Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dissecting Jennifer Lynch

Soooo, who is this Jennifer Lynch?  Often referred to as 'the daughter of David Lynch', Jennifer has been through hell and back to carve her niche in a tough industry where making a name for oneself is easier said than done.  Despite who your father is.

I chose the particular photo of Jennifer I posted above, from the many available on the web, because it struck a chord in me.  I have sported many hairdos in my life, including the one above, and had the subsequent snickering from family, friends and strangers.  Didn't matter, my need to express myself outweighed any criticism I was the recipient of.  I saw the photo and recognized a kindred free spirit.  Not to be outdone, Google her father and see his hairdos.  The man has a mean head of hair.

Jennifer Chambers Lynch was born on April 7, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She is the daughter of David Lynch, filmmaker, TV director, visual artist, musician and actor, most notably known for 'Twin Peaks', 'Mullholland Drive', 'Blue Velvet', 'The Elephant Man' and 'Eraserhead'.  Her mother is a painter.  They separated in 1977, and her father is now married for the fourth time, he and his current wife are expecting a child.  When she was six years old she began practicing Transcendental Meditation, influenced by her father who was introduced to the spiritual techniques in 1973 although being raised Presbyterian himself.

She attended school in Los Angeles and the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan.  As a teen, she had the role of a little girl in her father's film, 'Eraserhead', a cult classic film.  Jennifer also worked as a production assistant for 'Blue Velvet' and wrote 'The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer' to accompany 'Twin Peaks', directed and created by her father, respectively.

At 19 years old, in 1993, she wrote the commissioned screenplay for 'Boxing Helena' that she also ended up directing.  The subject matter raised the hackles of feminists far and wide, caused accusations of nepotism and involved a law suit with Kim Basinger who was at first slated to take the female lead.

Kim Basinger, on the advice of her agent, backed out of her verbal agreement to be in the film.  Upon reconsideration,  the personality of the character, the script written by someone so young and the graphic sex scenes made her uncomfortable.  She was sued for breach of contract for $6.4 million, a dollar amount that the studio claimed it lost, and ended up costing Basinger $8.5 million.  [LA TIMES]

Also considered for the part was Madonna, who walked away when Andrew Lloyd Weber caught wind of it and issued an ultimatum, 'You can't have Evita, Madonna, if you do Boxing Helena.'  Madonna later wrote Jennifer Lynch a letter followed up by a personal phone call, crying.  Say what you want about Madonna, and I personally like her, she paid back every dime knowing that she had not honored the contract and recognizing the time spent by production.  [THE INDEPENDENT]

'Twin Peaks' star, Sherilyn Fenn eventually took the role.

'Boxing Helena' tells the tale of a lonely lovelorn surgeon obsessed with a woman named Helena, whom he previously had an affair with but cannot accept the reality she has moved on from him .  As fate would have it, Helena is injured in a hit-and-run accident in front of his home.  He kidnaps her and initially treats her, amputating both of her legs.  After a time, he amputates her healthy arms as well.  Limbless and held captive, Helena spends her time ridiculing Nick's shortcomings in an attempt to emasculate him becomes lonely herself and succumbs to his admiration of her.

Reality imitating her film, Jennifer herself was knocked down, age 19, and injured in a car accident that later progressed into debilitating spinal injuries, leaving her bedridden for a year after the birth of her daughter, Sydney.  She had left Sydney's father and was a single parent.  To alleviate the pain, Jennifer took up smoking weed, ignoring her condition until an alarmed doctor told her that her spine was being 'held together by a prayer'.  She abstained from drugs and alcohol, had three spinal surgeries and endured a rigorous rehabilitation.  [THE INDEPENDENT]

'Boxing Helena' came out when she was 24 years old receiving the worst reviews ever on record.  It was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival but did not win. She dropped out of the public eye, to regroup and lick her wounds and did not return for 15 years when she came back with her offering of  'Surveillance'.

'Surveillance' took took top prize at the Festival de Cine de Stiges in October of 2008 [where her 'Chained' will screen this October] and one month later, Jennifer Lynch became the first woman to receive the New York City Horror Film Festival's 'Best Director' award.

