Cast & Crew
Laura Elena Harring
As the city of Los Angeles shimmers below, a limousine snakes along Mulholland Dr. Stopping suddenly, the driver turns around, trains a gun on the passenger, a sultry, raven-haired woman, and orders her to get out. At that moment, a pair of drag racing cars screams around a curve, smashing head on into the limousine. The woman, dazed, crawls out of the wreckage and stumbles down to the city streets below. Exhausted from her ordeal, she takes refuge in some bushes outside a stunning Spanish courtyard apartment building and falls asleep. The next morning, she is awakened when Ruth, one of the tenants, walks past to meet a waiting cab. After loading her luggage into the trunk, Ruth returns to her apartment to fetch her keys and the woman sneaks in, hides under a table and falls asleep. At Winkie's coffee shop nearby, a man recounts two nightmares he had about a horrific man who lurks in back. As the man and his companion go to investigate, a hideous tramp appears from the rear of the building, causing the man to faint. Soon after, fresh-faced, young Betty Elms from Deep River Ontario, lands at the Los Angeles airport, filled with dreams of becoming an actress. An elderly couple whom Betty had befriended on the flight wish her "all the luck in the world," then climb into the back of a limousine and drive off, grinning from ear to ear. Betty then takes a cab to the courtyard apartment owned by her Aunt Ruth, who has agreed to let her stay while she is away on business. There Betty is greeted by the complex's eccentric manager, Coco Lanois, who speaks in aphorisms. As Betty peruses the apartment, she is startled to see a woman's cocktail dress and purse discarded on the bedroom floor. In the bathroom, Betty finds the naked raven-haired woman standing in the shower. Assuming that the woman is a friend of her aunt's, Betty asks her name. The woman, now suffering from amnesia, gazes vacantly at a poster of Rita Hayworth from the film Gilda , and says her name is Rita. At the Ryan Entertainment office in downtown Los Angeles, Adam Kesher, a self-important, petulant young film director, meets with his backers, the sinister Luigi and Vincenzo Castigliane. As Mr. Roque, a wheelchair-bound dwarf, views the meeting over closed circuit television, Vincenzo extracts a publicity photo of actress Camilla Rhodes from his briefcase and demands that Adam cast her as the lead in his new film. After Adam vehemently refuses, Vincenzo menacingly states "it's no longer your film." Defiantly storming out of the building, Adam goes to the Castiglianes' limousine and smashes it with a golf club. Roque, who communicates only through a cellphone headset, then mumbles into the headset, causing Adam's production to be shut down. In a seedy office, a scruffy blonde man and a man seated at the desk laugh about a car accident. Reaching for a black book on the desk, the blonde pulls out a gun and shoots his companion. One of his bullets goes astray, however, and hits a corpulent woman in the next office. While the blonde wrestles with the woman, a janitor appears, forcing the blonde man to shoot both the woman and the janitor. The janitor falls, hitting the switch on his vacuum cleaner, and when the machine springs to life, the blonde blasts it with his gun, starting a fire that sets off the alarm, sending the inept killer fleeing out a window. After Aunt Ruth telephones, Betty learns that Rita is an uninvited guest. When Betty gently asks Rita who she is, Rita breaks into tears and admits that she does not know. Betty then presses Rita to search her purse for identification, but when Rita unzips the bag she finds it is stuffed with $100 bills and an oddly shaped blue key. After Rita suddenly recalls that she was on her way to Mulholland Drive, Betty make an anonymous call to the police from a pay phone outside Winkie's and discovers that there was an automobile accident on Mulholland Drive the previous evening. Upon learning that his film has been shut down, Adam unexpectedly returns home and finds his wife Lorraine in bed with Gene, the pool man. In retaliation, Adam douses Lorraine's jewelry with paint, after which the feisty Lorraine pounces on him, then orders him to get out after Gene slugs him in the face. At Winkie's, Betty is scouring the newspaper for a story about the accident on Mulholland Drive when a waitress wearing the name tag "Diane" approaches their table. The name jars Rita's memory, and after she tells Betty that the name "Diane Selwyn" seems familiar, Betty looks it up in the phone book. After leaving his house, Adam seeks refuge in a run-down skid row hotel. When the manager informs Adam that some men have called the hotel looking for him, Adam, sensing danger, phones his assistant, who delivers a message from a man named Cowboy, instructing Adam to meet him at a corral at the top of Beachwood Canyon. At the corral, a flickering light announces the arrival of Cowboy, a man with a chalky complexion wearing a ten gallon hat. After telling Adam to hold an audition after which he will proclaim that Camilla Rhodes "is the girl," Cowboy cryptically adds that Adam will see him "one more time if he does good, two more times if he does bad." The next day, Betty rehearses a scene with Rita, then drives to an audition on a grungy set where she meets washed up producer Wally Brown and aging lothario Woody Katz, the production's leading man. After giving a steamy performance, Betty impresses chic casting director Linney James who insists that Betty accompany her to Adam's set. There, Adam is auditioning a nondescript blonde named Camilla Rhodes. After