Walking, In Dreams, To Hollywood
“It must have been a hell of a night, because when I awoke … I found I’d had breast implants done. And not just any breast implants – Laura Harring’s. At least I fantasized that they might be Laura Harring’s breast implants, because when I examined them in the full-length mirror on the bathroom door they had a combination of inelasticity and prominence that reminded me of the improbability of her chest – relative to the slimness of her back – when Harring and Noami Watts took off their tops to fake love in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.
I wondered whether implying that anyone might have had breast implants was libellous – but the alternative – that these were Larua Harring’s actual breasts – was too awful to contemplate. I mean, there was I, idly caressing them, while Harring might well be lying somewhere dreadfully hacked about. In an interview I had read with the actress she said: ‘Life is a beautiful journey. Every episode of my life is like a dream and I am at peace and happy with what life has given me.’ But there was no way she could figure a sadistic double-mastectomy into such a beneficient dream – this was a thieving nightmare. Or had Harring been murdered, her beautiful face beaten to a pulp with a brass statue of a monkey? If so I was off the hook for libel…”
– from Walking to Hollywood, by Will Self
A typically bizarre and apparently non sequitur of a snapshot from this hallucinogenic, Technicolor explosion of a novel, which takes in all of Hollywood’s nightmare and strangeness, including pornography, CGI, film noir, video games, you name it, if it’s a legend of, or an anomaly attributed to, that mecca of the unreal, it’s in there, and all told as if one long fever dream.
“It was only with Blue Velvet that I realised Lynch was making art – albeit in a different medium – that showed me the way I wanted to write fiction. Henceforth, his films became spurs dug into my foamy flanks, urging me on to try to make my own alternative worlds.”
But I have to say that Ms. Harring’s breasts, and indeed their ‘inauthenticity’, have occupied my thoughts before I read the above. And no, not like that. It always appeared to me to be something akin to a piece of casting genius on Lynch’s part to have an actress with such prostheses playing Rita. Opposite the blonde, ‘natural’ innocence of Watts’ Betty (at least as she first appears), the difference in their naked bodies when seen together is just perfect for the film and their respective characters, or perhaps a more accurate term would be ‘personas’. Though surely it was just a serendipitous accident; surely part of the casting session wasn’t “right-o Laura, pop ’em out, let’s have a shufty.”
And far be it from me to judge or dismiss a woman’s choice to do whatever the hell she wants with her… topography, but ‘fake’ breasts in the context of the film, just seem a perfect coda for the superficiality and pressure to conform to an ideal of beauty, and the associated dreams lost and found in that ‘other world’ that is Hollywood… But then maybe I’ve just spent way too long considering Harring’s breasts… as if there were such a thing as too long…