BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: JOSIE'S FATE
This article is in celebration of the release of Wave Two of Richard Beymer's signed & numbered Twin Peaks prints that you can order right now at TP 20...
The fate of Josie Packard in Twin Peaks has always been a topic that has divided and confused fans since her 'death' scene was originally transmitted in episode 23 on February 16th, 1991. Many people have pointed out the rather primitive special effects (of it's time though) that may have diminished any potential power from the cliffhanger. Others think it's just plain strange to have a character trapped inside a wooden drawer knob. Even strange for Twin Peaks apparently. We think the key to understanding and possibly even enjoying this story arc is to become aware of a combination of deleted scenes, un-filmed script sequences and comments made by cast and crew.
The end of episode 23 sees Josie 'die' in Thomas Eckardt's room at The Great Northern. After being confronted by Harry, Josie collapses on the bed. Truman comforts her only to realize she has died. At that moment, Cooper (and Cooper only we must add) has a vision of The Little Man and BOB in short succession. The Little Man simple dances atop the bed. However, BOB, in a rather menacing fashion, asks Cooper - "What happened To Josie"? It should be noted that BOB says nothing in the script, he simply laughs 'demonically'. This is the first of several instances where mentions and even appearances of Josie are absent in the script, but appear in the show. Why?
Later in the series, Cooper says that Josie was 'Quaking with fear'. He also let's Hawk know that her body weighed only 65 pounds at the autopsy. 'How's that possible'? asks Hawk. Clearly that is a question for the audience as well. Do we have an answer all these years later? Although her physical body is left behind, did she lose something in her journey from our world to the next? Another interesting fact about episode 23 is that due to low ratings, this was very nearly the last episode of Twin Peaks shown. It was only with fan pressure and pleading from the producers that ABC granted the show a block of six more episodes. Twin Peaks returned six weeks later and aired four more episodes before ABC waited another two months to air the final two episodes. Would Twin Peaks have the same cult allure today if Josie's image in a drawer pull was the final image seen? We'll never know.
Flash forward to episode 27. Three very interesting 'Josie' sequences are present. Two filmed but not scripted, and one scripted but not filmed. During Act III, there is a scene with Ben and Audrey inside Ben's office at The Great Northern. As Audrey hurries off, Ben whips around clearly startled and staring in the direction of his fireplace. Who or what has he seen? Quick cut to Pete in the lobby of the Great Northern. Pete, staring and gesturing to the fireplace exclaims, 'Josie, I see your face!'. Both of these bits are missing from the script. It's not much of a stretch to say that Ben perhaps also sees Josie. So far, we can glean that Josie is somehow stuck in The Great Northern. Most people have concentrated on the fact that Josie is stuck within the wood there. However, if we assume that Ben is indeed startled by Josie from his fireplace (as we clearly see Pete interacting with Josie in the lobby fireplace) then fire seems involved with Josie in some way as well. It also struck us that although we don't see Josie's face during these two scenes, it may have been the intention to add her face later in post production. However, for whatever reason, this was not done. The original script for episode 27 also calls for a scene at the end when BOB appears from the Black Lodge and Josie screaming, still trapped in the drawer pull. Had they decided to include this bit, there is little doubt they would have been tempted to simply re-use the existing footage from episode 23. It's interesting though. Is Josie in pain from being stuck between two worlds? Or would there have been a connection to BOB's sudden appearance?
Is this where it ends? A baffling reference by Pete to seeing her in a fireplace?
There is no reference to Josie in the final script at all. However, in 1993 at the first fan run Twin Peaks Fest, Frank Silva was asked about BOB's relation to Josie:
"He took her away to the Red Room, I think basically..."
Amazingly, Frank then added:
"..If you notice, in the Red Room...you do see Josie's body, You don't see her face, but you see her body sticking out of the Red Room curtains. In the series... Joan Chen wasn't available at the time, so we had to get around that! There was a double of Joan Chen, but you just saw the body and her head was outside the Red Room. If you look in the Red Room, you see Josie's body, the last outfit that she had on, you'll see that body with that outfit...and her head is sticking outside the red wall...