uttering that Camilla "is the girl," Adam sees Betty. When their eyes lock, Betty remembers that she has a date with Rita and runs off. Rita and Betty take a cab to the address listed as Diane's apartment, and when Betty's knock at the door goes unanswered, Betty climbs in through the window and opens the door for Rita. When they see a woman's rotting dead body sprawled across the bed, Rita realizes that she is in grave danger and runs screaming from the apartment. Back at Aunt Ruth's, Rita is about to cut off her long hair when Betty stops her and gives her a blonde wig to wear as a disguise. Rita dons the wig, and the two women admire their blonde, bobbed hair images in the mirror. That night, after Rita and Betty make passionate love, Rita awakens, calling out "silencio." Rita then asks Betty to accompany her, and they drive through deserted downtown streets to the Club Silencio, a theater dedicated to exposing the artifice of illusion. There, they are transfixed as a woman on stage lip syncs the song "Llorando" ("Crying") acapella. When the woman collapses onstage and is carried off, the song continues, and Betty, moved to tears by the performance, reaches into her purse for a handkerchief and finds a steely blue cube inside. Rita and Betty rush back to the apartment, where Rita goes to retrieve the purse that she has hidden in the closet. When she returns carrying the blue key, Betty is gone. After Rita inserts the key into the cube, it opens and falls out of Rita's hands onto the rug. Some time later, Ruth returns and finds the apartment eerily empty, and the box missing. When Cowboy cracks open the door of Diane's darkened apartment and says "hey pretty girl, time to wake up," Diane awakens to find a blue key on her coffee table. Diane's neighbor then comes to inform her that two police detectives have been looking for her. After the neighbor leaves, Diane turns from the window and imagines a smiling Camilla standing in the room. While Diane makes a pot of coffee, she turns around and she sees the bare-breasted Camilla lying across the couch. As Diane fondles Camilla's breasts, Camilla grows cold and ends their relationship. [While watching Adam and Camilla rehearse a love scene on the set of Adam's new film, Diane realizes that they are having an affair.] Diane angrily throws Camilla out, then furiously masturbates. Some time later, Camilla phones Diane to tell her a limousine is waiting to drive her to a party. As the limousine winds down Mulholland Dr., the driver suddenly stops and Camilla appears to escort Diane to the party at Adam's house. After Adam introduces Diane to his caustic mother Coco, Adam and Camilla exchange knowing glances and toast to love. Over dinner, Diane tells Coco that she came to Los Angeles from Ontario after winning a jitterbug contest and that she and Camilla met while auditioning for the same part. After Camilla won the role and went on to become a star, she arranged for the struggling Diane to perform bit parts in her pictures. Adam stops nuzzling Camilla to boast that he got the pool and his wife got the pool man in their divorce settlement, then announces that he and Camilla are engaged. Extremely distraught, Diane crashes her place setting to the floor. Some time later at Winkie's, a bedraggled Diane hires the scruffy blonde man to kill Camilla. After she hands him a case stuffed with cash, the man holds up a blue key and says she will get it when the job is done. In back of Winkie's one night, the tramp shoves the blue box into a crumpled paper bag and drops it to the ground. A diminutive elderly couple, laughing hysterically, then scramble out of the bag. Back at her apartment, Diane glumly stares into the distance past the blue key, which is now on the table. Suddenly, the elderly couple squeezes under the door, grow to life size and drive Diane into her bedroom with their accusatory shrieks. Diane cowers under the covers, pulls a gun from her nightstand and shoots herself. At the Club Silencio, a lone woman sitting in an opera box whispers "silencio."
Laura Elena Harring
Michael J. Anderson
Sean E. Markland
Michael Des Barres
Billy Ray Cyrus
Tyrah M. Lindsey
Rebekah Del Rio
Howard Berger, Knb Effects
David M. Blum
Laura Lee Connery
Laura De Rosa
Mary Jane Fendler
Jon Jacob Funk
Oscar Hammerstein Ii
Adam S. Hawkey
Spike Allison Hooper
Sean E. Markland
Gail Luane Munian
Greg Nicotero, Knb Effects
Before the film's title card appears, a shot of jitterbugging dancers swirls across the screen. The dancers are shown both in full figure and in silhouette. Smiling, over-exposed images of "Betty Elms" and the elderly couple are then superimposed over the dancers. This is followed by a shot of rumpled bed sheets accompanied by the sound of heavy breathing. A City of Los Angeles street sign announcing "Mulholland Dr." then appears as a black limousine snakes through the hills overlooking Los Angeles. The opening credits then begin to roll. At the end of the film, before the final credits, the face of a tramp and the smiling images of Betty and Blonde "Rita" are superimposed over a long shot of downtown Los Angeles. Although the film's title card and key art read Mulholland Dr., many of the reviews refer to it as Mulholland Drive. Chad Everett's character is called "Woody Katz" within the film, but he is listed as "Jimmy Katz" in the onscreen credits. The opening onscreen credits state "dedicated to Jennifer Syme." The closing credits give special thanks to Barbara Orbison and add Babbo, Inc. as a production company. The order of closing cast credits, which show actors in order of appearance, differs from the opening credits.
