David Lynch

Mulholland Drive

Interviewed by James Mottram

The film was originally a pilot for a TV series. How did you feel when ABC rejected it?

Not depressed. A setback can be an opportunity. What's most disturbing is to have a project that is stopped before it's finished. When I was working on "Eraserhead", there were times when I never knew if it was going to get finished. I even wanted to build a small Henry Spencer and stop-motion him through small cardboard sets to finish it. Fortunately I didn't have to do that. When I got the opportunity to make "Mulholland Drive" into a feature, it was beautiful.

What do you like about the city of LA so much?

I love LA for the light and the feeling of creative freedom. There's smog, but it's not a stifling atmosphere. There are plenty of problems, but it must have to do with the light. It's not always a euphoric feeling, but a feeling that anything goes. The city is crazy and always changing.

Why do audiences lap up stories about lost innocence?

We enjoy seeing nice people tempted into some strange things that test them. This is the thing in stories - it has to grow out of a character and situations, and in a continuing story, not knowing where we're going is thrilling. Seeing and discovering the way is the thrilling part. That's why I liked the idea of TV, to go on a continuing who-knows-where story. I let the events talk to me and ideas come.

Where do you get your ideas from?

They're not my ideas. That's the weird thing. They come from some place else. I feel it more strongly all the time. I think they exist somewhere, and then come to us. So I'm shocked maybe by the ideas, but I see them as a gift.

"Mulholland Drive" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 4th January 2002.