John Malkovich tests his acting mettle in a new project in which he portrays a number of David Lynch's quirky characters in unique vignettes: Twin Peaks detective Dale Cooper and the Log Lady, Eraserhead's Henry Spencer and the Lady in the Radiator, The Elephant Man's John Merrick, Lost Highway's Mystery Man and Blue Velvet's Frank Booth and Lynch himself.
The project, Playing Lynch, allows people to pay to download each of the scenes to raise money for the David Lynch Foundation, which aims to teach transcendental meditation to sufferers of traumatic stress. A new video will be made available every day for the next week.
The Dale Cooper vignette, which became available today, shows Malkovich playing Kyle MacLachlan's role as he takes a sip from a mug, does a spit take and declares, "Damn good coffee – and hot." He speaks into his microcassette recorder and recites lines from the show. "Diane, never drink coffee that has been anywhere near a fish," he says.
Each scene features new music recorded by an artist interpreting Lynch-related music. The Twin Peaks scenes contain music by original composer Angelo Badalamenti; the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd score The Elephant Man; Sky Ferreira accompanies the Blue Velvet scene; Zola Jesus takes on the Lady in the Radiator; and Lykke Li soundtracks Lost Highway's creepy Mystery Man.
Director Sandro Miller, who made each of the clips, told The Wall Street Journal that the project came about when Malkovich's music producer sought to get involved in a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation but ultimately wasn't able to align their schedules. Lynch, who had been impressed by Jeff Bridges' "Sleeping Tapes" collaboration with Squarespace, suggested Malkovich & Co. partner with the website company.
"We would have the actual scenes playing over and over on a TV set and he could watch it," Miller told the paper. "He would be saying his lines, moving his mouth and his nose – it's like watching this clay ball morph into something real."
Fans have the option to purchase the music – which culls from the previously mentioned benefit concert – as a standalone album, a 20-minute film of all the vignettes and stills from the shoot, packaged together in various configurations.
Lynch and Malkovich have never worked together on a formal project, though they both appear in the documentaries Side by Side and La Traversée du Désir.
In other Lynch news, the director is prepping a new season of Twin Peaks that will air on Showtime. And he has lent his name to what he's dubbed a "Festival of Disruption" that will take place in Los Angeles next month; Robert Plant, Mel Brooks, Frank Gehry and others will participate.