David Lynch Explains Phillip Jeffries Is Not A Tea Kettle And Why We Didn’t Hear David Bowie’s Voice

David Bowie / Phillip Jeffries in Twin Peaks Season 3

David Lynch absolutely wanted David Bowie back in the new Twin Peaks, the director confirms in an interview with Pitchfork. When the singer declined, his people would not explain why he couldn’t do it. Bowie did permit the use of footage from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, but only under one condition: it would have to be without his voice.

“I think someone must have made him feel bad about his Louisiana accent in Fire Walk With Me, but I think it’s so beautiful. He wanted to have it done by a legitimate actor from Louisiana, so that’s what we had to do. The guy did a great job.”

“The guy” is voice actor Nathan Frizzell. “Intimidating shoes to fill, so I just did the best I could to honor Bowie. I probably watched the old Bowie footage twenty times on the day of filming alone,” Nathan tells Welcome to Twin Peaks. “Being from New Orleans, my agent asked me to send some samples in. Then there were a few more rounds of recording stories followed by dialogue and then right as I was convincing myself they’d cast someone else- they not only told me I had the job, but exactly what it was, which of course, blew my mind.”

David Lynch never told David Bowie about the alternative form he came up with for Phillip Jeffries, which —for the record— is not a tea kettle.

“I sculpted that part of the machine that has that tea kettle spout thing,” David Lynch tells Pitchfork, “but I wish I’d just made it straight, because everybody thinks it’s a tea kettle. It’s just a machine.

A tin machine?

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Written by Pieter Dom

Founder and curator of Welcome to Twin Peaks since 2011. Bobsessed since March 1991.


Share your thoughts
  1. It always looked to me more like a vaporizer. The basic shape of it is obviously related to the bell like shapes that are associated with the Fireman and the White Lodge. Those reminded me of old electrical insulators. None of them, the one containing Jeffries or the others, looked like any tea kettle I ever had.

  2. It’s a percolator with a fish inside. “It’s slippery in here,” Jeffries says. Remember how in the pilot, Pete Martell accidentally served Coop coffee from a percolator he accidentally put a fish inside while cleaning it?

  3. The bell / kettle machines remind me a bit of Die Glocke – time machine weapons that the Germans were reputedly developing during the war. With mention of Wernher von Braun and the USA rocket program in The Secret History of Twin Peaks book, I was wondering if that was an influence.
    I wish that Jeffries and the Arm were represented in TPTR as shadow beings brimming with electricity, I was a bit disappointed as to how they had evolved.

    • Yup. The first version of this machine shown in season 3, in the giant’s lodgings, is nearly exactly like an illustration of the supposed Die Glocke that’s been around for years. A massive row of them is shown in a later scene in the Muave Zone, behind what appears to be a window in a corner of something I can’t quite remember, as if The Lodge uses them on an industrial scale, kind of like a power generating plant filled with dynamos. My guess is that these are supposed to be machines that the Lodge inhabitants use to bend time and space. So it makes sense that Jeffries is inside one when he sends Cooper back in time to “save” Laura. Reminds me of the space-bending done in Lynch’s other production, Dune.

    • “master of the interpretive”

      Oh my, Lynch-boys want so desperately to be pretentious intellectuals. Unfortunately, 99.9% of them can’t even think their way through a single sentence without getting tongue-tied and confused. “Master of the interpretive” — this term reeks of desperation.

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