We Have Mel Brooks To Thank For Giving Us David Lynch
When he isn't acting in Spielberg movies in exchange for Cheetos, David Lynch likes making perplexing and weirdly touching films that always have something transcendental to say about the human condition. What that something is, we might never know, but still, the message is there. And if you've ever had your brain blown wide open by a Lynch movie or show, here's your reminder that we owe it all to the guy who once made a Star Wars parody in which lightsabers look like laser dongs. (That's Mel Brooks, for those of you who aren't into arthouse films.)
While Lynch's first movie, Eraserhead, is considered a classic now, the general reaction when it came out was, "Wha?"
Still, the movie had its fans, including a man named Stuart Cornfeld, who happened to be friends with Mel Brooks. At the time (the late '70s), Brooks was working as a producer on a script about a severely deformed man in 19th-century England, which he received via a babysitter -- a situation we'd now call "Lynchian," but there was no such term back then, so they'd just say "weird as hell."
Anyway, while Brooks was looking for a director for that script, Cornfeld recommended this Lynch kid and insisted on showing him Eraserhead. When Lynch heard that he was up for directing a movie with an actual Hollywood legend as producer and that producer was watching Eraserhead, he was like, "Whelp, that's it, I'm screwed." He expected Brooks to hate the movie. Instead, Brooks came out of the theater, rushed over to hug Lynch, and said, "You're a madman, I love you."
Brooks, meanwhile, has said that he was surprised to find out that Lynch was not some sort of bizarre creature from the edges of reality but just a polite Midwestern kid with a completely buttoned-up shirt. Unfortunately, a buttoned-up shirt isn't enough to combat the chilly morning weather in London, where the movie was shot, so Brooks sent someone to a department store to buy Lynch a coat. That must have been a damn fine coat because Lynch hung on to it and pulled it out for Brooks' Life Achievement Award ceremony in 2013.
In case you hadn't picked it up by now, the movie we've been talking about is The Elephant Man, the critical and box office hit that really put Lynch on the map and got him incredible opportunities like being offered Return of the Jedi (which he turned down) or Dune (which he, unfortunately, didn't).
As for Brooks, he believed in the project so much that, despite being there on set every day, he asked not to be listed as producer so that people wouldn't come in expecting fart jokes and Hitler-themed musical numbers. In short, if it wasn't for Mel Brooks, David Lynch wouldn't have a film career; instead, he'd probably have a YouTube channel where he describes the weather and picks random numbers-- oh, wait, he has that now. But still, thanks so much, Mr. Brooks.
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