A few days ago our workshop had the opportunity to have a long talk with novelist/screenwriter Barry Gifford (Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, Perdita Durango). Being in Mexico as we are, most of the conversation was spent on Gifford's love of border towns and the shady characters who inhabit them. "Borders always represent another country" he said before he addressed his fascination with criminal minds in exotic locales.
For all of you Film Experience readers who love The Wizard of Oz as much as Nat and I do, I thought it would be interesting to share how its influence on Wild At Heart came to be.
"It was all David [Lynch]" Gifford said "I was in France doing publicity for the book [version] and when I saw it for the first time the day before it screened at Cannes I saw the homage". Apparently producer Samuel Goldwyn hated the original, more realistic, ending (which is in Gifford's book) and asked Lynch to rewrite it. That rewriting created one of the most fascinating merges of classic and contemporary film.
When asked how he came up with the title Wild at Heart he revealed that it came to him by chance. Years later he found out that it was one of Tennessee Williams' favorite things to say ("say a prayer for the wild at heart") and felt the playwright was exerting some sort of blessing on his work from beyond the grave.
"this whole world is wild at heart and weird on top"