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Wrapped in Plastic #8



Frank Silva (Killer Bob) Interview

At the 1993 Twin Peaks Fan Festival, WIP editors Craig Miller and John Thorne interviewed Frank Silva, the actor who played "Killer Bob" on Twin Peaks. Below is a portion of the interview, which originally appeared in WIP 8.

Thorne: We'd like to talk a little bit about Bob, and how Bob came about. It was a happy accident that occurred during the filming of the pilot, correct?

Frank Silva
Silva: Yeah, it was an accident. But I really had no idea, even though it was an accident and that's where it started, that it would go anywhere. I thought, "Well, you know how David is, this could be a spur of the moment kind of thing." I never, ever thought that it would lead to what it actually lead up to. I thought, "Oh, it's not going to make it into the [pilot]. I'm not going to be in the series or anything, it's just going to be a per chance kind of thing." When we actually did that ending, with Bob being a reality and being shot by the one-armed man, even then, at that point, when we did an entire huge scene with Bob, I thought, "This isn't really going to go anywhere. It could possibly be the ending to this movie, or it could possible not be the ending to this movie." Apparently it was the ending to the European version. But at that point I never thought they'd be calling me for the series. I thought it was all a joke, and then all of a sudden they'd call and say, "David wants you here at the set." "What for?" "We don't know. He just wants you here. And don't forget, bring your clothes!" [Laughter] Because the Bob wardrobe was what I was wearing to work that day! And he hasn't changed since!

Miller: So the denim jacket is yours?!

FS: Yeah! That's where it all came from. They would all say, "Don't forget, bring your clothes." So I would go in and there would never be anything scripted for Bob in the scripts. I'd go in and sit there, and I'd wait, and I'd wait, and I'd wait. They'd start getting lighting ready for the scene I was going to do. But no one ever told me what I was going to do. And David never told me what I was going to do. Then, at the last minute, David would say, "I want you to do this, this, and this." Sometimes he wouldn't even say that much, it would be generalizing, like the scene with Maddy, Donna, and James. David would say, "Well . . . I think I want Frank to walk into the room, and maybe leap over the sofa!" That was it, and he'd tell the camera man, and so they'd light it. Then they'd call the first team--that's first team on the set. I was standing there, and David walked up to me in the dining room of the Hayward house, and he'd say "Frank, just walk in, blah, blah, blah...you know what to do!" [Laughter] I would turn around and say, "I know what to do?" "Yeah, you know what to do." Then he said, "Action!" Instead of leaping--I just didn't feel comfortable leaping--I just crawled over it. As I started crawling over it, and got over the sofa, David said, "Keep crawling." So I kept crawling and he didn't say anything. He didn't say, "Stop." He didn't say, "Cut." I kept crawling and I kept crawling, but I was always taught that you're not supposed to look at the camera, or look at the lens of the camera. So I crawled to the side of the camera, just along side of the camera. And David said, "Cut! That was great, Frank! Do it again, and crawl right into the camera!" And so we did it in two takes. I crawled right into the camera.

JT: So you're responsible for a lot of that Bob imagery?

FS: I guess! The intensity, I guess. That's the thing, a lot of us really didn't know what Bob really was. I don't think David did. I certainly, at first, thought he was real. And who knows, he still could be--he still could be reality. I just thought he was this really whacked-out, crazy guy. An intense, crazy guy. David and I never really sat down and discussed this character, or discussed the characterization. He would just say, "You know what to do." When we were doing the murder scene in the train car for that dream sequence, he would just say, basically, "Get down at that mound of dirt. Play with that mound of dirt. Now, walk towards the camera. Now, scream." This character just kind of grew.

CM: I think you said in another interview that David didn't really have a killer in mind at first, and it just gradually evolved into Bob. At what point do you think they said, "Okay, this Bob is too good of a thing to throw way. Let's just segue into making him the killer?" Do you have any sense of when that may have finally clicked in their minds?

FS: I keep going back to when we did that dream sequence in the train car. That was a pretty powerful scene when we filmed it. When we did that, Bob, to me, was still a reality. Before I did that scene, I turned to Sheryl Lee and I just told her, "Look, we're going into the playpen. Let's just pretend that this is playtime now, and this is not reality." There was a point when I was playing that scene where I thought Bob was a reality, and the intensity of being a whacko, crazy guy who has killed someone--to him, it was almost as if it was a sexual act. The killing was having sex. And I was feeling as I was doing that scene, that after the killing was over and the screams were happening--because the screams happened after the killing, not so much during the killing--what I was picking up on, were screams of terror but also of sorrow. Almost like a release. A lot of those screams ended in screams of crying, to me. It was almost screaming as a release to let the tears of remorse flow after what had just happened. I don't know if David picked up on that. I have a feeling he did, and he saw something there. That maybe Bob was someone else, or someone else was Bob, and this was the remorsefulness coming out. Maybe David clicked that together, rather than Bob just being one, maybe he was two, maybe he was three or he was this entity that possessed people, and there was this sense of remorse after it all happened. Because that's what I got from doing that scene.

CM: I remember watching that scene for the first time as you were letting out those screams, I was thinking, "Is he screaming with--"

FS: Glee?

CM: Glee. Or screaming with sadness?

FS: It's a strange scream that's going on there. That's what I felt. It was a scream that you weren't quite sure where it was coming from. And I'm wondering if David, at that time, maybe picked up on it, because that scene wasn't done until the second season. At that time we still wanted to keep the killer a secret. The script supervisor kept saying, "Is Frank really the killer?" And everybody was saying, "Is Frank really the killer? Is Bob really the killer?" Because why would David be so explicit as to show this scene with Bob as the killer? Everybody was freaking out and saying, "Who is the killer? Is it Bob, and this is it?" David wasn't letting on to anything. I think he had somewhat of an idea, but I think it may have turned into something there.




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