Two years later, 2010, Jennifer returned with the film 'Hisss', about a man in the last stage of brain cancer who has only six months to live and decides to extract the 'Nagmani' from a shape-shifting snake who can take human form.  'George' captures a nag [male snake] to coax the female nagin to free her lover and obtain the nagmani by force.  The nag is kept in a glass case where it is electrocuted and tortured eventually bringing the nagin to him as part of his plan.  She is helped by a police inspector dealing with his own personal issues with an infertile wife that has caused a strain on their relationship.  The nagin helps them and other women who have been victims of brutality by men, killing those men who captured her mate and the ones victimized.  The inspector helps her to find our where her mate is located, at George's hideout, and once reunited the nagin and nag engage in sexual intimacy during which George tries to take her nagmani by disguising himself in a suit that hides his heat signature.  At the same time he captures her, the inspector arrives, saving her.  So angered by her now dead mate, she shape-shifts into half snake, half woman, and throws George into the same glass case that held her mate captive and electrocutes him.  I won't give away the ending.  [WIKIPEDIA]

The film was shot in India with a Bollywood actress as lead.  The critics in Bollywood hammered the film for its 'bad script, careless directing, special effects that appeared more funny than eye-grabbing and the poor acting.'   The box office in India labeled the film 'Disaster'.  It screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where a grateful-to-be-able-to-walk Jennifer Lynch appeared on the red carpet with her daughter, Sydney in tow.  'Hisss' was also scheduled to premiere at the Montreal Festival du Noveau Cinema and the Gotham Screen Film Festival & Screenplay Contest in NYC but was pulled from both before they opened.

A documentary entitled 'Despite The Gods' chronicles the trials and tribulations of the filming of 'Hisss' and is set to be screened at the Fantasia International Film Festival along with the world premiere of 'Chained'.

Not to be discouraged, filming began on 'Rabbit' later changed to 'Chained' in July of 2011.  Lending support was Julia Ormond who had previously worked with Jennifer in 'Surveillance'.  In a surprising move to those who follow Vincent D'Onofrio closely, he agreed to portray the lead character of  'Bob', a cab-driving serial killer who kills Ormond's character 'Sarah' and kidnaps her son to become his protege'.

After horrific research in preparation and eventual filming of 'The Cell', Vincent has lamented about the ramifications--and nightmares he's experienced--that it cost him.  So it was unexpected when in an interview on 'Good Things Utah', while promoting a charity event, he revealed that he was going to portray the 'darkest character I have ever done.'  And, it was to be on his terms, filming to be done consecutively for the three days so as not to 'break character'.

Shane Daly, First AD, Jennifer Lynch, Director and Damian O'Donnell, Script Writer

Initial reports of the filming, though scant, were details of amazing techniques Vincent was coming up with to enhance his 'Bob'.  A mouth piece was inserted to achieve a speech impediment and a shuffling of the feet was added. The entire filming was done in Lynch's beloved Canada and fitting that its world premiere will also be there.

Then the bad news came that the MPAA had slapped the film with an NC-17 rating that resulted in an attempt by Jennifer and her producer to have it overturned.  It was not to be.  The rating stands, as deemed by the MPAA for its 'explicit violence' for a scene that involves a throat-slashing.

'Chained' is also scheduled to be screened at the 'Film4 Frightfest in the UK and 'Fantasy Filmfest' in Germany in August and .'Stiges' in Catalonia in October.

Just recently, in what I personally consider a disappointing move, Anchor Bay Entertainment announced 'Chained' would be released on Blu-ray followed by a 'Bonus Pack' Blu-ray and DVD which will include the bonus deleted scene dubbed  'Mary's Murder' which resulted in the NC-17 rating being issued.  Both will be released this October.

I can't for the life of me figure out why?  Maybe it's because no one wants to take the risk on a Jennifer Lynch film, or thoughts that the film will do poorly in a theatrical release because of the deleted scene or maybe the subject matter is 'too sensitive'.  Maybe all.

In a recent interview, 'Observations: Keep it in the family: the dark visions of Jennifer Lynch', Jennifer Lynch shared her thoughts about 'Chained'.

“The subject matter is upsetting, no doubt about it. It should be. It is a horrible thing, violence,” says Lynch. “When the project first came to me I was not 'turned on'.”

Instead, Lynch wanted to create a study of “how monsters are made”. “In my mind, real-life monsters are born of wounds: of sorrows. Of pains not spoken or healed. I wanted to promote a dialogue about child abuse. I did not want to excuse terrible acts, but to bring the human monster to light.”

What real-life events or films influenced her? “Everything I have ever seen or done influenced me,” she says. “Truly. The love I was given. The fears I had and still have. The questions I ask each day. All of them were part of my telling this story.”

