'The Fabelmans': Steven Spielberg Called On Laura Dern To Convince David Lynch To Sign On For An Important Cameo Role

With today’s announcement of the Golden Globes nominations, as well as all of the upcoming guilds and organizations announcing their Best of 2022 awards, it’s clear that we are knee-deep in awards season. Thus, there’s a lot of talk about Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical drama, “The Fabelmans.” Though there is quite a bit of acclaim being given to the filmmaker and his cast and crew, there hasn’t been much talk surrounding one of the most delightful and surprising cameos in the film featuring none other than David Lynch. And according to Spielberg, even though it was just a cameo, Lynch basically went full method for his short role in the film.

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Speaking to Martin Scorsese at a recent screening of “The Fabelmans” (via Deadline), Steven Spielberg talked about the hoops he had to jump through to get David Lynch to show up in a small cameo role in the film. For those who haven’t seen the feature, “The Fabelmans” is about a young man and his dream of becoming a filmmaker. And the young filmmaker’s biggest inspiration is John Ford, played in the film by David Lynch. But even though Spielberg was excited by the prospect of having Lynch on board, the filmmaker/sometimes actor was a tough sell.

“[Lynch] said he was not an actor and had other projects, and John Ford was so great, what if he didn’t come up to those standards? He was just kind of shy about it,” explained Spielberg. “So I went to my go-to person, his best friend, Laura Dern. [I said,] ‘You’ve got to talk David into doing this. You’ve got two weeks to talk him into this.’”

Eventually, when Spielberg called up Lynch again about the part, the “Twin Peaks” filmmaker was willing to say yes. But on one condition.

“He says, ‘I decided I am going to do this under one condition…I want to get the costume two weeks ahead of time to live in,’” said Spielberg. “I said, ‘You mean you are going to wear it? He said, ‘Yes, every day.’ The hat, the [eye] patch, everything. And he showed up in a pretty ratty costume.” 

READ MORE: ‘Lynch / Oz’ Review: Alexandre O. Philippe Curates A Deep Dive Into David Lynch’s ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Obsession [Tribeca]

Even though Lynch has said he’s not an actor, the filmmaker has shown up on screen in a number of roles over the years. Sure, many of those roles were in his own films, often in a cameo capacity, but he’s also shown up in projects such as “Zelly and Me” and “Lucky,” as well as a number of cartoon voice roles, such as in “Family Guy,” “Robot Chicken,” and “The Cleveland Show.”

It doesn’t appear that David Lynch is going to get any sort of Oscar recognition for his role in “The Fabelmans,” but it’s pretty great, as a film fan, to know one of the greatest living directors was willing to go all out to help a fellow artist, even in such a small capacity.

“The Fabelmans” is in theaters now.