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A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : LYNCHED : ‘Twin Peaks’ Meets ‘Eraserhead’ . . . (Well, Kind of)

Director David Lynch’s on-again, off-again feature film version of his cult TV series “Twin Peaks” is, well . . . on again. Kyle MacLachlan, who played the series’ central character, FBI Agent Dale Cooper, has dropped his reservations about the project and the movie is scheduled to start shooting in September.

The project, tentatively titled “twin peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” will feature all the regulars with the exception of Lara Flynn Boyle (MacLachlan’s real-life love interest, who played the slain Laura Palmer’s best friend on the show) and Sherilyn Fenn (another high school friend of Palmer’s). Both actresses reportedly had to bow out because of scheduling conflicts.

“Rather than negotiate for a later date, we decided to go on without them,” says Gaye Pope, unit publicist for Lynch/Frost, the director’s production company. “We might even have gone on without Kyle, rewriting the script, but his decision to do this makes a great deal of difference. We’re hoping that those fans loyal to the show (which has been canceled by ABC) will come to the theaters. Our thought is that there’s a built-in market there.”

Lynch will be directing the movie as the first in a three-picture deal with CIBY 2000, a French company that is co-producing and financing the film. Though no domestic distributor has been lined up, the film will be handled by Aaron Spelling’s Spelling International in Europe. Come spring, the director will plunge into CIBY project No. 2: “Ronnie Rocket,” details of which have not been revealed.

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First, however, is the re-release of Lynch’s first feature, 1978’s “Eraserhead,” by Miramax Films in late October. Described by the company as “an eerily erotic sci-fi parable of the responsibilities of parenthood,” the movie focuses on a man whose hair stands permanently on end in the shape of an eraser. After impregnating his girlfriend, he’s forced to marry her and becomes the father of a strange inhuman creature.

Why dredge up “Eraserhead” now? “There’s a lot of interest in David Lynch,” says Russell Schwartz, executive vice president of Miramax. “And we think it would be fun taking a cult classic which for years played only at midnight shows and turning it into a mainstream picture.” Lynch’s camp agrees. “Those people who are familiar with David are more in touch with ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Wild at Heart’ than with his earlier work,” observes Gaye Pope. “Bringing ‘Eraserhead’ out again for a whole new audience who’ve never seen it before is a great idea.”

Industry observers say it makes good commercial sense, as well. And not only because Lynch is a brand name these days or that, in an era of belt-tightening, re-release is one way of sidestepping an expensive production budget.

“It feeds the public’s hunger for ‘hip,’ ” one notes, “which, right now, is coming primarily from the black filmmakers. Gus Van Sant, the Coen Brothers, Jim Jarmusch and David Lynch contribute their one film a year, but anything out of the mainstream is an increasingly rare commodity in an industry that feeds on junk food.”

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