Kyle MacLachlan : Bullseye with Jesse Thorn After college, actor Kyle MacLachlan landed a part in a movie. It just so happened to be the lead in the David Lynch film Dune! Not bad for his very first role. While the film was not a commercial or critical success, it was the beginning of a long relationship with the film's director which included Kyle's most-iconic character to date: the role of Dale Cooper in the surreal crime drama Twin Peaks. The show's cult following has earned the actor the adoration of fans worldwide. Bullseye producer Kevin Ferguson chats with the actor about how fans still resonate with the character, his childhood and what it was like playing historical rival Thomas Edison to Ethan Hawke's Tesla in their latest film.

Kyle MacLachlan

Listen to this Episode

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/905624379/905628368" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Photo Credit: Cara Howe/IFC Films Cara Howe/IFC Films hide caption

toggle caption
Cara Howe/IFC Films

Kyle MacLachlan on "Twin Peaks," "Dune" and his latest film "Tesla"

You probably know Kyle MacLachlan best for his starring role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. Maybe also as the mayor from Portlandia or from his parts on shows like Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives.

MacLachlan grew up as a pretty normal kid with a pretty normal life. The oldest of three siblings, he gravitated towards acting after seeing his mother work on a stage play. He decided to pursue it as a hobby and continued to work on the stage in college.

His first big role came shortly after. He would play the lead in an epic science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch. While the film Dune did not do well commercially or critically it cemented his relationship with the director who tapped him later on for roles in Blue Velvet and the cult classic Twin Peaks. In the Twin Peaks universe he played FBI agent Dale Cooper, a man on the hunt to solve the murder of a high school girl named Laura Palmer. With every new lead, more mystery is unearthed. The show was a huge success that sparked conversations about imagery, tone and the parameters that television was allowed to go.

After Twin Peaks, MacLachlan went on to work in television and film including regular appearances on Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and How I Met Your Mother. He brings a peculiar charm to every role he's in and isn't afraid to get a little weird—like in his appearance as the fictional mayor of Portland, Oregon in the series Portlandia.

His most-recent role is the one of real-life historical figure Thomas Edison in the new film Tesla. In it, he acts opposite Ethan Hawke who plays the titular character.

YouTube

Bullseye producer Kevin Ferguson chats with MacLachlan about the legacy of Twin Peaks, being recognized by different fan bases and why we have the rivalry between Tesla and Edison to thank for Alternate Current electricity. Plus, we'll chat about the perfect cup of coffee.

Tesla is available to rent now via Amazon Prime, Apple and other platforms.