There have been some hints/rumors of a limited theatrical release and I hope it's true.  I hope it makes it to the big screen in some lucky people's cities.  If only for the sake of an actor of Vincent D'Onofrio's calibre, movie magic and acting brilliance to be truly appreciated on a big ass screen.  You can save the DVD to cut your lunch meat.

Jennifer Lynch is currently in pre-production for 'A Fall From Grace'.

Good luck at the festivals, Jennifer, I think you've got a good one here.  And, if I could say one thing to you, always stay true to yourself despite what the others may think or say.  At the end of the day, you only have yourself to answer to and not the others who should find themselves having 'no place at the in(n).'

Oh, in case some of the details of the movies have left you unsettled, here's a photo sent to me from Marian of two pups whose mother was rescued in the nick of time...she was in labor!


vikeau said...

I would have loved to see you in that hair do Nantz. HaHa. Nice article by the way. Informative and entertaining. Thanks.

Rose said...

Good for you to express yourself with different hairdos, I tend to fit in and not experiment, love people that can just do what they want like that. Jennifer Lynch is a very interesting lady, complex like her dad, and enjoyed reading about her, then I went and read other things about her as well. I have always admired her dad, he is a character, one of my favorite movies is Blue Velvet, and Dennis Hopper in that movie was just great. I always wondered what mental ramifications might happen when studying for a role, and digging deep into the minds of serial killers or mass murders. I see why Vincent did this role on his terms, didn't realize the extent of his research for The Cell, and what it did to him. I'm thinking maybe the violence aspect/subject matter could be a reason for not doing a big theatrical release. I'm looking at the photos of the puppies, just love chubby pup bellies, you can almost smell the puppy smell. Happy ending, it makes me cry to think things may not have ended so well. Thank-you Marian and Nantz.

JoJo said...

I never made the connection that she was David Lynch's daughter and I had no idea he'd done The Elephant Man. That was a great movie. She sure likes to explore the dark side of life though...had no idea Boxing Helena was about that. Definitely will be skipping this movie; it's not a genre I care much for.

marian kaplan said...

Let us pray/hope that the number of "Bobs" and Michael Vicks inhabit a radically smaller space on this planet than the angels who rescue animals. The pups were born into a litter of nine but only two survived as mother did her job in the streets of L.A. where they were found and saved by rescuers who give us all hope for our species.

Thanx Nantz!

Nantz said...

LOL, vikeau, I rocked the asymmetric hairdo several times in my life and why I have my ear pierced 5 times on one side. Rose, Vincent suffered for the research for 'The Cell' and refuses to really talk about it. I agree with your sentiments about the puppies and I would add puppy breath. JoJo, I had no idea what 'Boxing Helena' was about and I have to say that it's very disturbing. Probably one of the most disturbing subject matters for a movie I've ever heard about. Marian, glad at least 2 survived but wish the rest would have made it too. I can't believe someone could look at these puppies and that mama and treat them so badly.

vikeau said...

I'm sure you all remember the bridesmaid LOCI episode(can't remember the title). But I always thought that was interesting episode because of the detail it went into about method acting. At the time I watched the episode I wondered if VDO was interjecting some his eperiences. Reading about his reaction and experience to preparing for "The Cell" puts that particular episode into a new light. No wonder he insisted that he only have to in character for only 3 days.

Rose said...

The people that rescue animals such as this mom dog are angels, so sad that only two babies survived, but am hopeful the other two will go to very good homes and are treated like family members. I really believe that someone who is so abusive to animals is a half a step away from abusing a person, I don't let anyone into my life that doesn't respect all animals.

Rose said...

I keep wanting to tell you how I'm enjoying the new banners. Thanks for that info, it sounds like from all of Vincent's reading that he did for the role in the Cell, caused him much trauma. Not only reading but then performing such sadistic acts. Sounds like post traumatic stress disorder, since that can happen after many different kinds of mental or physical trauma. Wow, I too can now see why Bob, was on Vincent's terms. Do wonder how many actors have been affected from movie roles that dug so deep in the soul, one becomes traumatized from it. Read somewhere years ago, that the Joker character caused much grief for Heath Ledger.

sullie said...

Nantz, thanks for all your info, always makes for a great read and agree Jennifer Lynch does like to purse the darker sides of life in film. The more I watch the trailers I feel better prepared to catch the film, hope it's not much worse or I'll be cooked.

Nantz said...

