Jesse Valencia speaks with the Twin Peaks and Z Nation actor, Jeremy Lindholm, who was recently charged with second-degree attempted murder.
On August 9th, 2017, I interviewed actor Jeremy Lindholm, wherein he described working with David Lynch, Harry Dean Stanton, and some of his recent experiences with fame after performing in a scene as the character of Mickey in this summer’s Twin Peaks: The Return.
Jeremy was the first actor I’ve ever interviewed. As an actor myself, it was interesting and fun to hear Jeremy’s stories working on the show, as I could just picture being in his shoes as he described the experience. I could tell, based on the way he spoke, that he truly loved the art and craft of acting. To work with living legends like David and Harry Dean? Incredible! And to hear the joy and pride in his voice, knowing he had done it, warmed me to the bone.
For myself and many like minds, Twin Peaks: The Return has been a timely escape from the swarm of Confederate statues, Antifa vs. Alt-Right street battles, Trump gaffes, seemingly endless violence, terrorism, and the ever-looming threat of nuclear holocaust, all of which has defined 2017.
When the interview was over, my mind was abuzz with inspiration and I eagerly awaited that Sunday’s episode to see if there were any new scenes with Jeremy’s Mickey, just in case there was something relevant in it for me to include in the article. You never know. This is David Lynch’s masterpiece we are talking about. The episode came. No Mickey.
Days later, Jeremy was arrested in Spokane, Washington, for hitting his girlfriend Kaylee Abbott over a dozen times with a baseball bat at her place of employment, the Hollywood Erotic Boutique. Apparently, he was upset because she did not go to the grocery store to get him Kool-Aid before she’d left for work.
According to reports, surveillance video was pulled from the Boutique showing Jeremy hitting her in the head and on her body with the bat more than a dozen times. He choked her. Flung her to the ground. Jumped on her. Landed his knees on her chest. Said he wanted to kill her. It was like a scene out of the show. Kaylee’s coworker Daniel Graves tried to stop him, himself a victim of domestic abuse, but ended up calling 911. When the cops arrived, Jeremy fled out the back door and was quickly caught. Later, he revealed that his original plan was not to hurt Kaylee, but to be shot by the police in front of her. Suicide-by-cop, in other words. Kaylee was then taken by ambulance to the hospital.
I was at work when I got the text from my roommate: “What was the name of the actor you interviewed from Twin Peaks? He is all over the news!” And he was. Everyone from People to TMZ reported on Jeremy’s arrest.
I was shocked. This man whom I’d spoken to just days earlier was now being charged with attempted second-degree murder, second-degree assault, and unlawful imprisonment-domestic violence.
As far as I knew, I was his first interview. He’d just landed this big break on what is destined to be one of the greatest cinematic experiences of our day and time, and then he goes and does this? I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t make sense.
As report after report came in, the feeling set in that this was real. What was to be done? Here I had this interview with an actor from my favorite television series ever, and the guy is locked away in the Spokane County Jail with his bail set at a hundred thousand dollars.
Then I had this bizarre thought, that maybe I had something to do with it somehow, like our interview had somehow triggered him. Sometimes articles take months to complete. But then I thought of the tens of thousands of Twin Peaks and David Lynch fans out there, and I remembered my reason for talking to Jeremy in the first place, and I remembered how I felt when I first finished talking with him, that it was my duty to report back to my fellow Peakies (a nickname for us Twin Peaks fans that some abhor but I am rather fond of) what I’d learned from Jeremy’s experience, no matter who he is or what he’s done.