Mulholland Dr. began as a pilot for an ABC television series. Mulholland Dr. is a scenic street that runs along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains, dividing the Los Angeles Basin from the San Fernando Valley. It stretches from the Hollywood Freeway in Hollywood to Woodland Hills in the valley where it ends just past Spielberg Dr. at the Motion Picture Television Fund Hospital. A March 2001 article in Screen International reveals the following information: David Lynch and Mark Frost conceived of the title while working on the series Twin Peaks. In August 1997, Lynch and his friend Tony Krantz, who at the time was head of Imagine Television, pitched the series to ABC Enterprises. ABC agreed to put up $4,500,000 for a two-hour pilot and promised Lynch creative control. Touchstone Television then increased the budget to $7,000,000, adding a provision that Lynch shoot extra footage to create a "closed ending," thus allowing the pilot to be shown as a feature-length film in Europe, according to a August 30, 1999 New Yorker article. On January 4, 1998, Lynch delivered a final shooting script that revolved around the relationships among three people-an amnesiac, an aspiring actress and a director. Although the production was approved, the network was reportedly unhappy by the lack of big name stars attached to the project.
Production began in February 1998 on the Paramount Studios lot, and by May 1998, Lynch had completed a 125-minute version of Mulholland Dr. The Screen International article also adds that although Lynch tried to convince the network to give him a two-and-a-half hour time slot for the pilot, ABC insisted that he cut it to 88 minutes. In June 1998, Lynch was notified that ABC would not pick up the pilot and was not interested in producing a series based on Lynch's story. According to a Sep/Oct 2001 article in Film Comment, the network felt that the pilot was too dark, slow and confusing. In July-August 1998, French producers Alain Sarde and his executive Pierre Edelman, who were producing Lynch's film Straight Story, saw the pilot and decided that Mulholland Dr. had feature potential, but that the project would have to go back into production, necessitating an infusion of money. At that time, Imagine and Disney, who funded the pilot, assumed that the pilot would be finished as a TV movie and began circulating some prints. In January-August 2000,Le Studio Canal bought the project from Imagine. In September 2000, seventeen days of additional shooting was completed. Because of the long lag between the shooting of the pilot and the additional footage, many of the sets had to rebuilt. Scoring was recorded and special effects were then completed in December 2000-January 2001.
Mulholland Dr.'s narrative structure is broken into two parts. Several of the actors in part one play different characters in part two : The character of "Camilla Rhodes" is played by the blonde actress Melissa George in the first part of the film. In the second, she is played by brunette Laura Elena Harring, who plays the role of "Rita" in the first part of the film. George reappears in part two as the woman who passionately kisses Camilla at Adam's party. Naomi Watts, who portrays "Betty Elms" in the first part of the film, plays "Diane Selwyn" in the second. Ann Miller plays "Coco Lanois," the apartment manager, in part one and Adam's mother part two. The name tag worn by the waitress at Winkie's changes from "Diane" in the first part of the film to "Betty" in the second.
There are other threads that are transformed between the two parts of the film. In the first part, it is inferred that the scruffy blonde man was to kill Camilla. In the second, he kills Diane. The blue key that has a futuristic shape in part one, is an ordinary blue house key in part two. The man experiencing the nightmares and "Cowboy" from part one are both guests at Adam's party in part two. The elderly couple is benign in part one, menacing in part two. A jitterbug scene precedes the opening credits, and in part two it is revealed that winning a jitterbug contest brought Diane to Hollywood. The shot of the unmade bed that preceeds the opening credits turns out to be Diane's unmade bed shown later in the film, in which she shoots herself at the finale. The scene in which Betty watches Adam audition Camilla in part one is echoed in part two by the seemingly out-of-context scene in which Diane watches Adam rehearse a love scene with Camilla and realizes that Camilla and Adam are having an affair. The audition scene in part one is also noteworthy because it marks the only time that the narrative threads of Adam and Betty intersect in part one, and after that scene, Adam disappears from part one.
