Despite an ample amount of time passing since she last shared some very cute “I love you”s with her soon-to-be husband Andy, things are the same as they ever were for Twin Peaks’ resident sheriff’s department receptionist Lucy Brennan. She’s still manning the front desk in a way only she possibly could, between her exasperated ramblings about technology and glorious normcore sense of style. As to whether she’ll actually be of help to Deputy Chief Hawk’s investigation into Agent Cooper’s disappearance — chocolate bunnies aside — well, we’ll just have to wait and see. Vulture recently rang up Kimmy Robertson, who plays Lucy, to discuss returning to the quirky northwestern town, the arrival of Wally Brando, and why we shouldn’t refer to Lucy as a ditz.
How did David inform you that the show would be coming back?
He called me and invited me. [Laughs.]
That’s nice. Sheryl Lee told me she only got it in an email, so you got the preferred communication.
Well, it’s hard to get a hold of Sheryl Lee, so that’s her fault. [Laughs.] I have to speak to her about that. Any time I want to call her, I have to send up smoke signals because I’m not sure which line is the one that’s working. She doesn’t use a cell phone and it’s all because she’s very busy.
Should I assume there was no hesitation on your end, and you immediately jumped at the chance to be in the wonderful world of Twin Peaks once again?
It was the smallest time measurement ever done so far, yes. The smallest unit of time.
When you got the call, how long was it until you started to film the series? Was it like, a preemptive call and then a year or two passed?
I think it was about … six months? That sounds about right. Wait a minute, no, that can’t be right. It was almost a year. Ten months to a year, I think. But it seemed like ten years.
What was the mood like for you when it was the first day back on set? Was it like no time had passed at all?
Well, when I pulled up to the sheriff station in the van and I got out, I started to freak out because it looked exactly the same, and I was in the exact same place, in the same sweater almost. Somebody had a hold of either one of my arms as we walked up the stairs, and I was like, “Guys, it wasn’t 127 years! It was only 20, and it’s because Mr. Lynch asked us to do this!” and they said, “Okay, whatever.” I don’t ever use that word, but I was like, “Whatever you want, yes.” And they opened the door and I stepped inside and I went, “Oh, that’s why,” because my knees buckled.
The station really does look the same. It’s incredible.
It was really emotional. Plus, there was David, there was everybody, Skip, the stand-in, all the crew. It was not just the place, it was everyone who was the same. Everyone was there that I loved.
While dozens of original cast members are also returning, you had the unique challenge of transitioning to having a brand new sheriff. What new dynamic do you think Robert Forster brings to the show that you didn’t get with Michael Ontkean?
Well, I think he brings the same kind of dynamic, you know, as somebody who David Lynch would pick. He brings that … you-get-what-you-see. As for the dynamic, I don’t know. I know he’s a heavyweight in the world of actors, so he brought the cool factor for me, but nobody is cooler on this planet than Michael Ontkean, and Robert Forster would be up there, too.
What exactly did David tell you in regards to Michael not returning?
I can’t say what I heard. I heard something, but I can’t say it.
The general consensus is that he just retired from acting and didn’t want to come back.
That’s one of the things that I heard, yes. That’s the one I’m allowed to say. All the other ones, the rumors, could be hearsay. I don’t know, I really don’t. I would talk to you about it, but I have no way of getting a hold of him so I can’t call him and see.
I loved that Lucy and Andy stayed together as a couple and married, which warmed my heart. How do you imagine their lives played out over the past 25 years?
Do you think she can still get a hold of those ping-pong paddles that lift the ball in the air? I haven’t seen those in storage for a long time. I know that’s what they did every night at home after work to relax; Andy played trumpet and Lucy played paddle. What did you ask me? How did they change? How they stayed together.
How their lives played out.
Well, I’m sure that they discuss everything at great length, and in a kind voice. I think what made them stay together was their kindness and their love for each other. So everything that happened to them in my mind, every single thing, was a quiet, love-filled, love festival! And they had quirky habits — I have a feeling she collects things besides sweaters.