Not that this excuses his actions, but Jeremy did not have the best of weeks after our talk. According to a Facebook post by his friend, independent filmmaker Allen James Teague, Jeremy had snapped after years of obscurity, financial hardship, and having to deal with Kaylee’s car tires being slashed, and his phone and computer stolen, on top of his newfound fame:
“…Shortly after episode 6 aired globally, Jeremy experienced an onslaught of kind words from people all over the planet. Where a couple people at a time would normally see his work in small independent projects made with friends, millions of people now knew his Mickey character. There had been no preparation for fame and there was no-one to talk with about it. Of his everyday friends, a few had earned some success but not in the arena that Jeremy was now standing alone in…”
I hope Jeremy gets help, that due justice is served, and that, horrors of the situation aside, the Twin Peaks and David Lynch fans of the world can enjoy this interview for what it’s worth. Please know that when Jeremy and I spoke on August 9th that it was a labor of love on both our parts. As for Jeremy’s future, it remains to be seen. But, as Special Agent Dale Cooper would suggest I do, I will keep my eye close to the case.
Jeremy Lindholm: Hello?
Jesse Valencia: Hello, Jeremy?
Jeremy Lindholm: This is he.
Jesse: Hi! It’s Jesse Valencia, with The Big Smoke.
Jeremy: Hey! How’s it going, man?
Good! I hope this is an alright time to call you?
This is a fine time.
All right! Awesome. I’ve got ten questions. That sound good?
That sounds perfect. Fire away!
I just did a little bit of research and I saw that you’re an actor with MAM Artists?
Yes, that’s the talent agency that represents me.
And you’re based in Spokane and you’ve been involved previously with Interplayers Theatre.
Yes, Interplayers and basically all the local community theatres and professional theatres out here in Spokane.
Were you a stage actor at first?
Primarily, that was basically all there was out here. I’ve wanted to be a TV and movie star my whole life, but that didn’t seem to be in the cards, but I couldn’t stop acting, so theatre it was, and theatre I love.
That’s good, though, because you actually love it. Did you do it in high school? Where’d you get started?
I’ve been doing this since I was 5 years old. My whole life I’ve been wanting to be an actor, and in fact even before kindergarten, I knew that’s what I wanted to be when I “grew up.”
When did you make the transition to film from the stage? Was that a more recent leap?
I’ve done little indie films and stuff going back to probably 1998, but nothing that was ever released or seen by anyone. So yeah, it’s been more recent that I’ve had credits of any sort that ended up anywhere, like Knights of Badassdom is on Netflix, and a couple other shows, and little short films I do around Spokane … my two main professional credits are basically Z Nation and Twin Peaks at this point.
Has the film scene been picking up speed in the Northwest?
Very much so, especially with Washington Filmworks, which you see on the end of all the credits of every Twin Peaks episode. That’s something I’m very involved in. Trying to get the tax credits and stuff here in Washington state, so that we can attract major productions and stuff. It was one of those things like, three years ago, when David Lynch was dropping out of the talks for Showtime, and before I was even cast, I was like, “We gotta make sure Twin Peaks comes back!” half-joking, but I was also serious, heading to Olympia every February to lobby for it.
You guys lobbied for it?
This is what I’ve been doing my whole life, but haven’t paid for it my whole life. It really started for me out here with Knights of Badassdom, which led right into Z Nation, and in Z Nation I’ve been a zombie in now for every year for four years, and done four seasons of that, and then Twin Peaks is kinda the icing on the cake, the amazing reward, and I hope that film continues in Washington state for a long time so I don’t have to move away from Spokane.
Were there people cast in the show whom you knew from being around in the film and theatre scene there in Washington?
There are a few, strangely enough. Lisa Coronado, who plays the young boy’s mother, the young boy who gets hit in the same part that I am, we’re in the same episode in Z Nation and we’ve worked together on a couple things. There’s that, but I knew more crew members behind the scenes, really, than I knew actors on the screen.
So, they hired local too for crew as well?
That’s super awesome. What was your audition for Twin Peaks like?
