Early on in his career, it was more than evident that David Lynch had talent, but no one in the industry was quite sure what to do with him. George Lucas approached the director behind “Eraserhead” and “The Elephant Man” to helm “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” which Lynch turned down (he would scratch his blockbuster, sci-fi itch a year later with the infamous “Dune“). And it seems some thought Lynch, who certainly has a streak of oddball humor, would be the right choice for a broad, mainstream comedy.
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” turns 35 this summer, and Cameron Crowe, who wrote the screenplay based on his book, reveals conversations were had with Lynch about directing the high school flick.
“I had a meeting with David Lynch,” told 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.”
So, we’ll never know what Lynch would’ve done with Spicoli, but it’s probably for the best, and it’s pretty understandable why the director was puzzled why he was asked at all. Still, one wonders what he would’ve done with the material, but as it stands, Amy Heckerling did just fine and created an all-time classic.