Tom Waits Reportedly Once Sent An Ominous Letter To David Lynch

Remember in "The Dark Knight" when The Joker, while dangling upside down hundreds of feet above the harrowing concrete streets of Gotham City, declared: "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object" (via The Quotes)? Imagine a convergence between the most eccentric man in music and the most enigmatic man in cinema. You can stop imagining it now, because it probably happened.

If you know anything about Tom Waits, the idea of David Lynch presenting his life through the prism of his bizarre and mystifying directorial aesthetic seems too perfect for words. When rumors of a cinematic biopic of the "Heart Attack and Vine" singer were confirmed by Ron Perlman — who agreed to play Waits — and other Hollywood entities, the musician decided to reach out to Lynch via an ominous letter inviting him to spearhead the project (per With Guitar). As you'd probably expect, the letter was presented in true Tom Waits fashion.

What did the letter say?

"Dear David, My name's Tom Waits. I kinda hope you heard of me, heh heh," the letter begins (via Studio Exec). Waits goes on to tell Lynch that he'd be cordially honored if he would put his "hand to the helm and try and get this rickety ol' ship of a project off of the blunt rocks before the scarecrows attack with their penknives and tattoos of weeping clowns." The message is chalked with dark, outlandish wisecracks that read like the ramblings of a madman muttering to himself on a rusty old porch swing. 

One might assume that anyone on the receiving end of the letter would be caught somewhere between totally flabbergasted and inexplicably charmed by the jarring dialogue. That's probably what Waits intended in his own tongue-in-cheek way, but being fluently versed in all things wacky and surreal himself, David Lynch was locked and loaded with a reply that got straight to the point. 

What did David Lynch say in response?

When it came time to accept or decline the offer put forth by Tom Waits, David Lynch didn't mince words: "Dear Tom,Cut the b******* and tell me how much I'm going to get paid. Best Wishes, David" (per With Guitars). The exchange took place in 2016, and there hasn't been much news about the highly anticipated David Lynch and Tom Waits team-up since.

What we know for certain is that the project is based on Barney Hoskins' Waits biography "The Low Side of the Road" (2009) and is set to be titled "Raindog Trombone." Other sources say that filming commenced in 2020, but updates remain sparse. When asked how he felt about the role, actor Ron Perlman —who is self-admittedly a huge fan of Tom Waits –  shared that working with David Lynch is "something that every actor dreams of" (via Studio Exec).