If you watch the late night talk shows, one thing you tend to notice is that while they love to have celebrities as guests, it's not often that they actually invite directors to appear on the programs. This is particularly true if you're a filmmaker with a reputation for making "quirky" or "artsy" films -- which is why it's such a rare treat to be able to go back and find two clips from early '90s episodes of Late Night with David Letterman featuring appearances from two directors who many fans like me can't get enough of: David Cronenberg and David Lynch.
Cronenberg made his Late Night appearance back in 1992 as part of the promotional tour for the Canadian director's latest project -- the adaptation of William Burroughs' novel, Naked Lunch. Cronenberg is fun and engaging in the nearly five minute long segment, bantering with Letterman, talking about how it's not nearly as much fun to make special effects-driven films as most people assume, and sharing quite a bit about William Burroughs. Letterman does his usual cornball shtick, but Cronenberg never lets it knock him off his game. You come away from the segment reminded of how damn smart and interesting the guy is.
The segment wraps with a minute or so of footage from Naked Lunch -- footage that probably had most of the audience scratching their head in befuddlement. That alone is almost worth the price of admission.
Jump past the break to view both clips and read about David Lynch's chat with Dave.
Next up, is a 1991 interview segment with the always entertaining David Lynch. Lynch and Letterman spend almost seven minutes gabbing, and it's really good. Lynch is adorable -- looking like he just wandered onto the set from Middle America circa 1955 as usual. Naturally, he spends a lot of time talking about Twin Peaks. The director is uncommonly candid, explaining that while the show started off as a ratings darling, by this time it was losing viewers at an alarming rate. In an oddly prophetic moment, Lynch talks about how he'd love for the show to have a long run on the air, but if it ended early and became an enduring classic, he'd be okay with that too. The latter is basically what happened.
One particularly interesting tidbit for the filmmaker's fans is Lynch discussing the long delayed (still to this day ... ) movie Ronnie Rocket. He doesn't offer up any new info when it comes up -- just stating that Twin Peaks' Michael Anderson will play the lead, and that the film is about "the absurd mystery of the strange forces of existence." But of course!
And is it just me or does Letterman appear like even more of a doofus than usual next to these guys? Ugh. Watch these two fascinating filmmakers in the clips below.