Kyle MacLachlan: Jack Armstrong in the Age of Irony

Scary as it sounds, Kyle MacLachlan seems firmly entrenched as the onscreen alter ego of director David Lynch. After being chosen by Lynch and Dino Di Laurentiis to play the desert planet messiah in the doomed Dune, he more than cleared his name with critics in Lynch's Blue Velvet, playing Jeffrey Beaumont, the boy scout detective who found out how it feels to have Isabella Rossellini pull down your boxer shorts at knifepoint and demand that you practice Tae Kwon Do on her face.

Now he's starring as a psychic FBI sleuth in the unearthly director's new nighttime soap, "Twin Peaks." The role "is similar to Blue Velvet in some ways," MacLachlan says. "It's Jeffrey grown up."

However, those who've actually seen "Twin Peaks" say that, on the contrary, MacLachlan is playing Lynch to a tee, down to body language and vocal intonations. A Jack Armstrong for the Age of Irony, MacLachlan is the boy-next-door with nice eyebrows who turns out to be good at Shakespeare and animal imitations. (He's played Romeo twice in stage productions, and in one of Blue Velvet's milder moments showed Laura Dern how to walk like a chicken.)

He can currently be seen in Best Intentions as the roguish editor of a liberal paper who has more than a political agenda for Jami Gertz. But if "Twins Peaks" rises to required Nielsen heights, he could be speaking Lynch lines for the next five years.

"David and I are friends as well as working partners," says MacLachlan. "I imagine we're going to continue to work together well on until we pass into the next world."