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Hommage to Jack Nance

Les Inrockuptibles, January, 1997
with many thanks to Carlos Jorge do Amaral Soares for providing the article
Here his the transcription (it would be better to call it adaptation), from the french magazine LES INROCKUPTIBLES, of the DAVID LYNCH article on JACK NANCE.
Carlos Jorge do Amaral Soares

From Eraserhead to Lost Highway, Jack Nance was a familiar figure in Lynchland. The director evoques his friend and fetish actor who died on December 30, 1996.


by David Lynch

I knew Jack for twenty-five years. We were introduced to each other by a theater director from San Francisco with whom Jack had worked. I was advised to take Jack for ERASERHEAD and our first meeting took place at the American Film Institute in 1971. It was interesting that, despite the banally professional circumstances, we immediatly understood, it clicked. I casted him right away, it was the first recruit for ERASERHEAD and I believe that he was the only one who could play that role. I cherish having had the chance to meet him and know him, he was one of my best friends and sometimes I don't believe he disappeared forever. I believe it was destiny that we met, we were made to work together. He had all that you search in an actor, not to mention his human qualities. He was a thinking person and he felt things profoundly. It was amazing to watch his face, even when he was mute and stared at you fixed: we could guess all that went through his brain and his consciousness, it was like plunging his look in a deep river. I had the presence of Jack in each of my movies – the only one in wich he didn't appear is THE ELEPHANT MAN. And then in TWIN PEAKS/FWWM, his scene was cut during the editing. In LOST HIGHWAY there is but one scene (the mechanic that loves the free-jazz on the radio) but he his memorable. His performance that I like best is in WILD AT HEART: again a short but extraordinary role. I had not given up in finding a story in which he would have again an important role.

Apart from me, he had also played in a great number of movies. He loved to work but he wasn't motivated enough on the relations ground, he didn't play the mundanities game. He would give a damn about money, he would give a damn about glory, he would give a damn about almost anything, except for his work. Those that would have loved to work with him but didn't do it, well that's too late for them. He also played in Nicholas Roeg's THE WHORE, Barbet Schroeder's BARFLY, Wim Wenders's HAMMET... Lately, we saw each other less. It's horrible, now that he's gone, I would have loved to have a coffe with him every day. It was always a pleasure with him: Jack was the greatest storyteller that I ever met. He had an unimitative way to tell them always strange, unbelievable stories... except that with him, we believed them. I am not even sure that he had the chance to see LOST HIGHWAY. He had a serious car accident just before the end of shooting: he got multiple fractures and didn't leave his house as a result of his convalescence. I talked to him regularly on the phone, but I didn't see him but once in this last period: two months before his death, we organised a little ERASERHEAD reunion. He looked to me to be in good shape, we joked, laughed – it was the last time that I saw him.

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