Thanks for all of your comments, guys, I wanted to research Jennifer Lynch and share it with all of you. As for Vincent's work on 'The Cell'...this is one of the mentions from an interview...

We've heard reports of method actors seeping deep into a character, taking the character home and being haunted by that character's actions for months. D'Onofrio laughs a bit at this idea. "No, it's not that romantic. I'm not that romantic of an actor. The thing is, it's the research that you do that is exhausting. That's what always affects you. When I did The Cell – no matter what you think of that movie, because I have my opinions of it too – it was, you know, I still have nightmares from the research that I did. Not from playing the part, just from the research. There was stuff that I should have never looked at, [that] I should have never gone anywhere near. As a father, I can't imagine going to that place again. I'm not saying I wouldn't, I'm just saying it was too much…

Nantz said...

sullie, I get what you say. When I saw the first trailer, and now the second, the portrayal Vincent does is chilling. Then when the stills came out, it ripped my heart out to imagine the horror that young boy, and young man, endured. My scariest moment was when my old boss was in town, packing a Glock, and I had driven him to his childhood home to pick up some things. He was a maniac, suspect he was hooked on cocaine, and no one knew where I was. I remember my body 'splitting' as if in a dream because I thought I was going to die. But, I wasn't chained.

Rose said...

What a nightmare for you Nantz, a maniac, cocaine addict with a glock, terrifying. Thanks for that interview, wow, what in the world did he all look at to come out of it with such ramifications? I'm scared to even know, he must have looked at some very gruesome pictures of torture and it took over, scary.

Nantz said...

It was the one time in my life when I thought I wasn't going to make it. He didn't have anything against me and was carrying a gun because someone had embezzled money from his company so he was paranoid about retaliation from that person. He was telling me a non-related story and pacing back and forth and had this low maniacal voice. I knew he had the gun on him and he was closest to the door and I felt trapped. It was more my mind thinking the worst over him being a non-threat to me. One hint I got, from one of the episodes on CI, of what Vincent probably did in his research for 'The Cell' was when he was listening to a woman being tortured. It was on tape and he told Eames 'in the end she was just using baby-talk'. You can view photos but when you actually see and/or hear in actuality, the impact is greater. As was in my case with my boss.

Rose said...

So terrifying, you are right the listening to someone being tortured never leaves you, ever. Many years ago when I was in my early twenties, had been admitted to ICU, had severe bronchitis, there was a girl that kept screaming and screaming. I didn't know if I should ask a nurse about it, finally did, she told me the girl had been raped and tortured and burnt all over her body with cigarettes. It haunts me, and always wonder if the poor thing was ever able to go on with her life. You were very calm I'll bet and knew how to talk to this man, you were very fortunate.

Nantz said...

You're wrong, I never talked to my boss...I was too paralyzed with fear to even move. Read this post I did back in February about 'The Cell' and an interview Vincent did...he mentions audio tapes. http://vincentdonofrionews-nantz.blogspot.com/2012/02/vincent-donofrio-star-of-cell-chat.html?zx=9b7efe1f2f9f117f

Rose said...

I certainly hope this man is behind bars. Thanks, I will check the interview out.

Nantz said...

Nope, not behind bars but should be. Thing is, he took over his mother and father's company, mishandled it probably because of the drugs and the company went out of business. I was never paid my last paycheck and he couldn't be found.

marian kaplan said...

Nantz, so sorry you had that frightful experience. Not talking probably contributed to your successful freedom . The terror of the victim is part of the rush for the beast.
Remember when Eames was trapped by Plimpton and
told Goren she wouldn't scream and he said that is probably what saved you.
As a claustrophobic, the "sight" alone of the child's chain blocks out everything else for me in that picture.
Let's hope that there's a "good" reason the boss has never been heard from.

vikeau said...

My head is spinning--Nantz to have gone through something like that is amazing. Although it really is amazing how our survival instinct kicks in when faced with such a tramactic experience.

Even though Rabbit may have tried to escape and therefore was chained-- the will to survive and overcome is incrediable. I've read about child soldiers who have been re-located to the US and have beyond all hope have been able to intergrate and live "normal" lives. Guess we'll have to see Chained to see if there is any hope for Rabbit.

sullie said...

Nantz, how horrifying for you in the time frame you described. I can absolutely feel your fear and I'm sure panic too. Sometimes we don't realize just how close we come to having our lives changed. I had a few too close calls back in the day and I'm forever grateful to be where I am today. Glad you made it out alright!