keen to use whatever notes they had for the proposed third season, I really wanted this to be a literal '3rd season' of the show. Bob told me they really wanted to get away from the high school setting, so after the resolution of the Cooper-BOB-possession plot point, they would have cut to something like "Ten Years Later", and then shown us a Twin Peaks where Cooper had quit the FBI and had become the town pharmacist, Sheriff Truman had become a recluse, etc. He also mentioned they were going to have Sheryl Lee come back yet again, this time as a redhead, and probably have her character killed by BOB again. There were also some vague ideas about BOB and Mike being from a planet made of creamed corn, something about Truman driving Mike backwards through the portal into the Black Lodge (which I think would have been a really nice cinematic scene).

Twin Peaks Archive: Why did the project fall through?

Matt Haley: Honestly, I sent the proposal and the art to Lynch's assistant Jay, and when Jay showed it to David, I was told "While David respects the artwork and the effort put into this project, he just does not want to continue the story of Twin Peaks in any way." That's it, and again, I was warned. I don't hold it against Lynch, I mean, I was playing with his toys, but I was kind of hoping that if I had all my ducks in a row he might just say "go ahead". So really, it was just Lynch deciding not to continue the story and I have to respect that, as an artist. I think he probably likes the idea of not resolving the story, and I have to admit, so do I.

Twin Peaks Archive: Is the project completely dead? Many fans have wished for a graphic novel continuation of the Twin Peaks storyline. Based on your artwork, you seem to be the perfect choice for such a project...

Matt Haley: That's very kind, but I don't know if there's a real point to going after it, as it made financial sense to include the book with the DVD set, we would have had at least 100,000 copies in print. To try to convince Lynch would only make him more reticent, and I'm leery of pushing it. It's his and Frost's creation, I can't just come along and horn in on their baby, you know? I would love to meet Lynch face-to-face and maybe mention it, but... it's hard to know how to proceed. If anybody has any ideas...! I'd still dearly love to do it, and Bob seems interested as well, so who knows?

Twin Peaks Archive: What's next for you?

Matt Haley: Well, I'm back doing the art for Stan Lee's "Who Wants To Be A Superhero", we just started our second season on the SciFi Channel, Thursdays at 9pm, and we have 8 episodes. I create the comic panels for the show, whenever our contestants first appear, or get their new costumes, or when we cut to commercial, etc. I'm also back creating new issues of "G.I. SPY" with "Eureka" tv series creator Andy Cosby for BOOM! Studios, as well as doing a how-to draw manga aimed at girls which will be out from Cico Books UK fall of 2008. I also designed all the characters for an XBOX 360 game called "Codename: Liberty Rocket" which I think will be out this winter. There's some other fun stuff on the horizon, but right now I'm thankful to be so busy!

TPA cannot thank Matt enough for taking time out of his very busy schedule to talk to us! We urge everybody to check out his website!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank god this didn't happen!

Pogo Lynch said...

I'm not with anonymous...; this can will be the better choice for see a continuation of the history.

I don't want to see in 20 years more a vulgar secuele with Paris Hilton do it from Laura when Lynch dies, the comic could have been a amazing alternative.

Thank you so much Jerry !

Jerry Horne said...

Paris Hilton as Laura Palmer. Thanks for that image Pogo! It's frustrating this could not happen. However, it's lynch's and frost's baby and Lynch said no. Oh well. Ever since this interview broke, i've heard alot of people bash Lynch, right or wrong, for stopping the project. However, the possibility of continuing the story is not dead yet. Trust me.

Anonymous said...

I've heard of other possible continuations such as Engles doing a new movie or something like that. Wether you think TP should continue or not you have to agree that without Lynch TP cannot and must not continue.

Jerry Horne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Horne said...

I would agree that Lynch should be involved at some level. However, i don't think it's required that he direct it. After all, some great episodes of Peaks were directed by others. How about a new film written by Engles and directed by Tim Hunter. I would go for that.

Anonymous said...

Ok. This is what worried me the most about this:

"... they would have cut to something like "Ten Years Later", and then shown us a Twin Peaks where Cooper had quit the FBI and had become the town pharmacist, Sheriff Truman had become a recluse, etc. He also mentioned they were going to have Sheryl Lee come back yet again, this time as a redhead, and probably have her character killed by BOB again. There were also some vague ideas about BOB and Mike being from a planet made of creamed corn, ..."

That's like some LA guy trying to sell a bad idea. Or a filmschool kid ripping off David Lynch... poorly.

Jerry Horne said...

Let's not forget however that most of these ideas are not new. They have been floated around by the writers since the end of season two, especially the 'Coming from a planet of corn' storyline that was hinted at in FWWM. If we were to look at alot the more bizzare elements of Twin Peaks spelled out on paper, i think it might look a little artistically coerced.

Anonymous said...

"That's like some LA guy trying to sell a bad idea. Or a filmschool kid ripping off David Lynch... poorly."

