Twin Peaks – Exclusive Interview with Location Manager Barry Gremillion

After years of researching Twin Peaks filming locations, I had the honor of speaking with Barry Gremillion who served as location liaison for Twin Peaks throughout Season 2!  Barry has quite a bit of interesting information on the production of the show, so let’s rock…

BD:  How did you come to be a Location Manager?

BG:   I never intended to be a Location Manager. I didn’t even know such a position existed when I got into the film business. I began my career as an actor in the mid-70’s and ended that career after a guest appearance on the 1st season of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” I had been writing for some time and was fortunate to sell a couple of scripts. One of them was called “The Deadly Dance” and while we were prepping it in Kansas I was the one, as the writer/associate producer, who approached business and home owners and government officials about our filming needs. At the time I had no idea that I was doing the job a Location Manager normally does. Long story short, the financiers eventually pulled the plug and that picture never got made. That was a big blow to me and many others. But a good friend Robin Clark, who was a producer and production manager, now retired, called me and encouraged me to get back to work. He had been with us in Kansas, as our Production Manager, and saw how I dealt with Locations and offered me a job in the Location Department on a TV film he was PMing.

That was the first I had heard of such a department. I took the job and was trained by a very elegant woman named Karlene Gallegly who by that time had been a LM for several years. I think she is now retired. I had no idea that job would lead to a 26 year career as a Location Manager, and still counting.

BD:  So how did you come to be involved with Twin Peaks?

 BG:  In 1990 I had just finished the film “The Doors” which was extremely difficult. I got a call from Greg Feinberg, one of the producers of Twin Peaks and he asked me if I would LM the 2nd season. It was quite a contrast in that all of the Doors was filmed on location with a huge crew and a cast of literally thousands on several days, whereas most of TP was shot on stage in Van Nuys. Some episodes went out on location more than others, and there were several recurring locations, but for the most part it was a piece of cake, location-wise.

BD:  Overall what was your experience like on Twin Peaks?

BG:  My overall experience on TP was great. Except for the incident described in my book “I Killed Charles Bronson’s Cat” – the chapter “Mugged in Twin Peaks” recalls what happened one night while we were filming in Franklin Canyon, a beautiful park and lake up in the hills above Beverly Hills which was a recurring location for us.

BD:  What were some of your favorite locations used throughout Twin Peaks?

BG:  I don’t know about “favorite” location – that would probably be the several we used at Malibou Lake – but for me the most interesting one was up at the northern end of the San Fernando Valley at the old Olive View Hospital. I can’t remember the episode too well but it had to do with the police surrounding a hideaway at night and I believe there was a gun battle. It’s all lost in a 20 year old haze of memory.

BD:  I believe the location you were referring to is Dead Dog Farm. Do you remember how you found that place? I actually spent quite a bit of time trying to locate it.

BG:  Dead Dog Farm – that’s right – now I remember – that place has long been torn down. I knew about this facility because I had done a lot of filming during the 80’s up at the old Olive View hospital which had been damaged in the Sylmar quake – but I had never filmed at this particular old shack. The property owners were a bit dubious – safety issues – but we prevailed and it worked out great.

BD:  The Twin Peaks atmosphere was a vital part of the show’s mood, what were the most important qualities you looked for to use a location on the show?

 BG:   The atmospherics were pretty much created by the script and the photography and the editing and the sound design. As far as the locations we were always looking for exteriors that evoked the Pacific Northwest, and interiors that ran the gamut from elegant mansions to run-down shacks. In the world of locations there are always a lot of compromises which usually have to do with the grueling shooting schedule of a weekly TV series.

BD:  What was it like working with David Lynch, Mark Frost and the rest of the production team?

BG:  One thing I can tell you that was a pretty funny and frustrating aspect of working with David Lynch is that as creative and strange as he is, he could be very vague and hard to pin down, especially as the show started getting “curiouser and curiouser.” On any TV series you have a “production meeting” at the beginning of prep for each episode wherein the department heads go through the script and discuss and decide every aspect so we all know what the sets will be, what will be on location, what equipment will be necessary, etc. etc.  Anyway, toward the end of that season David stopped having these all-important production meetings, much to the chagrin of all the department heads. So a few of us, production designer, art directors, props, wardrobe, etc. and I would from time to time sort of corner David, holding our scripts for the next episode and asking him the long list of questions we needed answered. Sometimes he tried to accommodate us as best he could, the show was by this time a bit of a mystery to everyone, but one day he delivered a classic line when we asked him about a script. “I wouldn’t pay too much attention to that script if I were you.” He said in that characteristic way he has of speaking. When we pressed him as to specifics of what would be needed he answered. “I would just have everything ready if I were you.”  So we did. The last few episodes were very hectic as last-minute ideas came flying from David and Peyton and Mark and the other writers. 

BD:  I would like to offer a gigantic “Thank you” to Barry for taking the time to answer my questions.

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Categories: Interviews, Twin Peaks Filming Locations

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5 Comments on “Twin Peaks – Exclusive Interview with Location Manager Barry Gremillion”

  1. August 29, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Thank you Brad and Barry! Great stuff! 🙂

  2. August 29, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Thanks for the interview, Brad! Keep ’em coming.

  3. August 29, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Great interview. 🙂

  4. August 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Damn, fine interview! Thanks

  5. September 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    great interview!

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