Laura Dern has served as director David Lynch’s muse on several projects. The pair first worked together in the 1986 cult classic film Blue Velvet, then the thriller Wild at Heart and, more recently, Inland Empire.
The Oscar-nominated actress is best known for her varied film work -- including Jurassic Park, The Master, Wild, and 99 Homes -- but had her first regular TV role as the lead in the low rated but critically acclaimed HBO series Enlightened, which lasted two seasons from 2011-2013. The role landed her a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Amy Jellicoe, a former corporate executive who vows to be an agent of change following a mental breakdown.
TVLine (via Deadline) reports that Dern is set to return to premium cable television for a "pivotal role" in Lynch’s upcoming revival of Twin Peaks for Showtime. As with most details about the series, her character is being kept under wraps for now.
Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost announced plans for a limited series in October 2014 as a follow-up to the 1990s series that followed the investigation surrounding the shocking and mysterious murder of the titular fictional town's homecoming queen, Laura Palmer. The project was developed at Showtime for a nine-episode run — which has since reportedly expanded to be double the initial episode order. Season 3 was originally scheduled to premiere in 2016 but was eventually delayed until 2017, with filming reportedly starting in September 2015 in Washington State.
The project was nearly derailed after Lynch threatened to leave the series over budget concerns. He has since signed on to direct all of the episodes, with Lynch and Frost writing the scripts for every installment.
Last month, Showtime gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at production of the upcoming third season in a teaser that showed the crew setting up shop in the quaint northwestern town where the new episodes are currently being filmed, as Michael Horse, who plays Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill, explains the region’s sacredness and how it has become its own character in the series. The clip ends in a characteristically eerie way, displaying a blurry, white-haired figure — possibly Lynch himself — as the camera shakes erratically.
The cast of Twin Peaks season 3 will likely include a combination of new and returning players, including Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Richard Beymer (Benjamin Horne), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Mädchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), Everett McGill (Ed Hurley), Wendy Robie (Nadine Hurley), Balthazar Getty, Robert Knepper, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bailey Chase, and Amanda Seyfried. Sherilyn Fenn, who played troublemaking teen Audrey Horne, is also rumored to return, but only Kyle MacLachlan has been officially confirmed by Showtime to reprise his role as FBI Agent Dale Cooper.
The news of Dern’s addition to the Twin Peaks cast has already sparked speculation that the actress will be playing the mysterious Diane, Agent Cooper's never-before-seen secretary that’s allegedly on the receiving end of his tape-recorded notes. Fans have long theorized that Diane is actually a figment of his imagination, so Dern playing the role would put those rumors to rest. However, it might be best to leave certain things ambiguous, which is a lesson Lynch and Frost learned after solving the show’s central mystery during its initial run when revealing Laura Palmer’s killer in the second season, a decision the duo have publicly admitted was a mistake.
Whatever the role, Dern’s longtime partnership with Lynch makes the casting seem like a no-brainer. The actress consistently brings an unbridled enthusiasm to every character, which is a welcome addition to the surreal world of Twin Peaks, serving as the perfect counterbalance to the darker tones that are often found in the series. It'll also be gratifying to see her reunite with the equally quirky MacLachlan - her one-time Blue Velvet co-star - especially if they are once again partnered together on screen. Screen Rant will bring you more details on the Twin Peaks revival when we have them.
Twin Peaks is slated to return for season 3 in summer 2017 on Showtime.