The 58-year-old actor received his second Golden Globe nomination for his reprisal of Agent Dale Cooper in Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival, nearly three decades after winning the award for the character in 1991.
“It is a little unreal,” MacLachlan told ET on Monday morning after the nominations were announced. “It really points to the power of Cooper and how he resonates with so many people. Also, the fact that [creators] David Lynch and Mark Frost were able to write something so compelling -- not necessarily a nostalgic revisit of something we had seen before -- but an entirely new story with the same characters, that they were able to make it as extraordinary as they are.”
In the 18-part series, also known as Twin Peaks: The Return, MacLachlan found himself portraying three vastly different characters (the evil Mr. C, Dale Cooper and Dougie Jones), providing him the unique and rare opportunity to flex his acting muscles -- all while entrenched in the mysterious Twin Peaks world.
“I’ve been around a little bit and being older, I do appreciate the recognition,” he acknowledged, calling his three Twin Peaks personas “remarkable.” “I’m hoping that as an actor I’m getting better and improving in my craft always. Once in a while, you get to really pull out the stops and put it to the test, and that was the case with this revival of Twin Peaks.”
While not much surprises MacLachlan anymore, he was surprised by the brief amount of time he spent actually playing Dale. “We were only with him for a very short time before the last two hours of the show, where there was a slight shift in storytelling and in the direction,” he said, referencing his storylines with Laura Dern and Sheryl Lee. “There was a subtle shift in the character -- slightly different than when we saw him wake up in the hospital bed.”
“My working relationship with David Lynch, in a strange way, because so much time had gone between the time we last worked together, it was a new experience,” MacLachlan continued. “I found him to be extraordinary; his command of the set and his vision and the characters and his specificity deepened somehow. It felt like he was absolutely at the top of his game, which filled me with absolute confidence that what I was doing was a) what he needed to have done and was going to work within the confines of the story, and b) something I had never been, as an actor, been able to do. It was an opportunity to explore a side of myself that was very interesting and slightly scary. Those opportunities just don’t present themselves that often.”
As for the ceremony itself, MacLachlan recalled Christine Lahti’s classic bathroom moment at the 1998 telecast, when her name was called while she was in the ladies’ restroom, as being his biggest fear on awards night. (“There’s always a sense that you never know what’s going to happen,” MacLachlan said with a chuckle.) But the celebrity run-in he remembers most from being at the Globes? Bumping into William Shatner.
“What can I say, like everyone else in the world I grew up with Star Trek. I was a Trekkie. I admire him so much and I was stunned to see him,” he reminisced. “He's very gracious. He's very low-key and I just think he’s exceptional.”
The 75th annual Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Seth Meyers, airs live coast-to-coast on Sunday, Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on NBC.