17 Eccentric Facts About David Lynch, Hollywood's Most Willful Weirdo
Would it surprise you to find out that the same twisted mind that brought audiences the disturbing mutant reptile baby in Eraserhead also just happens to be an extremely delightful man who loves a sugar rush so much that he had a chocolate milkshake at Bob’s Big Boy every day for seven years? Of all the eccentric indie auteurs out there, David Lynch is certainly one of the strangest directors out there. These eccentric David Lynch facts prove that there is even more to the crazy-haired weirdo than you'd expect.
Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks are just a few of the many lauded projects in David Lynch’s stunningly brilliant filmography. He writes and directs films and television shows that are surreal in nature, replete with ambiguous meanings. His aim is usually to disturb the audience. Since his feature length directorial debut in 1977 with Eraserhead, weird stories about David Lynch have become the stuff of Hollywood legend. He's like a (slightly) less crazy Marlon Brando.
Learn about Lynch's many obsessions, how he dealt with his extreme anger issues, which form of social media he loves the most, and more in the list below. It's about to get all sorts of Lynchian up in here.
While Filming Eraserhead, Lynch Supported Himself With A Paper RouteVideo: YouTube
The American Film Institute (AFI) partially funded Lynch's directorial debut Eraserhead. However, the project wound up in the principle photography stage for several years, during which time the fund ran out of money.
In addition to receiving donations from his childhood friend Jack Fisk and his wife Sissy Spacek, Lynch needed to get a job as a paper boy delivering newspapers for The Wall Street Journal in order to make ends meet. Lynch would work with his crew filming Eraserhead at night and then deliver papers during the day.
He Never Auditions ActorsPhoto: Universal Pictures
Casting actors, especially unknown ones, can be a laborious process. Often an actor will have to come in several times to run lines or perhaps even do a chemistry read with a co-star. David Lynch just skips the headache and straight-up never auditions actors. Instead he selects them based on their head shots, without even taking a look at their past credits.
Alongside casting director Johanna Ray, who has been with Lynch for every project since Blue Velvet except The Straight Story, Lynch primarily selects an actor for a role based on their looks. He then goes to personality, he's not even interested in actors who want to prove to him that they can act.
For example, Lynch cast both his femme fatales for Mulholland Drive, Naomi Watts and Laura Harring, based entirely on their head shots and informal interviews. Mary Sweeney, Lynch's editor, ex-wife, and producer says, "David doesn’t think about actors while he’s writing his characters. When he looks at an actor’s picture, he gets a feeling, and it needs to match his feeling about the character.”
He Ate At Bob's Big Boy Every Day For Seven Years
David Lynch is a man who likes to follow routine. The sugary chocolate milkshake from the burger chain Bob's Big Boy, which was founded in Southern California in 1936, became a seven year habit. He explained how the abundance of sugar sparked his creative side:
"I like things to be orderly. For seven years I ate at Bob's Big Boy. I would go at 2:30, after the lunch rush. I ate a chocolate shake and four, five, six, seven cups of coffee - with lots of sugar. And there's lots of sugar in that chocolate shake. It's a thick shake. In a silver goblet. I would get a rush from all this sugar, and I would get so many ideas! I would write them on these napkins. It was like I had a desk with paper. All I had to do was remember to bring my pen, but a waitress would give me one if I remembered to return it at the end of my stay. I got a lot of ideas at Bob's."
His Extreme Anger Inspired Him To Write A Comic StripPhoto: David Lynch / Wikimedia Commons
David Lynch had a tremendous issue with anger when he was younger. In order to deal with his rage, he began practicing meditation, which ultimately eliminated his problem. However, the memory of his anger inspired Lynch to write and draw a comic strip called The Angriest Dog in the World. He explained, "The memory of the anger — is what does the Angriest Dog. Not the actual anger, anymore. It’s sort of a bitter attitude toward life. I don’t know where my anger came from, and I don’t know where it went."
The comic strip ran in the L.A. Reader among other publications from 1983 to 1992. It was always introduced with this passage:
"The dog who is so angry he cannot move. He cannot eat. He cannot sleep. He can just barely growl. Bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor martis."
Lynch Wants to Raise $7 Billion In Order To Open Peace Universities Around The World That Teach Transcendental MeditationPhoto: Jdontfight / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
If you've ever seen a David Lynch film, you would probably have a hard time believing that the man responsible for providing audiences with the horrifying, disturbing image of the mutant reptile baby from Eraserhead is the same person who wants to bring peace and inner-harmony to everyone in the world. In the 1970s, Lynch suffered from intense depression and extreme anxiety. He said he felt like: "a suffocating rubber clown suit of negativity."
After the Beatles came back from a trip to India in 1968, when they visited with the famous guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Lynch's sister told her brother that he should learn about transcendental meditation. TM is a meditation technique where a practitioner repeats mantras with the goal of achieving inner-peace and wellness. Lynch listened to his sister's advice, and from the first time he meditated, it immediately changed his life. Since then, Lynch says that he has mediated twice a day for over 40 years and has never missed a single day. That's pretty intense, even considering how many celebrities meditate.
Lynch wants to bring TM to schools around the globe in order to reduce stress. In the past, the David Lynch Foundation has sponsored meditation programs for children as far away as Congo and the West Bank. Lynch's goal is to raise $7 billion to open up seven different "peace palaces" around the world where thousands of TM practitioners would live, eat, sleep, and meditate around the clock.
David Lynch Is A Man Of Many ObsessionsVideo: YouTube
David Lynch doesn't seem to have the kind of personality that lends itself to casual hobbies, instead he is a man consumed by his obsessions. Before he became an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, Lynch trained as a painter. He continues to be a prolific visual artist, in fact. It shouldn't be a surprise to hear that his work on canvas is similar to his imagery on celluloid. "If you're a fan of Lynch’s films you won’t be surprised by his remarkable ability to turn a banal scenario or simple drawing into a warped nightmarish vision," art writer Priscilla Frank said of a David Lynch Los Angeles art exhibit in 2013.
Lynch is also obsessed with the weather. For a stretch during the mid-2000s, Lynch would post a daily weather report for Los Angeles, where he lives, on his personal YouTube channel and website. His daily reports, typically under 30 seconds, would feature the director stating the date, looking out of the window, describing the weather, and giving the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.
The auteur is also an accomplished musician who has completed several of his own albums spanning many different genres. Lynch has also collaborated with many different artists. Additionally, he wrote the score for several of his own film projects, including Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and Mulholland Drive.