It takes an extraordinary actor to turn an eccentric character into an oft-quoted icon, but that's exactly what Kyle MacLachlan managed to do with the coffee-loving Twin Peaks character, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.
Across two seasons and one movie, MacLachlan embodied Cooper — who was later himself embodied by BOB — and the result was a truly memorable character. Now, luckily for us Coop fans, 27 years later that character we loved is coming back in style, thanks to the upcoming Twin Peaks limited event series on Showtime.
But it's been a long time since we shared a damn good cup of coffee and a slice of cherry pie with Coop, so ahead of the new limited event series, let's take the chance to get a little more acquainted with the man behind the mug — heck, you could even consider it your once-a-day present to yourself.
Born in Yakima, Washington and the eldest of three children, it seems as though MacLachan was bound to end up in the spotlight, thanks to the influence of his mother Catherine. He began acting in high school when Catherine, a supporter of the community arts programs, became the director of a youth theater program for teens. MacLachan went on to major in drama at the University of Washington.
Despite enjoying acting as a teen and then gaining a BFA in drama, MacLachlan hesitated to consider acting a viable career plan. It was only after small opportunities snowballed into bigger ones that he realized he was able to eke out a living as a thespian. And then along came Dune, his first film, first big break and first collaboration with David Lynch.
Having read the book when he was a teenage in the mid-'70s, it seem almost kismet that MacLachlan should land the role of Paul Atreides in Dune, a year after graduating from college. Though critically panned, this film would mark the start of what would be a great friendship and working partnership with Lynch.
Following Dune, the pair partnered again on Blue Velvet, a movie that is often regarded as one of Lynch's finest works, before their third collaboration, Twin Peaks. Through Twin Peaks, MacLachlan made us glad to know Dale Cooper, who the actor fondly names as the favorite character he's ever played, thanks to his compassion and empathy. Indeed, Cooper is perhaps the most trustworthy and relatable character in the whole bizarre universe of Twin Peaks.
After making his mark on television, MacLachlan set out to further his film career, appearing in the adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial, a live-action adaptation of animated series The Flintstones, and Paul Verhoeven's cult classic Showgirls.
Though working steadily in film through the '90s, it became clear that the medium of TV was MacLachlan's true forte, with the actor landing a recurring role in Sex and the City.
Roles in TV series Desperate Housewives, How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have all bolstered his "king of TV" cred, and in 2011 he even returned to his quirky, Lynchian roots as the mayor of Portland, Oregon on the surreal comedy series Portlandia.
Now, nearly three decades later, it's all happening again, with MacLachlan stepping back into Coop's shoes and bulletproof vest (per Bureau regulations) to revisit the place it all began in the 18-part Twin Peaks limited event series.
Much like Coop, MacLachlan is a man of varied interests, and although in reality he might not be as enamored with the Buddhist traditions and Tibetan method as the special agent, his skill set extends far beyond that which is exhibited on screen.
A wine lover in the extreme (he and Lynch discussed their love of wine the very first time they met), MacLachlan's other major collaboration — this time with vintner Eric Dunham — resulted in the 2005 launch of Pursued By Bear cabernet sauvignon, a label of Dunham Cellars. The wine has become one of Washington's most highly regarded labels, and the pair even added another label, Baby Bear, in 2008, following the birth of MacLachlan's son Callum.
But wine isn't the only thing MacLachlan is pouring, with his Twitter account often lavishing praise on his fans and co-stars. It's clear to see that Coop's kindhearted approach to life was never a far reach for MacLachlan. Keen to delight fans, he often wishes fellow Twitter users happy birthday, applauds art work, shares behind-the-scenes tales, and even took up a challenge to explain the plot of Dune to a fan — using only emojis!
It even seems oddly appropriate that MacLachlan is able to be rated on his Facebook page, with his rating standing strong at an impressive five out of five stars. What more could you expect from the man who portrayed a character so known for doling out compliments? Perhaps this karmic windfall suggests that MacLachlan shares Coop's fascination with Buddhism more than we might know.
MacLachlan is adept at playing anything from naive politico to hapless husband, but his finest work comes when paired with his creative foil David Lynch, the auteur who always encourages the most stirring performances from his on-screen avatar.
The new limited event series Twin Peaks premieres Sunday, May 21st at 9/8c – Only on SHOWTIME. Download the SHOWTIME app and start your free trial now.