There’s reason to believe David Bowie could make a ‘Twin Peaks’ cameo
David Bowie in "Fire Walk With Me"
Maybe this is harmless wishful thinking, and more likely it’s utter hogwash, but I am still holding out hope that David Bowie might just show up for that second Twin Peaks cameo after all.
Bowie played FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in a brief, mostly nonsensical appearance in the 1992 prequel film Fire Walk With Me. Though that two- to three-minute sequence seemed inconsequential at the time, his character has already been referenced multiple times — and presumed alive! — in Twin Peaks: The Return.
Though Bowie died in January of 2016, the timeline of David Lynch’s eight-month production is compatible with this faint hope of mine. (Showtime, for its part, had no comment.)
It all started with Harry Goaz — the character actor who plays the hapless Deputy Andy Brennan — who told the Dallas Morning News that Bowie had been scheduled for a day on set, but was unable to make it. That could be for any number of reasons; Bowie kept his illness a secret to most, so it’s possible he was too ill to film that day.
But he could also have been simply too busy. In his final days, Bowie was recording and racing to finish his album Blackstar, the kind of a project that requires at least as much stamina as a light day of shooting. If he could do one, he could reasonably do the another — and Bowie proved to be nothing if not a completist.
For his friend David Lynch he could have found another, more optimal time.
As for that timeline: Twin Peaks: Revisited was shot over eight months, starting in September 2015 and wrapping by April 2016. Bowie was alive for the first five of those months, ample time to get Lynch whatever he needed to make an appearance work.
And Lynch had already scrambled to get Catherine Coulson’s scenes shot before her battle with cancer made that impossible. The Log Lady died in in September 2015, just as production was starting, and four months before Bowie.
Kyle Maclachlan, David Bowie, Miguel Ferrer in ‘Fire Walk With Me’
Let’s look at the log
The strongest signals that this could happen are coming from Twin Peaks: The Return itself, which has been liberally referencing Jeffries in two of its four episodes.
At the end of Episode 2, Bob Cooper (what I shall henceforth call Agent Dale Cooper’s evil doppleganger under Bob’s thrall), has just committed a disturbing and violent crime. He goes into another room where an open suitcase of communications equipment is waiting to be used, establishes a connection, and begins a conversation.
Cooper thinks it’s Phillip Jeffries — and carries on as if it were. But at some point Jeffries says something that Bob Cooper begins to question. Is it what he said? His voice? Bob Cooper is suddenly suspicious and asks: "This is Phillip Jeffries, isn’t it?"
The conversation ends without clarity — but we’re left feeling that was not Jeffries. And whoever the voice was, it certainly wasn’t Bowie’s.
In fact, Bowie affected a high-pitched Southern drawl for his Jeffries voice — get your head around that for a minute — that distinctly had Bowie’s undertones. The voice Bob Cooper was suitcase-Skyping with was distinctly a New York City accent, and this was certainly not the Thin White Duke, who spent nearly all of his Fire Walk With Me appearance screeching gibberish at Gordon Cole about where he’d spent his lost time.
Then in the fourth episode — the last of what we’ve seen so far — Jeffries comes up again in the final scene, establishing a cliffhanger typical of Lynch.
Gordon Cole (still played by Lynch himself, of course) has traveled to the fictional Buckhorn. S.D., to speak with a man the FBI believes to be the long-lost Agent Cooper. But it’s his long-haired doppleganger, who now sits in a state penitentiary following a car accident.
Here, his old boss Gordon Cole is greeting him for the first time in 25 years — but there’s something wrong with Cooper’s voice and delivery. He recognizes Cole, but he is not himself.
"Where have you been all these years?" Cole asks.
"I’ve been working undercover all these years," Cooper replies. "Working primarily with our colleague Phillip Jeffries."
Cole is stunned.
"I need to be debriefed by you about his work, Gordon," Cooper says in a strange monotone. "I will tell you the hole story, all its twists and turns."
Outside, Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Cole agree that something was off about Cooper in there. And that’s when Albert admits to Cooper that he’d been in touch with Jeffries some years ago.
"I authorized Phillip to get Cooper some information," he says — information that led to someone being killed.
Cole is flabbergasted. "Phillip’s been off the radar for years."
OK, OK. Wishful thinking all of this surely is. Right?
But if anyone could pull it off, it’d be the two Davids — Lynch and Bowie — both of whom know a thing or two about secrets and surprises.