Jennifer Lynch: a new peak for the daughter of darkness

David Lynch made Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet. But his daughter tells Kaleem Aftab she prefers thrillers to the surreal

When I sit down to interview Jennifer Lynch, I immediately fess up that I haven't seen her 2010 film Hisss, which seemed to be another one of those many attempts to make a song and dance about trying to appeal to both Bollywood and Hollywood audiences and ended up appealing to neither. It was shot in India with an Indian and American cast.

“Don't see Hisss!” comes the startling reply. “It's not my movie. I shot it, but then they took it away, they cut it, edited it, scored it. It's not my movie.”

It's almost a cliché that directors will say that making movies is like being at war, or the movies they make are their children, yet both descriptions seem apt when hearing the director describe how the experience affected her: “I proceeded to go into a deep depression and put on 65lbs, she explains. ”And I cried a lot. It was probably the greatest loss I've ever experienced in my life. It felt like I was pregnant for nine months – I was in India for nine months shooting – and the minute it was about to be born, they ripped it from my body and now it's a Kardashian.“

All of a sudden some of the themes in her new film Chained make a lot more sense. The plot is ostensibly about a serial killer who kidnaps a young boy and then takes him under his wing and decides to given him an education in the dark arts of murder: anatomy and psychology classes are mixed with blood-curdling practical lessons. The serial killer takes the Hannibal Lecter approach to murder.

Yet beneath the narrative surface lies a story about the psychological effects of trauma, and the age-old argument of nature versus nurture.

Lynch was very careful about ensuring that Chained was not torture porn. “When I was first given the script, admittedly I was desperate for a job, this was almost two years after Hisss and I was in a terrible depression. The script sent to me by producers was more of what I would call torture porn and although the storyline fascinated me I couldn't figure out why they would send me torture porn.”

Lynch did a major rewrite. She made the film more about the psychological battle between the man and the boy, removed scenes in the original screenplay of breasts being cut off and many of the slow deaths. It became a story concerned with child abuse that refuses to be sanctimonious but that remembers that at heart it's still a horror movie.

If there is an agenda, Lynch says, “I want people to leave the theatre and be more aware of the people around them and be more concerned about their trauma. What's your damage? How do you handle that every day and what is your trauma? What choices do you make without realising it? I love to figure that stuff out. The closer you are to people the more you realise what has happened to them.”

The fascination with trauma and the results of childhood make one wonder what her own family life was like. Any one that has seen any of her father's macabre, surreal films such as Blue Velvet or Mulholland Drive would probably guess weird and unorthodox. “I tell you, to me my childhood wasn't weird as it was all I knew,” recalls Lynch. “I don't think if you asked any of my childhood friends they would say that I had a weird childhood, they might say there weren't a lot of regular rules, the conversations in the house were always very open, dreams were a great thing to talk about, everybody was making something all the time.”

There is a happiness in her tone as she whistles: “It was my mother's birthday one year and my dad and I covered the entire dining room table with dirt brought in from the yard and piled it about three-and-a-half feet high. We dug little tunnels and made clay figures sitting at the end of these tunnels. It stayed there for about two years and we loved it, it was all we could afford. We made her an art sculpture and that was what my childhood was like. It's not that it was weird, it was playful.”

There was much fanfare made about Lynch being the daughter of a famous director when her first film, Boxing Helena, came out in 1993. (She wrote the book The Secret Diaries of Laura Palmer to accompany her dad's ground-breaking TV series Twin Peaks). The reviews for Boxing Helena were terrible and then came a series of spinal injuries that followed complications during childbirth that had her fearing she would never walk again. It wasn't until 2008's Surveillance that she made her second film.

Today Lynch is back on her best form. She has blond dreadlocks that are fractured with dashes of pink. Her hair choice, she says, is a Samson-like sign of her happiness and well-being: “Years ago I had dreadlocks and I cut them off and then I thought, 'I'm starting to look like someone I'm not'. I love wearing my hair tight up the top and colouring it and playing with it and now I'm really easy to spot in a crowd. I'm 44 years old and I had to do something dumb. You always feel like you're dressed, you go for a pee at three in the morning and you look in the mirror and it screams 'ta-da'. It sort of lets people know what I'm like inside, I'm a friendly person and that's why people are shocked by the movies that I make.”

This infatuation with horror does seem surprising if you don't think about her heritage. Indeed ,she says in her early career producers were expecting her to make films like her father, but now “that thing where they think they are hiring my dad has stopped”.

She doesn't think that the films she has made, Boxing Helena, Surveillance and now Chained should necessarily be called horror films. They are more psychological thrillers. “I'm fascinated by things that I don't normally experience. My life is perfectly happy and giggly and I'm perfectly grateful every day if there are problems to have, the ones I have are the ones to have, I'm lucky. So I don't have cancer, I'm not living on the street. I have a beautiful daughter and a man I'm in love with who loves me. I may not be wealthy, I'm living from pay check to pay check but I get to make movies, which is what I love to do.”

So when it comes to writing scripts, and creating characters a lot of her ideas comes from imagining what she would do if she had another life.

“Surveillance was about what would I do if I was a serial killer, what would be the most exciting thing. That would be killing the FBI agents who are trailing me and dressing up as them. In the same way, for Chained I was that little boy on a cross-country trip”.

'Chained' is out on 1 February

This article appears in tomorrow's print edition of Radar Magazine

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower