An Unlikely Run-In Led To Michael Cera's Twin Peaks Role

Among the many joys of "Twin Peaks: The Return" was seeing the parade of wonderful actors willing to show up for David Lynch. Of course, there were all the returning cast members from the original show, as well as Lynch regulars like Laura Dern and Naomi Watts. But it seemed like every scene would introduce a familiar face you never would have expected, even in the smallest of roles. From Amanda Seyfried to Monica Bellucci and Matthew Lillard, there were a bevy of color supporting characters and cameos to enjoy.

One cameo in particular really stood out, both because of the actor and the character he was playing. I am of course talking about Michael Cera showing up as Wally Brando. He shows up astride a motorcycle and decked out in a costuming replica of Marlon Brando's character from the 1953 László Benedek film "The Wild One." In a show filled with strange people, Wally Brando is one of the strangest. He is the son of police deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) and station receptionist Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), the two sweetest and most innocent characters on the show, and Cera shows up as this parody of a rebel. It never fails to put a gigantic smile on my face every time I see the scene.

When thinking about a character like that, one might cast to type, getting some classically hunky guy to play the part. Not Lynch. Casting Cera shows just how much of a joke that kind of performative masculinity is. The question is: How did David Lynch and Michael Cera enter each other's orbits? They do not seem to be a natural pairing. Well, lucky for us, they have a common lifestyle practice.

The unexpected benefits of meditation

I have never participated in Transcendental Meditation (or mediation of any kind, to be frank), but I am thinking I might need to get into it after hearing about how Michael Cera first met David Lynch. In an interview with Deadline, Cera recounts how he first got in contact with the director:

"It was such a little amazing miracle: I met David Lynch years ago, in a very fortuitous, unexpected way, which was that I did a Transcendental Meditation lesson where you go and learn how to do it. I was curious, so I went with a couple friends, and on the fourth day this young woman introduced herself and said she works for the David Lynch Foundation and did we want to meet David? And we were just all totally gobsmacked, like, what are you talking about? And she's like, yeah, give me your information. Then a month later, she called and said, 'How's Thursday at David's house?'"

Lynch has been a staunch advocate for Transcendental Mediation for decades, and he set up the David Lynch Foundation in 2005 as a means to teach people how to practice it. I do not know if Cera continued to practice after his initial lessons, but if it led to meeting Lynch, it might be something you'd want to continue. Cera went on to say how he found out about the role in "Twin Peaks: The Return":

"I couldn't understand why he was being this gracious and generous, or why we were given this gift. So then we meditated with David, and we sat around and talked with him for a bit. And then, a few years later, I got the phone call for this part."

Not only did Cera get a job from this encounter, but so did Eric Edelstein, who played Detective Smiley. So I guess this goes to show you that if you are wanting to be cast in a future David Lynch project, go try out Transcendental Meditation. Its benefits may be even more than how it eases your mind.