Actually, Haley said they wanted to use some of the ideas that were floating around for the s3 that never happened. Those were some of the things Engles mentioned.

* (asterisk) said...

Great interview. What a shame this fell through...

Anonymous said...

I give him an A+ for effort, but I have to agree with David Lynch. I wasn't too impressed with the concept & plot ideas of the comic.

It sounded too much like a Fan-fiction version of Twin Peaks.

In my opinion the best way too re-start Twin Peaks would be to create a whole new series that includes Dale Cooper in it. A whole new mystery, a whole new series of dream sequences. Maybe something having to do with Tibetian Mythology.

You could intertwine the cliffhangers of the Twin Peaks series within this new series and slowly unravel what happened to Agent Cooper in the black lodge.

Anonymous said...

---------There were also some vague ideas about BOB and Mike being from a planet made of creamed corn,------------

This idea alone makes the comic an awful idea.

planet of creamed corn..??????. Sounds like some X-File's fan's interpretation of twin peaks.

DirkG said...

I would like a series in proper tv-format. Casting the original actors and taking place much later. (Some of them that are dead wouldn´t be in it. Bob should be the only one played by a new actor)
IDEAS:
It could incorporate some new main characters working for an organisation tryng to find out the truth about Project blue book. That would be a great way to get into the lodge story again after all these years in a natural way that wouldn´t seem to rushed and wanna-beish. The first episodes shouldnt take place in Twin peaks at all but in a larger city or anything but slowly the story would transcend towards it. There we would learn the fates of all the old characters. Coop being inprisoned or mental hospitalized. Truman a retired alcoholic. Briggs could learn something from the new characters that he needs to enter the lodge. To cause tension Coop could escape from the prison in his dangerous condition. And Andy´s and Lucy´s kid should be the new sheriff and be as intelligent as an rocket scientist. Audrey would be in charge of the Great Northern.

Jerry Horne said...

DirkG, i like alot of what you said. You should join the Twin Peaks discussion over at Dugpa.com in the forum. Hope to see you there.

bill said...

You know, there are so many shows that are being revived after years that have come into the comics realm. I think Twin Peaks definitely fits a lot of the criteria. It would be amazing, but should have involvement with Lynch or Forst or not at all. I would love to see ideas based off their proposed third season. As much as I love the existing show, there is so much potential for more stories.

Jerry Horne said...

Lynch just said a few days ago he could see Twin Peaks continuing on the internet. Interesting. Join the Peaks discussion at the Dugpa.com discussion board!

Anonymous said...

i also think that this would have been a bad idea. lynich did not continue twin peaks because the other witers messd up to much of his plot while he was away directing wild at heart.the ideas for the third season show how little it has to do with lynch s original ideas for the show and thats why he put a stop to the novel.

Veerle Belgium said...

Hello Everybody.
I grow up with Twin Peaks 2 and I have everything I can get my hand on about the show. I was real sad that Laura died.
Its a shame that they did not put everything on the DVD's yet, because I can remember a lot of things they din'd not show't yet.
Maybe there's gonne be a Twin Peaks part 3??
Next time if I come to the states I will visit the house of Laura Palmer and the RR for some pie lol.
Ofcourse I wanne smell the Douglas sp and I will try to get some trees to put in my back yard.

Have a great day.

selphiealmasy8 said...

I am so glad that this project fell through! I think that David always knew Twin Peaks and how it would end etc and it is not a vision that others may share. No planets of creamed corn, no Cooper's becoming a pharmacist or anything as silly as all that. What really happened is in his mind and I think that this vision is very close to his heart, just as close as the desire not to reveal Laura's killer asap. The ABC execs stole that from him but they can't steal this.

I'm glad that he can do that. He can keep the mystery alive of Twin Peaks, to know what he knows and what others might not understand. God bless him!

Anonymous said...

I'm a film student who has just recently fallen in love with Twin Peaks. I saw why this show is beloved to this day and i absolutely adore it. I think it's probably because of all the interesting characters that reside within the TP universe. The show died prematurely and i wish to see it comeback somehow! while as a writer, i can understand Lynch's POV, but when you create something that is beloved by millions of people, it's not just yours anymore, it in a way becomes everyone's. If they could resurrect Hawaii 5.0 successfully, then there must be a way to restart TP, but done by someone who loves the show as much as us. LYNCH, get with the program! If you decide to let TP stay dead, then someone enterprising enough will do it anyway!

Anonymous said...

The infamous "PLANET OF CREAMED CORN" is an idea that sprung up from DAVID LYNCH & BOB ENGELS during the time they wrote Fire Walk With Me.

So while the planet does sound like a TERRIBLE idea... the idea comes straight from Lynch.

Rempelos said...

The idea of the "planet of creamed-corn" is complete nonsense, and that's because it does not come from David Lynch but from Robert Engels. That's probably the way he viewed the whole spirits-of-the-Lodge theme...