I got these mysterious messages from my agent that I had an audition for an “unknown television project,” but I had to sign all sorts of non-disclosure agreements before I could even audition, you know, and that’s pretty much, you know, right away … some people are saying they had no idea what they were filming for. I was like, “I know what’s being filmed in Washington State …” so I was all pumped up in the beginning, and then as soon as I got all my paperwork in order, I drove up to Bellevue, and on my way I stop in at North Bend, stopped at Twede’s Cafe, and got myself all caffeinated up, just in case, just kind of as a good luck charm. I don’t generally drink that much coffee, but I figured this was what I thought was going to be Twin Peaks …
You gotta have coffee in the bloodstream.
… Good call, yeah, so I come in, and there’s two nice ladies … Johanna Ray, and [Krista Husar], and a camera in a hotel room in Bellevue. And we didn’t talk about Twin Peaks, we didn’t read any lines, we didn’t do anything at all. They just sat and chatted with me for a half hour, and here I was all hyper and feeling good, and just made them laugh for about a half hour, and at the end they said, “Oh, we like you, we’re going to put a red star by your name,” and I was like, “Well, that sounds pretty good!” and I thanked them, and I walked off, and that was my audition. They mostly asked me kind of the same questions you did. They asked me about being a zombie, and I gave them my zombie impression.
So, it was more like they were just getting a feel for you out as a person …
They enjoyed my personality, I guess. I never did any lines. Never much about acting, except the zombie impersonation. At the time, again, between being a theatre actor, and most of my credits being either as an extra, or these little short films that I do for film festivals and stuff, I don’t know where [David Lynch] got a hold of me, where I was plucked out of, except for my agent and what not. When they found me, the only things I had up on my IMDB page and YouTube were these little videos, like “It’s A Meh Life,” these three-minute little comedy shorts that had 302 viewings, and it was crazy to think that one of them was David Lynch at one time.
Wow, how trippy. I’m imagining myself in your shoes and how much of a trip that must have been.
It was a huge trip, especially since I was such a big fan of the show from the beginning.
You knew of the show beforehand?
Oh yeah, oh yeah. I’m kind of a proto-goth film geek, you know, I was always kinda moody, kind of an inside kid, AV Club sort of person, watching horror movies and brooding. I remember watching Blue Velvet when I was 10.
That’s pretty early. [laughs]
It’s pretty early! Back when it was out on video, but I was pretty precocious, and I love the dark stuff. Twin Peaks has always been a part of my life. I didn’t see the very first run of the series. I had the soundtrack though, before I saw the show, and I saw Fire Walk with Me in the theatre. So, I had the music, then The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, and then Fire Walk with Me, all before I saw the series. Back then, this was ’91 or ’92, and I knew I had to see it all as one piece or it wouldn’t make any sense. Back then, they didn’t have the video cassette collection, so I had to wait for it. It was on Bravo or something late at night …
And you never thought 20 years later that you’d be continuing the legacy.
It was a little joke amongst me and some of my film friends about 15 years or so ago, when we were already kind of established as theatre actors out here, “They’re going to be returning to Twin Peaks in 15 years. All we have to do is be actors here!” Again, it was a joke, but it wasn’t really something we believed in.
Little did you know.
Little did I know, but when all the signs started coming together that he was going to film here, I worked for it. You better believe.
I definitely believe. I do acting as well, and funnily enough, Tom Sizemore that’s on the show … I live three hours from Phoenix. My friend Travis Mills that lived down there, he’s an independent filmmaker, and there’s hardly any film scene in Phoenix because Arizona doesn’t get the tax credit that New Mexico gets …
… People in L.A. skip over us, so we do our own thing here. We raised all this money to do this film Tom Sizemore is the lead in, Durant’s Never Closes, and Travis called me up to do this bit part, and I remember seeing Tom in Saving Private Ryan when I was 14 years old, and then here you are you see yourself on the screen. It’s surreal, so I empathize with that experience on that level.
Yeah, I’ve been seeing Harry Dean Stanton since I don’t know when, since Alien.
That’s what I was leading to! How was it like working with Harry Dean Stanton?