I love her sweaters.
Someone told me that we can’t call them Cosby sweaters anymore, it’s no longer PC.
That is true, unfortunately. As Lucy and Andy are my favorite couple on the show, I wonder why you think they work so well together romantically?
I think Andy and I love each other. That’s one thing that shows. And we love working with each other. But again, the kindness — I like to think that they are like one of those couples in an old ‘30s movie.
They don’t have a mean bone in their bodies.
And earnest. Andy is so earnest. That’s the word for him.
Unlike some other returning characters we’ve seen so far, Lucy hasn’t changed much, career or personality wise, since the original series. Do you think this makes sense for her character, or do you wish she evolved a bit more beyond the “ditzy receptionist” role?
First of all, I don’t think … I mean, people may call her ditzy because of her thing with the cell phone and stuff. It’s called ditzy, but I think that she’s really on the ball with the sheriff. She’s one of those people that takes potato salad or a jello mold to the PTA meeting. She’s someone who does things correctly, the right way. When Lynch explained her to me many years ago, he said that she is absolutely not ditzy. I have no common sense whatsoever when it comes to men, but I’m not ditzy, either. So it’s just a label that I think people used for “different,” you know? I think that everybody in Twin Peaks is different. They’re the way the world really is, and most of them want to keep up with the Joneses because they’re afraid to be themselves. So … that’s kind of a rant on her. I do have to say no to your question. I love that she’s insane.
We also must discuss the presence of Wally Brando, which I think was one of the best TV casting decisions of all time with Michael Cera.
Wally Brando Brennan – Walter Brennan.
How was it to stand next to him while he rattled off this bizarrely amazing monologue? Was it hard not to break? I was just laughing hysterically for five minutes.
It was like we were doing it, you know? We were putting on energy for him as he talked so he could do it right, because that’s the kind of stuff we have. We’re being supportive as his mom and dad, and early on when we’re touching him, David said, “Don’t let go. Don’t let go. Don’t let go of Wally!” [Laughs.] So we knew he could do it. That’s the kind of acting that David can make people do, and it’s just so much fun. We had dinner first, and then makeup, and we shot it at nighttime.
I’d love to know what David told Michael, like, “You’re going to do a Marlon Brando impression, but it’s going to be mediocre at best. You’re just going to talk for five straight minutes.”
It was something like that, probably. I’m wondering that myself. I wasn’t there when he called and asked him. But I’m sure in his query, he was like, “Can you do me a favor and watch Wild One and have that hat?” We found the hat! [Laughs.]
What are you most looking forward to seeing unfold as the series continues throughout the summer? I can’t believe it’s an 18-part series.
I’m kind of excited because I don’t have the pressure of streaming, I don’t like sitting in one spot for hours. I hate it! I have to walk, or pace, or something. Streaming would not be okay with me.
It’s good to pace yourself.
Yeah, and take it all in, right? Let it soak in. Let your mind do what your mind’s job is, which is to think! We forget that sometimes. When you’re streaming, you’re not thinking as much. But if you see it one hour a week, or two at the most, can’t you comb through it better the whole week? Comb through all of it, like, over and over, and keep finding things? It becomes like a treasure hunt! You find treasure that way!
I was just talking with Sheryl yesterday, and she was like, “Don’t even try to digest the plot, just let it wash over you. It’s a work of art, everyone can get a different meaning from it.” And I was like, “That’s absolutely right. I’m just not going to overthink it anymore.”
Well, I like the overthinking. Again, I’m disagreeing with Sheryl Lee. We are both sides of the same coin, she and I. We are so much alike, it’s funny. If I had become the parent to a human, I would become exactly like her. But yeah, I like to examine and pull it apart and put it back together. It feels neat in my brain, it feels like I’m learning something.
Yeah. It’s an experience, that’s for sure.
I gotta call Sheryl Lee. You reminded me. Another thought occurred to me – wasn’t [the show] like stepping into heaven without having to die?
I couldn’t agree more.