Exclusive John Thorne interview!

From 1992 to 2005, John Thorne and Craig Miller published 75 issues of Wrapped In Plastic, the only magazine in the world dedicated (primarily) to the world of Twin Peaks. From essays, episode analysis, product reviews and lively letters from fans, to exclusive interviews with David Lynch, Sheryl Lee, Frank Silva and much much more, you soon realize that owning or striving to own a complete set of issues is not only highly desirable for a Twin Peaks fan, it may in fact be crucial to understanding and appreciating our favorite show. We thought it was about time to catch up with Mr. Thorne and ask him some questions including, just when is issue 76 coming out?

Twin Peaks Archive: Were you aware of David Lynch before Twin Peaks?

John Thorne: Yes, very much so because of Dune. I was a big fan of the book but quite unhappy with the film (at the time). As a result I never bothered to see Blue Velvet at the theatre. But then Twin Peaks came along and I became quickly aware of the artistry of David Lynch. (Of course, I was bit older.) I went back to Dune and realized how good the film was (which is now especially true in light of the awful Science Fiction Channel adaptation).

Twin Peaks Archive: What elements of Twin Peaks made you a fan and start the magazine?

John Thorne: I was always a big fan of television as a medium and knew that there was so much that could be done with on-going, serial narratives. Before Twin Peaks, the best drama on TV had been St. Elsewhere which allowed its characters to grow, change (die, if necessary) and "remember" their continuity. You didn't have to pay attention to all the details to enjoy it but it was more rewarding if you did. Then along comes Twin Peaks which forged ahead with an on-going, changing narrative that demanded viewer attention. Underneath the intricate plot were these rich themes and complex characters. Any one of these elements would make a great TV series, but when all were presented through the unique vision of David Lynch, Twin Peaks became this one-of-a-kind phenomenon. It has never been matched.

The show was so rich that it demanded analysis and discussion. I started making character charts and calendars and trivia games. Then I met Craig Miller who had some experience publishing magazines and we started Wrapped In Plastic.

Twin Peaks Archive: Did you like season two? Did any story arcs bother you?

John Thorne: Well, I like just about all of Twin Peaks. Some of the second season arcs (Little Nicky, Ben Horne's Civil War, Nadine as a teenager) were pretty silly and hard to watch. But they were tempered with the excellent Windom Earle story.

Twin Peaks Archive: Your favorite episode is...

John Thorne: The best all-around episode has to be the pilot. It is nearly perfect. It is beautiful and mesmerizing and almost impossible to stop watching -- no matter how many times you've seen it. That said, I love episode 2007 (Bob kills Maddy) and think the final episode stands as a brilliant short film.

Twin Peaks Archive: Who is your favorite character?

John Thorne: Wow. Favorite characters are tough. If we are talking about the series only, Cooper is the easy choice probably because he is the most complicated character (and brilliantly played by Kyle MacLachlan). The same goes for Audrey (at least in the early episodes). If we are talking about FWWM as well, I would have to say Laura Palmer is a "favorite" because of David
Lynch's effort to make her a more complicated, rounded character. I think he succeeds. As for characters that consistently bring a smile to my face, I would have to say Albert and Gordon Cole. (There - how's that for "a" favorite character?)

Twin Peaks Archive: Did you get any bizarre letters to WIP that just could not be published?

John Thorne: Yes. But bizarre in that they were nonsensical or cryptic. These were few and far between. There were never any strange manifestos or long ideologies. (But there were times when we got so few letters that we ran a few strange ones just to fill the letters page. Go back and check, you'll see.)

Twin Peaks Archive: Which interview did you find the most open and enthusiastic?

John Thorne: Almost everyone we interviewed was great. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to be part of Twin Peaks. They all described it as a unique and important experience. The most memorable interviews for me had to be Frank Silva,
David Lynch and Miguel Ferrer. Naomi Watts was also great (though a non-TP actor). She had a real intellectual spark and curiosity about Mulholland Drive. It was lots of fun to talk to her.

