‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ Almost Got the David Lynch Touch
Less fast times, more semit tsaf.
In the 1980s, David Lynch was just hitting his stride. After making audiences thoroughly uncomfortable and intrigued with The Elephant Man (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) and Eraserhead, Hollywood knew it had some really weird talent on its hands. Which is probably why Lynch was one of the directors Cameron Crowe approached to direct Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Fast Times turns 35 this year, and Crowe, who wrote the screenplay based on his book, talked to Variety about the whole process that went into getting the movie made. He told a story about meeting with Lynch, whom one Universal exec had recommended to him to direct the movie.
I had a meeting with David Lynch. He had a very wry smile on his face as I sat talking with him. He went and read it. We met again. He was very, very sweet about it, but slightly perplexed we thought of him. He said this was a really nice story but ‘it’s not really the kind of thing that I do, but good luck.’ He got into the white VW Bug and drove off.
It’s clear that, at this point, Hollywood maybe didn’t really know what to do with Lynch, who they knew was going to be great, but not quite in one way. It’s kinda funny to imagine Lynch directing a teen comedy, but we have Amy Heckerling’s version, which turned into an instant classic. At least we have the lovely mental image of David Lynch hopping into his white Bug and driving off into the sunset.