He’s a legend! An absolute legend. Again, I’ve known him, or of him, my whole life. The movies that jump to my head are Alien, Red Dawn, Repo Man…
Have you seen Paris, Texas?
I’ve seen Paris, Texas. I’ve seen them all. Well, not them all. That guy got his SAG card in like 1954? He’s in Cool Hand Luke. He’s in everything. The first thing he said to me … I walk up to him, me and David Lynch, and David’s bringing up the scene to him. Harry’s sitting there smoking a cigarette, being all grumpy and curmudgeon-y, as you can imagine, and he just kinda stares down at my shoes, does a long slow pull up taking me in, and he says, “What’s your middle name?” I’m like, “Fair enough. It’s Ricks!” I’d known his middle name my whole life, and he really is just a fascinating character. You start talking to him, and he’s still sharp as a whip, he’s got all his faculties there. Funny, nihilistic curmudgeon. You gotta take your philosophy to the dark side. If you can do that, you’ll chat up a storm and have a good time hanging out.
Now, with that then, with the unorthodox audition process, up until the point that you filmed, did you guys do rehearsals or did you memorize your lines and you just showed up on the day?
I memorized my lines and I just showed up on the day.
Did you go through it a couple times before you shot, or was it “let’s go for it”?
Mostly it was “just go for it.” I don’t know how the rest of the cast and crew got it, I got my lines roughly three weeks before I was to go shoot. My lines, a lot of them said “Mickey/Carl,” “Mickey/Carl,” “Mickey/Carl,” and I’m looking through them, and I’m reading the dialogue, and it’s like, “Huh, Trailer Park. Huh, Carl, talking about how old he is.” And then I am pretty sure I’ve got an idea of who that is, and quickly looked over at the Twin Peaks Wikipedia page, and I just start bouncing around all excited, but I can’t tell my mom or my family or my girlfriend, you know, “It looks like I’m going to be working with Harry Dean Stanton.”
Real top secret, right?
Totally top secret. So, I work on these lines, just burying myself in the work, I’m doing it again and again, trying everything I can, doing all my research, going back through David Lynch’s whole filmography, and paying attention to the cadence of the actors of his films, because they all have a certain style to their voice. I wanted to live in Twin Peaks, but make it my own, but sound like I belonged there. I worked and worked and worked on it, and right when we got into the Volkswagen bus, you’ll see if you look up the pictures of Harry and I behind the scenes, you’ll see that we’ve got our scripts in our lap. That’s not because we didn’t do our work and didn’t have our stuff memorized, but as soon as we got into the bus, and as Peter Deming is reaching his little measuring tape from my nose to the camera to make sure I’m in focus, David comes alongside and says [mimics David Lynch’s voice], “Hey guys, I know you’ve been working on that scene for a while, but let’s do a little something different,” and he begins hand-dictating an entire new four pages of script for us.
Oh, lord! [laughs] Great impression, by the way.
Harry’s like, “Aw fuck, David,” so I’m just like, “Oh fuck, David!”
That’s another piece of advice. One of the hardest things to do, if you’re working with David Lynch, try not to do your David Lynch impersonation.
Oh, no. It’s hard not to, right?
I never did it, but it was constantly in the back of my head, because if you’re at a dinner with a lot of people from Texas, and all the sudden the “y’alls” start coming in, and you just start feelin’ a little more genteel as you’re talking.
And everyone looks at you like, “What the fuck?”
But David Lynch sounds exactly like David Lynch, you know, it’s just like, “Oh my god!” If you can do an impersonation, you just gotta be careful.
Anyway, he comes up, dictates four new pages for us. They’re already turning the hot lights and stuff on. They’re ready to go. Harry and I run through the scene. Once, twice at most. Then they tell us to go, and we shoot it, and we shoot it all in one take, and we get through it, and if you watch on the TV at the very end, you’ll see Harry first and then I, just burst into this giant smile, and that’s because we’ve gone through it all. We did it in one take, and we can hear David Lynch laughing on the walkie talkie from the follow car.
