OK, so this is definitely an interesting way to get a director’s attention. With the premiere of TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN on Showtime this past Sunday, the once zeitgeist, cutting-edge show that lasted 2 seasons on ABC some 27 years ago, is back in pop cultural conversation.
Joan Chen was part of the original ensemble, playing the beautiful, young widow Josie Packard, who inherited her late husband’s factory and other businesses. She was in a battle with her sister-in-law for power and eventually find out that Josie was your classic black widow, was a former prostitute who bedded rich, white men and orchestrated the death of her husband, under the employ of another lover, who was a business rival. Oh, and she also had an affair with the town’s sheriff too.
In the middle of the second season, Joan Chen wanted out of her contract to pursue other roles, so the producers eventually killed her off. But, this being TWIN PEAKS, it wasn’t a conventional way to die. No, instead, she died from fear, right in front of her lover, Sheriff Truman and Agent Dale Cooper (most likely sucked out of her body by an evil spirit named Bob). As a weeping Truman cradles Josie’s lifeless body, the camera pans down to the bedside drawer and then slowly zooms into the drawer knob where Josie’s face appears and then with some earl ‘90s special effects, we see her anguished face embedded in the drawer knob, screaming in pain.
Yes, that really happened. And we never saw Josie again, nor the series soon after, when it was eventually cancelled by the network.
But, 27 years later, TWIN PEAKS is back and it seems Joan Chen wants back in… Or it could be a tongue-in-cheek form of performance art. Chen wrote a letter, in the voice of her character Josie, and addressed it to TWIN PEAKS co-creator David Lynch.
In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, the inspiration for the letter came to her after an encounter with a fan in a mall:
”I was wandering in the aisles of American Apparel, waiting for my daughter to get done in the fitting room, when a young shop girl approached me and asked, ‘Are you Josie in Twin Peaks?'” Chen tells The Hollywood Reporter over e-mail, recounting the origin story of her current Josie swan song. “I was quite shocked that she had seen Twin Peaks and could actually recognize me with my unadorned face decades after I appeared in the show. That was around the time when Twin Peaks was set to be revived. I thought it would be fun to write David as Josie’s spirit. I was sure that it would bring a smile to his face.”
THR, in an exclusive, published the letter in their article. Read it below:
I hope this is just in jest. I personally love Joan Chen and her work (she’s awesome in Netflix’s MARCO POLO), but homegirl has to know the reality that the new TWIN PEAKS series is already in the can and was shot 2 years ago. Or maybe this is a Hail Mary pass to see if she would be considered for a return if the series does get renewed.
Either way, the letter is at least well written. However, my only gripe is that Josie Packard never had a twin. Unless, she’s referring to Judy whom Phillip Jeffries was trying to reach in TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. Wait-a-sec…