Cameron Crowe Reveals that David Lynch was Originally Approached to Direct ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’

If someone were to tell me that I’ve got to see a new movie that feels like Fast Times at Ridgemont High if it were directed by David Lynch, I’d immediately drop what I was doing and head to the theater! While something so wonderfully bizarre seems like an impossibility, it turns out we were close to getting exactly that back in 1982.

Cameron Crowe recently sat down with Variety to reflect on Fast Times at Ridgemont High in celebration of its upcoming 35th anniversary on August 13th. He wrote the script for the film (which was based on his 1981 book of the same name), and it was ultimately directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless, Look Who’s Talking). Before, Heckerling was chosen, however, the studio was open to a variety of different candidates for the project.

The way Crowe tells it, Universal executive Thom Mount recommended Lynch based on his recent successes with Eraserhead and The Elephant Man. What caused Mount to connect those dark and twisted projects with the script for a lighthearted teen romp starring Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold and numerous others… we may never know!

Crowe recalled his meeting with Lynch about directing Fast Times to Variety:

“He had a very wry smile on his face as I sat talking with him. He went and read it. We met again. He was very, very sweet about it, but slightly perplexed we thought of him. He said this was a really nice story but ‘it’s not really the kind of thing that I do, but good luck.’ He got into the white VW bug and drove off.”

Talk about a missed opportunity! The next time you happen to watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High, imagine what it would look like had Lynch directed it in an alternate universe… Would the movie be in black and white? Would the physical comedy be replaced with dry sarcasm and awkward pauses? Would it contain monsters? Would Brad Hamilton serve up gallons of coffee at All-American Burger? So many unusual possibilities!

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more exciting and horror-related revelations on the classic films of yesteryear as they break!


John Evans
Staff Writer at Horror News Network
John has loved movie monsters for as far back as he can remember. He's since collected up as many comics, statues, and autographed material related to movies and music that he can get his hands on. He is particularly interested in the critical and analytical discussion of the best stories the horror genre has to offer. One of his largest works on the topic is a study on the portrayals of people with disabilities in horror films.
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