So he becomes a “recording” like Richard Green’s Magician at Club Silenco.
Totally! As a result of that, some interesting ideas came, such as the theatrical moment of the two hands opening the curtain. It caused the sequence to become more in line with the vibe of the film. We scheduled Sid’s green screen shoot for a month later, and the day before, he had another seizure and went back to the hospital. At that point, I was heartbroken. Kerry took me aside and said, “If that happens again, we’re going to have to find somebody else,” and just as Justin Theroux is told, “This is the girl,” in “Mulholland Dr.”, I was like , ‘No, this is the guy!’ [laughs] Thankfully, the third time, everything went great. I love him so much and he’s really proud to be in the film.
You illustrate how these different works of cinema can be in conversation with one another even without their own creators being aware of it. I was reminded of my favorite paper that I wrote in college which compared Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” Robert Altman’s “3 Women” and David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.”
Oh perfect! Lynch is the man behind the curtain, or the elephant in the room—he’s kind of both. This idea of the unconscious and this kind of quasi esoteric idea that films are sort of living organisms in a way, that they find their way into the culture whether we want them to or not, and that if there is something that needs to be expressed , they will find the right people to tell that particular story, manifests itself in “Memory: The Origin of ‘Alien.’” It’s completely about that particular sort of journey and serendipity. Mythology finds a way to come back and express certain ideas in culture at times when we need to hear it. I’m not suggesting that a movie or a story is a living, breathing organism, or that the Furies of Greek mythology are actual monsters, but in a way, they are because they are a part of us.
The collective psyche evolves and changes. It’s the reason why a film shows up at a certain time, and then for seemingly no rhyme or reason, everybody goes to see it, talks about it, and it hits this major chord. That’s not necessarily because the film is one that people want to see at that particular time. In the case of “Alien,” it was the movie that people needed to see in 1979, but it was also four decades ahead of its time. In the case of “Psycho,” the idea had been boiling that the ’50s were over, and the moment of Mother ripping the curtain open essentially announces, “Welcome to the ’60s! We’re not pretending anymore, we’re in a different world now.” So people freaked out in part out of recognition that this film was telling them the truth, and that’s why it resonates.