Kimmy Robertson was indelible as Lucy, the receptionist at the Twin Peaks Sheriff Station. In Twin Peaks, The Return Lucy is still at her desk, and her romantic problems have settled down some and she is married—as seemed inevitable—to Deputy Andy Brennan. She was, in many ways, the nexus of pretty much all of the characters and events, having probably shared scenes with nearly every other actor…
Kimmy Robertson: Not everybody, no. Just about everybody who passed through the Sheriff’s station I did and everybody was there in that 17th hour of The Return. Seems like most of the people were in that conference room for that.
Garth Twa: Oh, the big climax of the new series! The penultimate episode!
KR: Yes. Don’t know if you want spoilers or not…
GT: Why not? Let’s have some spoilers. Let’s have some really big ones! And this is a very big one because you played a very significant part in that climax, in that final showdown.
KR: It seems to be the case, doesn’t it?
GT: Yes. You shot the doppelganger, you killed Bad Cooper. You almost ended evil in Twin Peaks.
KR: It was a very big surprise to me, I must say. I didn’t know that was going to happen until David Lynch handed me the gun.
GT: You found out on the day?
KR: Right. Five minutes before I shot it. Or maybe it was one minute before. Yes, it wasn’t written in any script, it was a huge secret. Sabrina Sutherland, the executive producer, I would go for lunch with her and stuff and she never mentioned it. She said it was a the biggest secret for her to keep. Ever. In her whole life.
GT: And in that scene, you even had Frank Silva [the actor who played Bob the Killer, who passed away in 1995] although, of course, he wasn’t on set. He was in the final battle.
KR: Oh, that’s right. That’s so cool.
GT: So, you’ve basically had every character, even the sadly absent ones.
KR: Oh my goodness. Thank you for pointing that out to me. [to her dog, Zeke] Oh, Zeke, honey. Oh. Sorry, he’s using the restroom on my neighbour’s lawn.
GT: Did that scene feel climactic when you were doing it? Were the scenes shot in sequence?
KR: As my scenes went, they seemed to go in order of time. I was really lucky with that, I tried to keep the story together and obviously there was the Sheriff’s station in Snoqualmie… sorry if I’m hoarse but I went to a USC football game last night. So I’m hoarse.
GT: Did you? Are you a USC Alum?
KR: No, I can’t claim that I am but I did play with the USC Marching Band when they played to record the song “Tusk” for Fleetwood Mac. My sister was in the band and the school I was in didn’t have a band because it was a Performing Arts school and we didn’t have a football team. And they needed extra people, so there I was.
GT: That’s a pretty awesome claim to fame even beyond Twin Peaks.
KR: It was a very fun day.
GT: You’ve said you’re not a big film buff, but did you know David Lynch’s work before you did the first Twin Peaks?
KR: I did. In fact when I went in to my Twin Peaks interview, my “audition”, quote-unquote, I had a whole list of things in my head to ask him on behalf of my friends who had some questions to ask him, and that was my job because I was the one getting the meeting. I wish I could remember all the questions. It was like coincidence stuff, and synchronicity stuff, that I was asking him; about the ear in Blue Velvet and other things and that led to me yammering on about people who live in the wilderness and how they become assholes instead of peaceful zen-like creatures, and I was wondering why that was. I was giving him all these theories why and I remember him just smiling and nodding. He was thoroughly entertained. Because I know I wasn’t all wrong; somewhere in there I had to ask about at least one theory that was somewhere near correct. That’s what I did. Again, I’m not interested in acting, I’m not interested in talking about it, I’m not interested in actors…at the football game yesterday there was a bunch of girls who came along with my friend and me, and they were very nice, I really liked them, I have to say, but all they did was talk about actors and film. Like, I can’t go to the pizza parlour in the night time cause it’ll be filled with college students critiquing a film that they just saw and I always want to walk up to the table and say, “How ‘bout you go get a job in the film industry and work in it for ten, twenty, thirty years, then critique what you just saw.” Because I don’t like when people critique stuff from their couches when they’ve never even tried to make a film or tried to be in the business, which is so difficult. It’s so hard. It’s not like you’re in charge of your own movie, people are sabotaging you right and left, stabbing you in the back, changing your work without you knowing it, things like that.