The division of the two film parts has led to a disagreement among reviewers about the coherence of this film. The Los Angeles Times reviewer noted that the film's narrative shifts create something that feels "like an alternate reality" and adds that although some things "mean nothing in a conventional plot sense, as powerful images from a dreamlike world, they are unforgettable." The Chicago Sun Times reviewer called the film "a surrealistic dreamscape," noting that "nothing leads to anywhere [in the film]...the characters start to fracture and recombine like flesh caught in a kaleidoscope... There is no explanation..." The Village Voice reviewer called Mulholland Dr. a "mobius strip of double identities." In another review, Lynch was quoted as describing the film as "logical, a linear that's been snipped apart and rearranged just by a hair."
Other reviewers have suggested that the narrative is a dream. The New York Times and Salon reviews suggest that Diane, failed in both acting and love, fantasizes Betty's story in part one as a projection of what her life May have been. Thus, the first part of the film becomes Diane's dream, the second part her grim reality.
Much of the film was shot on street locations in Los Angeles, including downtown Los Angeles. In a November 2001 article in Entertainment Design Magazine, the film's production designer, Jack Fisk, stated that Diane's apartment house was shot on location in Silver Lake, at a complex originally built to house Disney employees. The scene in which Adam meets Cowboy at a corral was shot at the Sunset Ranch corral at the top of Beachwood Canyon.
Many of the production people involved in Mulholland Dr. collaborated with David Lynch on previous projects, including producer Michael Polaire, producer and editor Mary Sweeney, cinematographer Peter Deming and production designer Jack Fisk. Angelo Badalamenti, who composed the music for Mulholland Dr. and appeared in the film as "Luigi Castigliane," also wrote the music for several of Lynch's previous productions. Michael J. Anderson who plays "Mr. Roque" in Mulholland Dr. also appeared in Lynch's television show Twin Peaks. Layfayette "Monty" Montgomery who plays "Cowboy" in Mulholland Dr. worked as a producer on Lynch's Wild at Heart. Mulholland Dr. marked the final feature film appearance of actress-dancer Ann Miller (1923-2004). Although Miller appeared in a brief cameo in the 1976 picture Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, she had not acted in a feature film since the 1956 M-G-M production The Great American Past Time.
Mulholland Dr. was nominated for the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, where Lynch tied with Joel Coen for Best Director. The film was named Best Picture by the New York Film Critics and was nominated by AFI as Movie of the Year. Other AFI nominations include Director of the Year for Lynch, Female Actor of the Year for Watts and Composer of the Year for Angelo Badalamenti. Badalamenti was also nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score. The film received the following additional Golden Globe nominations: Best Film Drama, Best Director and Best Motion Picture Screenplay. The picture was named film of the year by the National Board of Review. Lynch was named Best Director by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. Watts received the National Board of Review award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress.
Nominated for four awards, including Movie of the Year, Actor of the Year - Female (Naomi Watts), Director of the Year and Composer of the Year, at the 2001 American Film Institute (AFI) Awards.
Nominated for the 2001 Award for Best Costume Design in a Feature Film - Contemporary from the Costume Designers Guild (CDG).
Voted one of the 10 best films of 2001 by the American Film Institute (AFI).
Winner of the 2001 award for Best Director from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Winner of the 2001 award for Best Picture from the New York Film Critics Circle.
Winner of the 2001 award for Breakthrough Performance (Naomi Watts) from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.
Winner of the 2001 Cesar Award for Best Foreign Film.
Winner of three 2001 awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress (Naomi Watts), from the Chicago Film Critics Association.
Winner of two 2001 awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress (Naomi Watts), from the National Society of Film Critics.
Co-Winner, with "Memento" (USA/2000), of the 2001 award for Best Picture and winner of a further five awards, including Best Director, Best Actress (Naomi Watts), Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score and Breakthrough Performance (Naomi Watts), from the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS).
Released in United States Fall October 8, 2001
Expanded Release in United States October 12, 2001
Released in United States on Video April 9, 2002
Released in United States 2001
Released in United States November 2001
Shown at New York Film Festival (Centerpiece) September 28 - October 14, 2001.
Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 27 - October 12, 2001.
Shown at London Film Festival (Evening Standard Film on the Square) November 7-22, 2001.
Film was originally shot as a tv pilot for ABC. After the pilot was rejected, French producers Alain Sarde, Pierre Edelman and production company StudioCanal brought an additional $7 million into the project to fund additional shooting and post-production.
Released in United States Fall October 8, 2001
Expanded Release in United States October 12, 2001
Released in United States on Video April 9, 2002
Released in United States 2001 (Shown at New York Film Festival (Centerpiece) September 28 - October 14, 2001.)
Released in United States 2001 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 27 - October 12, 2001.)
Released in United States November 2001 (Shown at London Film Festival (Evening Standard Film on the Square) November 7-22, 2001.)
Co-winner, along with Joel Coen's "The Man Who Wasn't There" (USA/2001), of the award for Best Director at the 2001 Cannes International Film Festival.