Twin Peaks is a cult phenomenon. Kicking off in 1989, the series spawned an early nineties film prequel, and a 2017 series (nearly three decades later). Aaron Little recently caught up with actress Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer (and Maddy Ferguson), to chat about Twin Peaks and its impact. 

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In the early 1990s everyone was asking the same question: ‘Who killed Laura Palmer?’

Jump forward to 2017 and people are still trying to put together the Twin Peaks puzzle, created by film and television geniuses David Lynch (Director) and Mark Frost (Writer).

When Twin Peaks: The Return aired on Showtime last year, Rolling Stone lauded Twin Peaks as the most groundbreaking television series ever, and TIME similarly branded it as the “show that changed TV forever”.

Actress Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer on the show, said she wasn’t sure what it would be like to step back into the role after such a long time

“I was very curious creatively about what it would be like,” she said.

“I knew it was a very unusual journey to take for an actor, and I was intimidated by it and curious about it.

“But [at the same time], it was easy in the sense that I was in the best hands with David and I trusted him, so I could trust him with any of my own doubts or insecurities.”

Twin Peaks took Lee, initially aged 22, from being a local theatre performer in Washington DC to a prime-time television personality with international fame.

In fact, Lynch was so impressed with her acting and screen presence he created a second role on the show for Sheryl Lee – Maddy Ferguson, Laura Palmer’s cousin, who succumbed to the same terrifying fate as Laura.

“There is something similar about Maddy and Laura, but they are different” she said.

“And because Maddy spent so much time talking about Laura, I had to make sure internally I could find something that felt very different and very clear.”

The character of Laura Palmer had minimal exposure in the original series, and was mostly pieced together with flashbacks for the audience, but when the 1992 film prequel was released, Laura’s life up until the point she was murdered became clear.

Audiences became privy to her character arc and were exposed to graphic scenes of drug use, sexual and mental trauma, and violence.

“I was very happy with the opportunity [to do the film prequel], as I never felt finished with Laura before that,” Lee said.

“I felt as though I needed to tell more of her life to come full circle.”

When Lee was asked if she would be reprising her role if another season of Twin Peaks were to be commissioned, she laughed and said “I would do anything they ask me to do”.

Lee and several of the cast are heading to Australia this month for a national “in conversation” tour that will include David Lynch answering fan questions live via Skype and a meet and greets with fans.

Twin Peaks: Conversation With The Stars begins in Melbourne on Saturday 25 August and will then travel to Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth. For tickets visit drwe.com.au.

And for a more in-depth interview with Lee, make sure to check out the September issue of the Gay Scene Guide.

twin peaks

The Twin Peaks cast.

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