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David Lynch (c) Roland Kermarec
Objectif Cinema : Shooting started a few days later...

Roland Kermarec : Yes. I had never been on a shoot before, unless you count the time in Brest where I had been on the set of a made-for-TV movie that never aired... It was a strange atmosphere on the set during the first day, because everything took place in a neighboring house that Lynch had bought for the movie. For a week and a half, all I had to do was to cross the street to get on set.

The house-set stayed open day and night with everything inside. All streets were marked with ‘beware’ signs, but everything stayed constantly open ! After every day of work, I liked to stay a while on the set. On the day we shot the murder of Renee by Fred Madison, I was not able to stay very long in the bedroom: The latex body was laying on the floor, and even if they had taken the animal guts away a strange odor persisted. Being alone in that room, with that smell, gave me, for a split second, the weirdest impression of being in the movie for real.

In the same way, another day, I walked onto the set of the Madison’s bathroom just after the shooting of their scene. And I got the strange impression of literally penetrating into the image. It was a bit like when I was studying frame by frame the sequences of The Elephant Man to try and pick up all the visuals that had their importance, an object placed on a table, a picture hanging on the wall...etc.

If the crew-call was at 8 in the morning, the evening wrap-up was also at 8. In the States the laws are very strict on this point: for insurance purposes, no one can be on the set without having something to do. I was therefore supposed to be an intern and to be out on the street with a walky-talky to stop cars from driving by. Of course I would never have seen anything of the shooting. So after two days of being constantly on set, and noticing that the first assistant director, Scott Cameron, was not asking anything of me, I started feeling a little guilty. I asked Lynch if it didn't bother him that I wasn't doing anything. That's when he answered "Stay here and write your thesis !"

Objectif Cinema : You wrote down everything you saw and everything that was going on ?

Roland Kermarec : Yes, absolutely everything : each take, and each frame, all the differences from one take to another. I didn't believe I could memorize it all so I wrote it all down. And this from the first day of shooting, I even asked if I could shoot whatever I wanted with my camcorder. David only asked me if the camera was silent and then told me it was not a problem. Which is very surprising when you know the paranoia that Lynch bares for the media and what more when you think of the secrecy that surrounded the film and its shooting. I only had to sign a paper that would legally bind me from using the images I shot before the premier of the film. Which I still haven't done because it's more like a diary to me.

  Bill Pullman & Roland Kermarec (c) Roland Kermarec
Objectif Cinema : How many hours of rushes do you have ?

Roland Kermarec : Between ten and fifteen hours of scenes from the shooting. Namely the ones that are not in the final cut and are therefore very precious to me.

Objectif Cinema : How did your presence on the set affect the actors and technicians ?

Roland Kermarec : When Philippe Garnier from "Liberation" met me for an interview, he too found it strange that I should have no problems with the technicians, that the atmosphere could be so cool. For me who had never been on a set before, it seemed normal, but for him, it was very surprising ! I've always had good relations with the technicians, and except for a little language barrier, (some of them really had a difficult accent) all was OK. Lynch on the other hand was rather easy to understand. I think I integrated rather well, I was "the little Frenchman" Never did I feel in the way, being only an observer. I asked them all sorts of technical questions and they always seemed glad to answer.