And then they say, “Cut!” and I’m expecting them to set up second camera for us to do it again. Nope. That’s the one time we did it.
The entire thing you see in part 6 is one single take. There’s a cutaway that they do just editorially, but we didn’t cutaway, you know, all the way through. Three weeks from getting the lines, got to run it for two minutes, and what you see on film is the entire time we had with that scene. It was pretty incredible and intense. It’s a good feeling, watching Harry bursting into that smile.
Good on you, though, man, for having those kind of chops.
It was kinda a sink or swim thing, and I was glad I was able to pull it off, too. I’ve been acting my whole life. My acting goal on set was, “Pretend like you belong here.”
These aren’t legends. This is Tuesday. [laughs] You know?
[laughs] Right, right!
Don’t betray your inexperience. They all knew I was new, but I was able to pull it off, and for that I am very grateful.
Now, when you actually run up to the bus, I couldn’t help but notice, as other people have pointed out, you were missing a belt. Was that planned? Or was it this “Oh shit” moment, they need me to run and I don’t have a belt? [laughs]
Ironically enough, those are my pants, and yes, I had a belt. However, I seemed to have left it in my trailer, unbeknownst to me, and this was actually my very first take of the day, my very first take of all time working for David Lynch. I’m behind the trailer. Riley Lynch is my PA, and I’m sitting there waiting for it, and they say, “Action!” and I run around the trailer and feel my pants start to slip, and I automatically hoist them up with the ol’ left hand, keep going, and just finished the scene all the way through, wait ’til they say, “Cut,” and as soon as it cuts, all I hear is David Lynch laughing up a storm, just cackling. It was an accident, but hey, it worked.
[laughs] It did! Because it showed you were urgently trying to catch that bus!
That was, again, a single take, and the sound of David Lynch laughing was the sound of my dreams coming true, that it was going to make it in somehow.
When you were done with everything was it a handshake and see ya later type deal?
They did a picture wrap, and had the whole crew gather round, and the applause was nice. I’ve been on many sets and crews and stuff, where I’m doing that for other actors, but now they were doing it for me. It was weird being on that end of it. But then, afterwards comes this post-filming depression, an anxiety like, “I wonder if what I did was good enough? I wonder if I’ll end up on the cutting room floor?” and you don’t hear from production for an awful long time. So, I’m just sitting here at my house, going through life, knowing what I’ve done but can’t tell anyone that I’ve done this, then one day in March I’m sitting on my couch, wondering if I’m going to be able to pay the electric bill, and I look down at my phone, and they’ve announced a cast list, and I started flipping through, and, lo and behold, right between Matthew Lillard and Peggy Lipton is my name, and I’m just like, “Oh my god!” I Google myself, and I’m in Rolling Stone magazine that day, and I’m still living my life over here, dorking around in my underwear, playing video games. I’m like, “What the fuck?” so that was pretty surreal. They didn’t tell me anything before that, but let me know again that perhaps I had made it in after all, but then I didn’t hear from them for about 9 months or so. Then, I was invited to the cast party, and invited to a couple other things, and I started seeing them again, and as soon as I started seeing the cast, the actors and crew again, they all came up and they knew my name this time, and they made me feel like family, like part of it, and again, I was coming from this mentality, almost insecure, like, “Do I even belong at this party?” and they’d be all, “Hey! You’re Jeremy!” and it was like, “Woah! Yes, I am!”
That’s so great!
They’ll tell you, and I guess it’s now a “we,” that we’re part of a family now, and I’ve heard that before on other film crews, but never really felt it like I have here. It has been so warm and huge and inviting, and getting to meet people I didn’t work with at the premieres, people I’ve idolized my whole life, and just getting to hang out with them, and then meeting all these people, and then the Twin Peaks festival was such a treat, in North Bend a couple weeks ago …
That was my next question, ’cause it looked like it was a blast, and that you had a blast.
