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David Lynch: The Art Life
David Lynch: The Art LifeCourtesy of Duck Diver Films

Wisteria: debunking the myths surrounding David Lynch’s ‘new film’

A fresh wave of speculation about the Twin Peaks filmmaker’s new project has gripped the internet, but the rumours are not what they seem

Nine months ago, David Lynch stopped uploading to his much-loved YouTube channel, David Lynch Theater – AKA the lifeline that kept many of us going throughout pandemic lockdowns, with daily weather reports, DIY tutorials, and existential musings on finding the right pair of pants. At first, many fans feared the worst. “I am getting a bit worried,” read the comments on his last video. “Hope you’re ok Mr Lynch.” “Miss u David.” 

Amid all the anxiety about Lynch’s wellbeing, though, a mysterious project codenamed Wisteria or Unrecorded Night popped up again and again. This project was first rumoured in 2020, via an issue of Production Weekly that listed it as an upcoming Netflix series (following his surreal noir short for the streaming company, What Would Jack Do?). Two years later, the prospect that he was hard at work on a new show, and simply didn’t have time to maintain a regular YouTube upload schedule, was like a ray of golden sunshine, all along the way.

This speculation was only stoked by frequent Lynch collaborators Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern, who – prior to the Blue Velvet filmmaker’s disappearance from the world wide web – dropped hints that a new masterpiece was in the works. On March 31, MacLachlan posted a cryptic photo of some flowers to Instagram, tagged... you guessed it, #wisteria. Then, two months later, Dern seemed to offer more concrete confirmation, teasing in an interview that “fans should expect more and more radical, boundary-less art from David Lynch”.

Unfortunately, we’ve not had many more details since then, besides a quickly-debunked myth that a new Lynch project would premiere at Cannes 2022, and a few rumours bandied about by his filmmaker friends. (Thanks to a couple of rare interviews, we also got confirmation that he is, in fact, still alive. Phew.) Then, yesterday, what seemed like a bombshell announcement dropped. A project called Wisteria was set to start filming this week in Canada, said a small production listing, which also included a summary of the project: “A couple’s love is tested by the boundaries of death when they are both reborn into new lives and struggle to reunite once again.”

If that doesn’t sound much like the meandering Lynch plots we’ve come to know and love, that’s probably because... it’s actually not his at all. Despite much excitement on Film Twitter and Twin Peaks fansites, the listing was quickly shot down by sceptics, who pointed out an identically-titled project that’s currently in pre-production, with no apparent links to Lynch. The inclusion of a casting director named Larissa Mair also cast significant doubts, since Lynch has worked closely with Johanna Ray from 1986’s Blue Velvet, all the way up to Twin Peaks: The Return. On IMDb, Ray is also credited for the upcoming project Unrecorded Night.

All the evidence, then, points toward this being a different Wisteria. On the plus side, this could mean that Lynch’s project is already done and dusted, as speculated by his more optimistic fans. Either way, the flurry of excitement at any mention of Wisteria tells us one thing: fans are ravenous for David Lynch’s return, and when whatever he’s been cooking up does finally arrive, they’re ready to descend on it like a slice of hot cherry pie.

In the meantime, may I recommend this clip of David Lynch publicly humiliating Russell Brand?

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