Twin Peaks Archive: Was there someone you wanted to interview but just could not get?

John Thorne: Absolutely. MacLachlan and Fenn.

Twin Peaks Archive: Was there an article that divided fans the most?

John Thorne: Oh yeah. The essay (which I wrote) arguing that the first 30 minutes of FWWM (the Deer Meadow prologue) was entirely a dream of Dale Cooper. I think there is overwhelming evidence to support this and I also think this interpretation makes the film a stronger, more cohesive work. But, wow, were there people who disagreed with that one! Some people were downright mad! Many accused us of overanalyzing the film. What's odd is we never said that the dream interpretation was the "only" way of viewing the film and that all competing theories were wrong. We just felt strongly that the dream idea allowed a new and deeper way of viewing the film. (But judging from some reactions you'd think we kicked someone's pet dog.)

Twin Peaks Archive: Will there be another issue of WIP?

John Thorne: I don't know. Really. I would like to do another one and I think Craig Miller would, too. It's just finding the time, energy, and enough subject matter to include. The new TP DVD releases and INLAND EMPIRE do give us plenty to write about. Hopefully, there would be enough interest from readers for us to make it economically feasible. If there is, well, we just need to sit down and do it.

The Archive thanks John for taking the time to talk to us! For back issues direct from the publisher, click here. The controversial FWWM article is in issue #60 and we highly recommend it!

7 comments:

Miguel said...

I strongly disagree that the pilot was the best episode. In fact, when the "Twin Peaks" pilot originally aired, I did not find the show all that engaging and did not watch it again until the second season.

The Pilot set up all the characters, but I felt plodded in places. In my opinion, any of the subsequent Episodes from Season 1 beats the Pilot, as well as many of the espisodes from early in Season 2.

Jerry Horne said...

Well, everyone has their own opinion. I can't decide between episode 2 and 14 as my favorites. But then what about the last episode? Episode 27 grows on me everytime i watch it too now -- so who knows?

Tonya J said...

Awesome. Another part of TP history I didn't know about.

Jerry Horne said...

I really wish they still published this mag. In the days before the internet, there was nothing like getting a fresh issue in the mail packed with all sorts of goodies. Oh well, nothing good ever lasts...

selphiealmasy8 said...

Poor John. He still thinks that there is overwhelming evidence for the Deer Meadow being Cooper’s dream theory? I have looked at it like this but it just doesn’t work. David Lynch may be ambiguous but he is not a cheater. When he had to rework Mulholland Dr, deciding to make the first part into Diane’s dream, he gave the audience indication of it right away.

The whole Phillip Jeffries character supports Chet Desmond as being real and that FBI agents, in connection with Cole, have a way of disappearing. Chet Desmond was real so why would Dale be dreaming he was Chet? It is far too redundant and the “evidence” is just too silly.

They may have never said it was the only way to view the film but it really isn’t even one way to view it.

The series never states that Dale Cooper investigated Teresa’s murder and the series and film are really the only things that count. I don’t take Coop’s autobiography because I don’t see Lynch has holding to the marketing side of TP. He contradicted Laura’s diary which was written by his own daughter after all.

FWWM is cohesive and deep without Dale Cooper having investigated the Bank’s murder.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I like that even the publisher of WIP has conflicting viewpoints with many other fans. Just another reason why the show is so great... everyone takes away something different.

I can now say after REPEATED viewings of the show (200+) that this never diminishes and can pretty much form a new opinion and have a more concrete understanding of the world of twin peaks. (A world we can always explore that will NEVER CHANGE)

Joel Bocko said...

I like the Pilot, but I see Miguel's point in that I admire more than love it. For me, the clincher-episode is ep. 2 (the Red Room). When showing or recommending the series to people, I tell them to give it at least three episodes. I can see them being disengaged by the pilot or ep. 1 but if at the end of Cooper's dream they still aren't interested, I'd say it's pretty much a lost cause.