It was so much fun, and I come from kind of a fanboy perspective. I’m going there just to celebrate, and say “Hey,” and do some of the tour sites. I go through North Bend all the time, but I usually only stop at Twede’s. I’ve never been to the Laura Palmer house. I’ve never been to these iconic places. At the same time, coming in as a fanboy, I know what I would want from a convention, I just tried to be like, “Hey! That’s what I’m here for! You guys!” I was a celebrity hobo. I didn’t have a place to stay or anything. I just had a backpack and figured the world would provide, and it did! I had a blast.
That’s the way to roll man. How cool is that? [pause] Sorry, I’m soaking it all in. I’m fanboying out too, right now. [laughs]
That was part of what I think made the people, when they met me at the convention, latch on; I could be their avatar, you know, I’m geeking out like they were, and had kind of an insider thing, but I had the same kind of excitement they did. I really do love the film.
When you watch it now … I’ve been keeping track of how the different actors describe their experience watching the show, it’s like the rest of everyone, where the secrecy was so tight that the actors themselves don’t seem to know what’s going on until we all watch it.
I have no idea what’s going on outside of the parts that I filmed, so I’m along for the ride as much as everyone. I had a couple clues beforehand, like I knew the trailer park would be there, that Carl Rodd would be returning. I knew a couple of other things, but still, I had no idea of the context, I had no idea how expansive the show was going to be. I knew it was going to be good, and I prayed it was going to be awesome, but I had no idea how it was going to exceed my every hope by tenfold. I was a fan and would be a fan regardless if I was in it or not, but this has been the most magnificent season of anything I’ve seen on television. Part 8 might be the best hour of fiction in the history of the medium. I’ve never quite seen anything like “gotta light?”
Oh, I know.
It’s astonishing, and I can see how this could drive away viewers. It’s rough, it’s dense, but that’s exactly what I want. Gimme 30 more minutes of pixilated dots dancing on my eyes. He’s like Kubrick’s Kubrick.
It’s incredible. It has never been seen in the history of the medium, and when they’re talking about groundbreaking and changing and all that stuff, you can tell that this is because I don’t know how, or what the ripple effects will be, throughout the medium. I can tell now that film and TV is going to change again, but I can’t tell in what direction.
Because we’re kind of in the middle of it.
It’s such an honor to be an ancillary part of this huge process, to be a shade that he got to paint with is incredible.
So, I guess, needless to say, it’s just rumors right now, but in the event that there is a second season, you’d be all over it.
If he ever asked me, or any of the crew asked me to be a part of a project again, I would jump at it. If we don’t get another chance, this is more than enough of a gift. I can’t describe how lucky I am and how amazed I got to be a part of it, but please, keep the word going, keep the fans riled up, let Showtime know that you guys will take our money and buy the DVDs, Blu-rays, whatever comes out, because again whether I get to be a part of it again or not, I would love more Twin Peaks to be coming out, just keep these people working. 18 more hours … it’s a gift he gave us, and if he’s got it in him to do more, by all means give him the funds he needs to keep telling stories. If this is his swan song, and some people are looking at it like he’s going back through all his movies, and I think David’s got a couple, four or five dreams he keeps coming back to that he has in his head, and he’s kind of perfected them, tried them again and again, and yeah, this is a magnum opus of his work, and if he wants to go out and do more, God bless him and I hope he does more.
Thank you so much for talking with me today. I’ll leave on a fun question, just because I saw this meme, but does Mickey have a secret diary? And if so, what is in it?
Mickey does have a secret diary, hopefully sometime to be published in the far-off future, but Mickey’s … [pause] I can’t talk too much about Mickey’s secret diary, as there are some questions that still haven’t been answered, but I’ll just be quiet right now, given the non-disclosure agreement. [laughs]