If you watch the video of Frank's speech, you can almost feel the bewilderment and faint skepticism in the audience. "Why, I've watched the final episode 30 times and I've never seen Josie"! Such a reaction is understandable. The scene was filmed but it never made the episode as transmitted. Cut by David Lynch for reasons he'll probably never explain. Robert Engels even talks about the scene (even alluding to the fact that the footage has been lost) in Wrapped In Plastic issue 58:
"Oh yeah. It doesn't exist anywhere, but there was. I'd have to look at my notes, but I would say there was."
Clearly, Frank Silva witnessed the scene being filmed, however, he was simply unaware that it was cut out before transmission.
Now, for the first time ever, with massive thanks to Rob Wilson of TP 20 and Richard Beymer, we present to you six never before published stills of Josie's double (wearing the same nightgown from episode 23). Josie was shot (apparently just from behind) with her head stuck in the curtains. Between two worlds, her face manifesting itself in The Great Northern. We know thanks to Rob and Richard that:
"Those shots appear around the same time as when they were filming Cooper running from one end of the Red Room to the other..."
Of course just because Lynch filmed those scenes around that time does not necessarily mean that he meant for that scene to take place at the same time. We may never know how Lynch envisioned the scene to play out.
We also know of at least one further still of Josie's double that exists. It is a costume polaroid shot from the neck down. Of course 'Josie' is still wearing the same nightgown she was wearing in episode 23 when she 'dies'.
These stills were taken by Richard during his marathon shooting session during the final days of filming. Richard, noticing that no one at that point was shooting stills, asked Lynch if he could document the closing days. Lynch said yes and the rest is history. Without Richard sooting these stills, the visual history of the end of the show would be in a sad state. Publicity on Twin Peaks dropped off significantly especially around episode 26 (around the same time that Mark Frost assistant, Unit Publicist and in-house stills photographer Paula K. Shimatsu-U. quit the show) We note with some sadness that episodes 27 and 28 seem to have very few stills to document their production. By the way, if anyone out there knows the name of the actress who doubled for Josie, please drop us a line.
So, the story is over now right? Of course not! Let's fast forward to film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Here is a further excerpt from WIP's interview with Robert Engels:
John Thorne: "Jeffries mentions the name 'Judy'. Later in the film, there is a close-up of a monkey's face, and it says 'Judy'. Did you know who Judy was when you were writing the screenplay?"
Robert Engels: "Judy - the name is [from] my sister-in-law. I think that is where it came from. The Thing behind Judy has to do with where David Bowie came from..."
Craig Miller: "We know that he was originally in Buenos Aires"
Robert Engels: Yes, exactly. He was down there, and that's where Judy is. I think Joan Chen [Josie] is there, and I think Windom Earle is there. It is this idea that there are these portals around the world, and Phillip Jeffries had one hell of a trip to Buenos Aires and back! He really doesn't want to talk about Judy because that reminds him of whatever happened to him. It's really as simple as that. There was a thing that was going to happen with Josie and Windom and Judy. In our original planning of the prequel, there is a whole other section about all this. A whole other set of mythology that was going to be around Judy and Josie and where Windom Earle ended up."
John Thorne: I did read an early draft of the script that has a line about Judy's sister. Was that supposed to be Josie?
Robert Engels: Yes. Yes, I think that is true.
To wrap a few things up, we point out a few things said by John Thorne in his wonderful 'Judy, Judy, Judy' piece:
"In an early draft (dated July 3rd, 1991) Phillip Jeffries first appears in a Buenos Aires hotel where the head clerk hands him a note from a "young lady." Soon after, Jeffries appears in Cole's office in Philadelphia where he tells the assembled agents he's "not gonna talk about Judy." Jeffries says, "I want to tell you everything, but I don't have a lot to go on. But I'll tell you one thing: Judy is positive about this." Then Jeffries drops a fascinating detail: "Her sister's there, too. At least part of her.""
"This early draft of the script provides strong evidence that Judy was a living person whose note to Jeffries compelled him to go to Philadelphia to tell Cole, "everything." (After all, "Judy is positive about this.") This script also introduces a second mysterious person to identify – Judy's sister. It is possible that this sister may be Josie Packard who "died" in the TV series but whose spirit seemed to live on in the walls (and drawers) of the Great Northern hotel."
Special thanks to Richard Beymer, Rob Wilson, Mark Frost, Wrapped In Plastic Magazine and Dugpa.com
We also urge you to read John Thorne's informative article on Judy at the apparently now defunct Above The Convenience Store.