Kyle MacLachlan, who is probably best known as Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks, has remained a firm cult favourite since making his screen debut in David Lynch’s poorly received yet fiercely defended 1984 space carnival, Dune. Since then the actor once known for his baby face and knowingly naive performances has enjoyed a long and fruitful working relationship with Lynch, who once said of him, “Kyle plays innocents who are interested in the mysteries of life.” His CV is smattered with more mainstream roles but it’s his performances in the likes of Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Showgirls that have endeared him to more cult than Hollywood audiences.
More recently our attentions have turned to MacLachlan’s online persona. He is an avid user of social media as a tool through which to communicate with his fans – you only need check his Twitter mentions to see just how many people are clamouring for his attention, and many of them get it. People reach out to him and, in personalised emoji-studded tweets, he shares their art, compliments their baking, approves their choices, wishes them happy birthday and signs his own wine for them. He seems to legitimately care about his fans, not only in the context of them support his career, but as individuals. Can you imagine how good it feels to have Kyle MacLachlan commend you on your art and him really, really mean it?
While his benign nature and sense of humour is endearing to read on Twitter, they aren’t new traits in MacLachlan. On screen and off, he has a kindness and enthusiasm that has been commented on repeatedly, and they exude out of him. Even in MacLachlan’s most villainous roles, just the look of his face alone is often enough to elicit an involuntary giggle from the audience.
In a 1992 GQ interview, director Bruce Beresford attempted to put his finger on MacLachlan’s appeal, identifying the same qualities we see in MacLachlan today. Beresford recalls one occasion when MacLachlan was waiting in a hotel lobby in Tokyo, fully aware that there were hoards of schoolgirls waiting outside to catch a glimpse of him: “Even though Kyle was exhausted, he kept worrying that they were missing school.” This has always been evident in MacLachlan, but on Twitter, we get an almost daily reminder of it.
MacLachlan’s use of social media also occasionally errs on the side of ‘embarrassing dad’; plenty of emojis, bad puns and one particularly memorable attempt to clap back at Donald Trump. Just as anyone’s dad might, he frequently shares old photos which you pretend to cringe at, when really you’re waiting for the right moment to ask if he kept any of his clothes. He inexplicably follows Kris Jenner, Skrillex and two separate Pokémon GO accounts. He is the ultimate Internet Dad. You get the impression that he is this way in his own life, too. In interviews, comments such as “the glass is always half full, I think, at least in most things – maybe not my golf game!” liken him more to your dad than a celebrity.
Often when celebrities become more and more active on social media, it exposes their annoying quirks, their shallowness, or how out of touch they are: not Kyle MacLachlan. In his case it exposes his good humour and altruistic nature. He even took to Twitter this Father’s Day to voice his support for a charity which raises money for sick dads. The reason why MacLachlan’s online presence seems so genuine is the same reason why he remains such a likeable screen presence: he is, and always will be, a damn nice guy.
Published 24 Jun 2017
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