Lost in the Movies: Julie (TWIN PEAKS Character Series Bonus #1)

Julie (TWIN PEAKS Character Series Bonus #1)

The TWIN PEAKS Character Series surveys one hundred ten characters from the series Twin Peaks (1990-91 on ABC and 2017 on Showtime as The Return), the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), and The Missing Pieces (2014), a collection of deleted scenes from that film. The series will be rebooted in 2023 to reflect the third season (and patrons will have immediate access to each entry a month before it goes public), but this entry will remain intact. There will be spoilers.

Julie is a woman who just wants to do her job, and is overwhelmed by the disasters big and small that befall her in a single day.

Friday, February 24, 1989
Julie is a concierge at the Great Northern Hotel, concerned with making her boss Ben Horne’s business run smoothly. Unfortunately, this is not her lucky day. Interrupting Ben’s meeting with Norwegian investors, Julie delivers an urgent message to Bens attorney Leland Palmer: his panicked wife is on the phone. Then the sheriff arrives at the hotel, also looking for Leland. Uh-oh. Later that afternoon, Julie is told to keep the bad news under wraps: the Norwegians must not discover that Leland’s daughter has died...but Ben’s bratty daughter Audrey has other ideas. She spills coffee all over Julie’s paperwork and while the hapless employee is distracted, Audrey walks in on the Norwegians. The next thing we know, they are storming out of the hotel in outrage, suitcases in hand. Obviously Audrey has done exactly what Julie herself was told not to do. Julie helplessly slams the front desk bell over and over, shouting, “The Norwegians are leaving! The Norwegians are leaving!” No kidding. I'm guessing this was Julie’s last day working for Ben Horne.

Characters Julie interacts with onscreen…

Leland Palmer

Harry Truman

Audrey Horne

Impressions of TWIN PEAKS through Julie
Julie has a normal job disrupted by an abnormal event and at least one eccentric character (the boss’ daughter). That said, her final scene has an absurdist tone, especially with her repetitive proclamations, suggesting that the town and the show may be more off-kilter than they initially seemed. Laura’s death is obviously a shocking event, but it’s also somewhat secondary to the business being conducted, despite its potential to disrupt said business. The instructions Julie receives imply that Ben may be amoral, selfish, and greedy, while her interaction with Audrey reveals the spoiled girl’s playful but destructive personality.

Julie’s journey
Julie is one of the few characters in these character studies to appear in only one episode. As such, her character doesn’t really develop or evolve over time, but she does have an arc. In her three scenes, she goes from professional to slightly flustered to completely panicked. This is one of many examples of how Laura’s death has thrown the town off-kilter, changing lives forever. That’s certainly the case if Julie loses her job, which her absence from future episodes suggests.

Actress: Diane Caldwell
Like seemingly everyone involved with Twin Peaks, Caldwell has lived a fascinating life. Friends with Nico and Allen Ginsberg in the late sixties, before traveling around the country in a hippie van, she's resided everywhere from the Florida Keys to a “back-to-the-earth” cabin in Oregon. She got the part in Twin Peaks by talking about “barbed phlegm” with David Lynch in her audition, and eventually quit acting at a mass audition for a toilet-cleaning product: “I didn’t become an actress to perpetuate capitalism.” Now she lives in Turkey – about a year ago she posted this moving piece about Syrian refugees. These anecdotes, and much, much more were discovered through a Twin Peaks Archive interview – what an incredible resource that site is. (film pictured: On Adim - Ten Steps, c. 2012)

The Pilot

Caldwell only worked with David Lynch. In fact, when she auditioned for him, her role wasn’t even written (she read for a waitress part) so Lynch may have invented the part specifically for her. It’s unclear how much of a role Mark Frost had in this creation but it sounds like, at least at this stage, Lynch usually approached Frost with new ideas and worked them out with him, so Frost may have pitched in on the dialogue and scene conceptions.

Julie is onscreen for roughly two minutes (including the time we only hear her voice, shouting…). She is in three scenes in one episode, taking place in one day. All of her scenes are set in the Great Northern Hotel. She appears to share the most screentime with Audrey. Like a lot of other one-off professional characters, she’s in the pilot more than major players like Jacoby, Nadine, or the Log Lady.

Best Scene
Audrey spills coffee all over Julie’s paperwork.

Best Line
“The Norwegians are leaving!”

Additional Observations

Julie looks a little nervous when she approaches Leland, as if she knows this is a bad idea but it has to be done.

Immediately after sending Harry to Leland, Julies face shifts from confusion into a dawning comprehension that something terrible has happened.

When “Bob” tells her to keep Lauras death under wraps, Julies expression and “OK, Bob” reply (which Audrey instantly mimics) suggest a wise understanding of the unfortunate, rather callous necessity he advises. Julie is someone who knows her job and does it; she neither wastes time fretting over the ugly aspects nor attempting to justify them to herself – she feels this is a luxury she doesn't have.

Update 2018: This entry was written in 2017, before the third season, and did not need to be revised as Julie did not re-appear. Only the description/intro at the top and the ranking were updated. Since the criteria for inclusion was changed (originally three scenes with dialogue, now ten minutes of screentime), she retroactively became a "bonus entry" rather than part of the full rankings. In the original character series, Julie was ranked #82, the very first full entry, between the "Hidden" characters and Louie.

SHOWTIME: No, Caldwell is not on the cast list for 2017. At any rate, she never even watched the Twin Peaks pilot until prodded by an interviewer twenty-three years later, and wasn’t much taken with it. As for the character, I think it’s safe to say she found employment elsewhere, hopefully somewhere much less stressful.

Next (available now): Louie "Birdsong" Budway
Previous (active on Wednesday, January 13, 2023 at 8am): Top 30 Runners-Up of the New Twin Peaks

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