Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky.
Over the phone from his Los Angeles office, David Lynch tells me, “It was all Harry Dean. I’d do anything for Harry Dean.”
The visionary director is referring to taking on an acting role in John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut, Lucky, which stars Harry Dean Stanton, and is largely based on autobiographical stories that the legendary actor’s had been known to tell. Stanton died Friday at the age of 91, after these interviews were conducted.
The film is set in a small desert town where aging loner Lucky (Stanton) meanders through the last days of his time on Earth, too preoccupied with his imminent death to connect with the townspeople. The script was written specifically for Stanton two years ago by his assistant/friend Logan Sparks, as well as Drago Sumonja.
“I dunno, it’s not me. It’s some character Logan dreamed up,” Stanton told me in our last interview.
Others disagreed with Stanton’s assessment.
“It’s the story of Harry Dean,” David Lynch stated plainly. “But it’s called Lucky.”
Stanton wasn’t convinced that the project – only his second-ever starring role in a feature film, after Paris, Texas (1984) – would come together. He had to be talked into playing the role of himself. Lynch, something a beloved character actor as well, understood Stanton’s hesitancy.
“As an actor in a similar position, people will tell you, ‘We wanna put you in this lead role,’ and you say, ‘Thank you’ and ‘That’s very nice’ and you never hear from them again,” John Carroll Lynch explains. Even as the filmmakers cast the movie with people eager to work with…
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