From Ashley Judd to Michael Cera, here are 10 great actors that you completely forgot were on the cult show Twin Peaks.
For a show whose small-town feel adds so much to its charm, Twin Peaks has an impressively extensive cast of characters. Not only does the show feature an abnormally large number of main characters, but also a revolving door of side characters, too, some of whom only appear for a single episode – or sometimes even a single scene.
Still, that doesn’t stop Twin Peaks from attracting big names to populate its smaller roles, but with so many characters to keep track of, it’s easy to forget that some even exist. What’s more, there are also several actors who didn’t become household names until long after the show aired, with the show serving as one of their earliest on-screen roles.
When the news dropped that Ashley Judd – along with a whole host of other high-profile actors – would be joining the cast of 2017’s Twin Peaks revival, fans immediately began to speculate what her role would entail. As it turns out, the answer to that question is ‘not much.’
Playing the character of Beverly Paige, Judd’s role was strangely pointless. The new assistant of Benjamin Horne, it appears that Beverly is interested in initiating a fair with the businessman, only for it to be revealed she has a disabled husband at home – with whom she shares a strained relationship. While it initially seems like this storyline is heading somewhere, Judd’s character simply appears to be forgotten about after a handful of episodes, with her story reaching something of a dead end.
Despite the darkness of its central narrative, part of what makes Twin Peaks such a widely loved show is its uniquely Lynchian sense of humor. Naturally, when David Koechner was announced to be joining the cast of the show’s revival, it seemed like a match made in heaven.
Unfortunately, Koechner didn’t get much to do in the show, playing one of the three Fusco brothers, who all happen to be detectives. Aside from a tangential connection to the Dougie Jones case and his role in the arrest of assassin Ike the Spike, Koechner’s screen time was severely limited and light on jokes, making his casting feel like a wasted opportunity.
The brother of celebrated filmmaker Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi has appeared in a great number of movies and TV shows over the years, albeit in mostly minor roles. Fantasy fans are most likely to recognize the actor from his role as Joxer the Mighty in Xena: Warrior Princess, though the actor has also had roles in other major movies such as Spider-Man, The Grudge, Drag Me to Hell and Candyman.
Raimi also had a minor role in Twin Peaks’ second season, as a character simply named ‘Heavy Metal Youth,’ who finds himself becoming a pawn in Windom Earle’s deadly game of chess.
In her first-ever TV appearance, SNL alum and otherwise talented actress Molly Shannon appeared in Twin Peaks’ second season as a minor character named Judy Swain.
You’d be forgiven for missing this one entirely since Shannon only has one brief scene before disappearing from the show without a trace. Her character works at the Happy Helping Hands center, where she discusses orphan Nicky Needleman’s past with Andy, Dick, and Lucy when they begin to suspect he’s secretly evil.
Although Billy Zane appeared in a significant portion of Twin Peaks’ second season, his character is so flat and boring that he completely fades into the background of the show, serving no other purpose than providing a lifeless romantic interest for Audrey Horne.
His character is named John Justice Wheeler and becomes acquainted with Audrey due to his business connections with her father, Ben. Sadly, Zane is wasted in the show, with his storyline being amongst the most forgettable in the entire series.
While David Duchovny’s transgender DEA agent Denise Bryson has been warmly embraced by members of the LGBT community for her ground-breaking arc in the second season of Twin Peaks, the character’s role in the show is all too brief.
Helping restore Cooper’s reputation when he finds himself under investigation, the character returned for a single episode of the show’s third season, where it was revealed she’d been promoted to the FBI’s Chief of Staff.
Perhaps the hardest to spot actor on this entire list thanks to her young age, Alicia Witt’s role as Donna’s younger sister Gersten Hayward was her second-ever on-screen appearance, following David Lynch’s 1984 film Dune.
Following her single-episode appearance, Witt’s career went on to flourish, appearing in Friday Night Lights, Justified, The Walking Dead, Orange Is the New Black, and a whole host of other projects – even reprising her role as Gersten in 2017’s Twin Peaks revival. Despite having such a small amount of screen time, Gersten actually has one of the most tragic arcs in all of Twin Peaks. While she’s a hugely talented poet, musician, and student in her youth, by the time the third season rolls around she’s become a drug addict, finding herself under the dark influence of Steven Burnett.
The only actress in all of Twin Peaks to be playing herself, Monica Bellucci appears in one of the third season’s most talked-about scenes – the brilliantly bizarre Monica Bellucci dream. Showing up in the dreams of FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole, Monica Bellucci invites Cole to coffee, before Cooper makes his abstract presence known. She then confronts him with a provocative question: ‘We are like the dreamer who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?’
This clearly unsettles Gordon – with dreams being extremely relevant in the world of Twin Peaks – and may even tie into the incredibly strange events of the show’s final episode.
Tim Roth & Jennifer Jason Leigh
Sure, this entry might consist of two characters, but given that Gary and Chantal Hutchens are pretty much inseparable, it makes sense to include them both here.
Appearing in the show’s long-awaited third season, Gary and Chantal are hired killers and occasional ‘cleaners’ in the employ of Cooper’s doppelganger. With the two actors previously appearing together on screen in The Hateful Eight – as well as their tendency to wax philosophical about the nature of murder – their scenes feel like a fun Tarantino reunion. Sadly, the pair is unceremoniously killed by a particularly bad-tempered accountant.
Boasting perhaps the most hilarious role in all of Twin Peaks’ third season, Michael Cera is perfect as the strange, pretentious son of Andy and Lucy – named Wally Brando – only showing up for one scene in “Part 4”.
Coming into town due to the severe illness of his godfather Harry Truman, Wally does his best Marlon Brando impression as he embarks on a bizarre monologue to his parents about life on the road, as they watch on in admiration. Sheriff Frank Truman seems less impressed, however, which only adds to the scene’s charm.
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