GT: Now I feel bad asking you about the filming. And about acting.
KR: Oh, no, no, no. [laughs] It’s my job.
GT: I feel guilty now.
KR: Oh, no! Just sitting at a football game, I’d rather talk about quantum science.
GT: Exactly. Or having a pizza. Who needs that?
KR: That’s me though.
GT: Maybe I’ll just ask one question about an actor, if that’s alright.
KR: You can ask me a million questions! I shouldn’t have told you that! [laughs]
GT: Now I’m all self-conscious.
KR: Let’s think of it as a test. To see if I can pass.
GT: Oh, I thought it was a test for me to see if I can come up with a good question.
KR: Oh, I can tell already it will be good.
GT: Now the pressure’s on. Okay, here goes: You had a lot of scenes with David Lynch as an actor.
GT: You don’t pass the test yet! That wasn’t the question!
KR: [laughs] Oh, no!
GT: What was that like, working with him as an actor?
KR: He’s amazing. You know, it’s interesting to see people who are born with that gift of acting, turn from being who they are to the part they are playing, it’s so fascinating to me, it always fascinates me looking at the person and they’re not themselves anymore. They’re this other person. And he did that completely. That really surprised me. Back then I was really young, I didn’t know much about stuff and I remember that feeling of, wow, what does he not do well? Wow. Just amazing. Amazing man.
GT: And his artwork! He’s a brilliant artist as well.
KR: I think of Twin Peaks as a piece of art, too. I think it’s all one giant painting. It’s certainly not one giant TV show.
GT: I agree. The Return felt almost like even more of a summation of Lynch’s career till now, you could see student films, you could see photography work, echoes of his previous films, it was just a magnum opus, really, of his art.
KR: Yeah, that’s the word! Good one! Magnum opus. Yes, he’s always wanted to do this thing and he didn’t know how long it was going to be, he just had all these things he wanted to do in it. And Showtime said you have this much time, or whatever they said, and I remember, we didn’t know how long it was going to be or how much any of us were going to be in it. We would be discussing that and it kept changing. [goes quiet] Sorry, my neighbours are walking by. And, well, you know, I’m talking on the phone in my pyjamas in my yard. That looks kinda assholey.
GT: And especially with your dog going to the bathroom probably just added to that.
KR: That was a different neighbour.
KR: He’s a judge. A retired judge. There’s a lot of lawyers and judges…who’s the guy who prosecuted Manson? Bugliosi! He was a neighbour, too. And who’s the guy, in South Africa? Nelson Mandela. When he was in town, he used to live across the street in their guest house.
GT: Nelson Mandela lived across the street?
KR: Uh huh. When he was in town, that’s where he would stay. And then there’s me. [laughs]
GT: And there’s you. Vincent Bugliosi, Nelson Mandala, and you, all on the same block. The tour buses must ramble by.
KR: I’m the most uninteresting folk. Where were we?
GT: We were talking about David Lynch, and his art.
KR: Yes. I get along with artists cause they tend to tell the truth.
GT: Yes, absolutely. David Lynch would fit that. Wasn’t Twin Peaks, the world of Twin Peaks, something different from what other shows might be?
KR: Oh yes, it was, it was, first of all, it was like being in a big bowl of love. You know David Lynch is surrounded by this energy field of love, and he gives it and you immediately start, and it turns your switch on if it’s been turned off, and you start participating that way and it’s just such a beautiful experience. He doesn’t waste time, he doesn’t play a bunch of bullshit games. In the first place, he hires people he knows can do the job he has for them to do. He trusts you, and that’s an amazing thing to be trusted and loved by your maestro. Where else do you get that feeling? I wasn’t raised that way, I never had that from anybody, ever, other than my two dogs. And David Lynch. It’s really a wonderful feeling. David Lynch is real, it’s real love. It’s real creativity.
GT: And as you say, it’s like zero bullshit.
KR: He’s not capable of bullshit. Or manipulating, or… I mean, he doesn’t hold resentments. I mean, he gets angry, but that’s like when it’s something bad, like if Donald Trump says something weird, obviously, he’ll get angry just like a regular anybody would. He is very worried about the world.
GT: So, you keep in contact with him?
