“It’ll be just like in the movies. Pretending to be somebody else.” – Naomi Watts, Betty, Mulholland Drive.
A recently discovered behind-the-scenes clip of David Lynch masterpiece Mulholland Drive has unearthed the perfect example of an acting masterclass by the brilliant Naomi Watts.
The film, a 2001 neo-noir mystery written and directed by Lynch, is regarded by many as one of the best modern cinematic pictures. Starring Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux and more, Mulholland Drive tells the story of an aspiring actress newly arrived in Los Angeles who meets a woman with memory loss after wandering away physically unharmed by a car accident.
Filmed predominantly in 1999 with the initial plan of forming a television series, Lynch suffered a setback when a number of high-profile TV executives rejected the initial pilot. However, this distraction pushed Lynch to take his plans a step further, developing a set ending to the project and thus transforming it into an ambitious feature film.
“I remember David walking on the set, and seeing that the bed cover was white, and shouting, ‘Can we get some mood in here?'” Laura Harring once said in an interview with Another Mag. “One day, I was wearing a flower in this pinstripe Gucci suit I had on and he said, ‘Laura, stay right there! Remind me of this moment,'” she added.
The film is shrouded in mystery with never-ending theories around the symbolism or meaning of the film. Typically, Lynch has never allowed himself to be drawn into these conversations, leaving the debate to be open-ended and left to the viewer’s own interpretation. “One night, I sat down, the ideas came in, and it was a most beautiful experience,” Lynch once said. “Everything was seen from a different angle… Now, looking back, I see that [the film] always wanted to be this way.”
Now, with a glimpse behind the scenes of the project, a new clip details the spellbinding performance of Watts as she is challenged to act without speaking by Lynch, who, in turn, becomes intoxicated by her performance.
Depicting a character who is in the midst of a personal crisis, Watts goes from wide-eyed, shocked to emotional turmoil within minutes.
See the performance, below.