Twin Peaks: Who’s the man in jail?

by Matteo Marino
english version in collaboration with Mario De Filippo
italian version here
Thanks to Erika Poleggi for her help and kindness

June 3, 2017

This article contains spoilers regarding the second part of Twin Peaks but doesn’t reveal what is to come next.

When that dark man appeared in jail we all were like the waiter from the missing pieces: the shit come out of our asses! In the credits and on IMBD there is no mention of the actor who played that weird character. Another unexpected cameo written by DL & MF after the creepy Buella (Katleen Deming) seen in Part I.

We still don’t know who is and what represents the man in jail, immediately the forums about the return of Twin Peaks were filled with the most different and interesting theories, at least for now the biggest mystery is solved, he accepted to answer our questions. Let’s meet him!

Hi Stewart! Introduce yourself to the readers of [Who are you? What do you do? What are your past and future projects?]

Stewart_StraussHi Matteo! Thanks for finding me. My name is Stewart Strauss. I was born in Hollywood, California and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles. My first loves were music and movies. I started playing music and acting in school plays in elementary school. In college I studied theater arts, film production, music, and later on television production.

I’ve always been a fan first and film making always fascinated me. My love of music lead to becoming a radio disc jockey, while at the same time I worked in local tv production and infomercials.
I moved to Lake Tahoe, where I became an avid skier, poker dealer and sports bum. I was going to stay for one season and come back to LA. I ended up staying six years.
In the early eighties, I worked in “Stayin’ Alive”. I had a good time and worked beside John Travolta for a few days. It was the first time I saw an actor become so immersed in his role and got a taste of “film set etiquette.”
More recently, by 2009 a friend recommended registering with Central Casting. My first job for Central Casting was on “Mad Men,” in 2009. One thing lead to another, more work, more casting agencies, more work, until I started being featured more often. I eventually joined the Screen Actors Guild. I didn’t work as much, but the work was usually more challenging, closer to the camera and it paid a lot better.
During the past eight years I’ve become more established, trusted and gotten better at my craft.
Next things? Look for me in the new Will Farrell, Amy Poehler film, “The House,” as a casino dealer, and if “Zeroville,” directed by and starring James Franco, ever gets a release date (it was filmed in 2014), you’ll see me briefly as Dennis Hopper.
Frank Booth… Lynchian Connection!
I’ll be seen regularly in “I’m Dying Up Here,” which is a new series, produced by Jim Carrey and will be seen directly after “Twin Peaks: The Return,” starting this Sunday, June 4 on Showtime, in the USA. It’s a fictional show based on the non fiction book, by William Knoedelseder.

Could we say that the fact you are featuring in a show airing on Showtime is just a coincidence?

Total coincidence. Lucky for me!

Did you expect such a strong reaction to your appearance?

The overwhelming response to the scene is beyond my wildest dreams.

You are not featuring in the final credits, do you know fans went crazy trying to find the face matching? From Tim Roth to Eddie Vedder! Fandom reaction.

I love it! The impact the scene has had around the world was beyond anything I’ve experienced before as an actor. I think it’s a testament to David Lynch’s vision and Matthew Lillard’s superb performance. The theories, guesses, questions, comparisons, fan art, gifs, etc; have all been a great joy and provided lots of laughs. Being thrust into David Lynch’s world of Twin Peaks has already become a life changing experience. In my IMDb page you won’t find any info about Twin Peaks: The Return, for two reasons. I signed a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which clearly states that I couldn’t speak or share any info about the show. I also respect the way the David Lynch and Mark Frost have promoted the show, which is to reveal as little as possible about what’s coming. Once my character is described on IMDb, the mystery of what I am supposed to be is over.

Walk me through how you became involved in the show.

I subscribe, as many in this business do, to an online service where casting directors list and email their available job listings. I believe it was in September 2015 that I saw a lead looking for character types, with longer hair and beards, in my age range.
I submitted and was pleased to receive a response. The description was vague, but David Lynch’s name was mentioned. It also happened to be from a casting director that I’d worked for before, so he knew I was reliable, trust worthy and could act.
The CD requested a short video stating your name and saying hello to Mr. Lynch. My audition tape was under 5 seconds. Some other background artists I know staged elaborate audition tapes, so I thought mine was too short. Much to my surprise, I got the call. My first day of shooting was October 29, 2015. May 21, 2017 seemed like a lifetime away, but now it’s past.

Were you… scared seeing you in the show ?

I wasn’t scared when I saw the scene. I was elated! Working with David Lynch and the entire crew, was an experience I’ll never forget. It’s made me a better actor and I hope for a chance to work with the Maestro again!

Could you tell us more about how your character was realized ? Is that make up like the bum behind Winkie’s or is that a post production effect ??

I wouldn’t be comfortable (yet) talking about how my look was achieved.

“Ooooh, I’m so curious, now you’re driving me crazy”, as said Tracey. But I understand, as said Dale Cooper to the Giant.
It’s not a secret, David Lynch himself said in a recent interview at EW, we will see more of the man in jail in the next parts of the show:

“And by the way, about that guy, you just keep watching”.

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