KR: I do up to a certain point. I don’t want to bug him. I keep in contact with an orchestrated surprise visit here and there. Sorry, I’m going to the other side of the house. Hold on. Hold your breath. Ready?
KR: There was a little problem with Zeke’s butt.
GT: With what, sorry?
KR: My dog’s butt. I had to get a paper towel. All right! Where were we? Next question!
GT: Was there a sense of melancholy, of finality, when you were shooting The Return?
KR: On the last day of my shooting schedule, it was the last day for a bunch of us, yeah, we cried. But it was tears of joy also because we, a lot of us, didn’t get to finish, you know? I mean, before, with the first seasons, 28 years ago. We didn’t get to finish our job. That was sad. I remember being on the set when we were doing Fire Walk with Me, and I’ve never told anybody this before, I was sort of crying and I said to David Lynch, “I have a feeling we’re never going to come back here.” He said, “Don’t ever say that, Lucy. Got to be positive! We’ll be back. Yes, we’ll be back.” And we were back, but a long time later. Long time.
GT: It paid off, being positive. You got the call!
KR: Yes, I was taking a nap with my dog, Zeke, and at that time I had a rather high sleigh bed in the corner of the room. The phone rang and it was Sabrina Sutherland and she said, “Are you busy?” and I said, “No,” and she said, “Do you have a minute to talk to David Lynch?” and I said, “I sure do!” He came on and said, “Lucy, we’re getting the show back together.” He asked me if I’d be interested in doing it and said that it’s actually happening and this was just out of the blue to me. And we were talking, maybe for 15 minutes, and then I hung up and I just opened my eyes and I was under the bed. Somehow, during that conversation, I had flipped off the bed, which was high, and I had wiggled my way under it. When I opened my eyes I was looking up at the mattress, the bottom of the mattress. So, it was very strange. Then later, in a few days, I was taking a shower and Dana [Ashbrook, who plays Bobby Briggs] texted me and said, “Congratulations, I hear David Lynch called you and asked you to be in the show” and blah, blah, blah, “do you think I’m going to be in it too?” I wrote back, “Absolutely, positively yes. You can’t have Twin Peaks without Bobby Briggs, Dana.” And he wrote back and said, “Do you think?” and I said, “I know, don’t worry.”
GT: Be positive.
KR: Well, that’s just a given. Absolutely. No doubt, in my mind, not to have Bobby. You know, it was he and I that wished for the show in 1988, did you know about that?
KR: Yeah, it was between Christmas and New Year’s, and Dana and I and a friend went to the Tiki-Ti in Hollywood. Do you know the Tiki-Ti? That old 60s Polynesian bar on Sunset Boulevard?
KR: Okay, we were sitting at the bar and we decided to make a toast for the New Year and Dana said, “You know what? I’m just tired of doing all these little things here and there. I want a steady job, I want a series this year.” And I said, “Good thinking, so do I. And I don’t want any series, I want a series that will change television forever.” And we toasted, and in a month we were both together in a van, the company van they let us borrow, riding around Seattle, or Belleview, and we got the van stuck in a parking structure because it was too high and we had to let the air out of the tires. We were shooting Twin Peaks. And then six months later I saw a magazine—and I still have this magazine, it was called Connoisseur, and it wasn’t about cooking, nobody talked about cooking back in 1989—but it had David Lynch on the cover and it said “Twin Peaks, the series that will change television forever.” I swear, it was exactly what I said in our toast. Isn’t that something?
GT: That is brilliant.
KR: It’s just a miracle, the whole thing. When we were getting ready to shoot the scene where I shoot Bad Cooper, so it was in the conference room, David Lynch called me over and was going to talk to me about something, and something was happening so he had to wait for a minute, and while he was waiting he said, “What do you think of this, Lucy?” And I said, “I think this is a fucking miracle. That’s what I think.” And he said, “You’re right. It’s a fucking miracle.” And he said to everyone, “This is a fucking miracle.” It was really cute.
GT: It is. And I’m so happy the miracle happened.
KR: Me too. ‘Cause I think somehow when you watch it, it magically makes you feel better. That’s something, to make everyone feel better.
The Official Twin Peaks UK Festival 2018 runs this weekend at the London Irish Centre in Camden and the Camden Square Gardens on September 29 & 30. Book your tickets here