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Kyle MacLachlan on the ‘Magic Ride’ of Making ‘Fallout,’ Bonding With Timothée Chalamet Over ‘Dune’ and Those Viral TikToks


With iconic roles in “Twin Peaks,” “Sex and the City” and the original “Dune,” over a 40-year career Kyle MacLachlan has established himself as both a chameleon and an on-screen legend.

So it’s no surprise that in the same week he’s launching his latest project – Prime Video’s adaptation of blockbuster video game franchise “Fallout” – he’s also the recipient of the Canal+ Icon award at Canneseries in France, where he’s giving a masterclass about his storied career.

To prepare for the masterclass, MacLachlan admitted he’d been watching YouTube videos of previous editions. “It looks like it’s more of an interview [than a class] that will go into some depth about my process, what I do and how I approach something,” he tells Variety ahead of the session on a stopover in London, where he joined the rest of the “Fallout” cast and creative team at a glitzy premiere in a repro vault bunker.

“I’m a huge sci-fi fan,” MacLachlan says of his decision to board his latest project, which is co-created by Jonathan Nolan, Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet. “I thought it sounded like such a magic ride, I wanted to be part of it.”

In “Fallout” he plays literal and metaphorical father figure Hank, who presides over Bunker 33 some 200 years after a nuclear war destroys civilization. “Hank was appealing,” MacLachlan says. “I’m a father myself, I have a 15 year old, and I haven’t had the opportunity to play that many fathers actually. So I was looking forward to that.” (His on-screen daughter is played by Ella Purnell, who previously starred in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”)

Although MacLachlan has only briefly had a go at the video game itself (“I tried and I died in the first few seconds. It’s just like, ‘This is a disaster,’” he laughs), he is mindful of how the series will be welcomed by its passionate fanbase. “The people that play the video games that are real fans are both excited and somewhat hesitant, I think, because they’ve been burned before,” MacLachlan says, referring to other video game adaptations that have been less well received. “But as we’ve been progressively getting into more press about it, as more of the teasers have come out, I find that the tone is shifting from one of ‘Oh, I hope I don’t mess it up’ to one of ‘Oh, I’m so excited. I think this looks pretty great.’”

MacLachlan, of course, has his own fanbase thanks to “Twin Peaks” (which is the role he says most people still want to talk to him about when they spot him in public), “Sex and the City” (“It’s such an iconic show, I’m so glad that it’s found a life again on another streamer,” he says of Carrie and co.’s move to Netflix) and of course “Dune,” in which he played messianic warrior Paul Atreides, the role now filled by Timothée Chalamet in Denis Villeneuve’s new version.

MacLachlan, who said he very much enjoyed Villeneuve’s adaptation, says he and Chalamet bonded briefly over their shared character. “Timothée and I ran into each other at a Vanity Fair event in Los Angeles a couple years ago and we just kind of had a moment,” MacLachlan says. “We both talked a little bit about the challenge of Paul, about how interior he is as a character as he’s written in the book.”

MacLachlan has also found a new fanbase on TikTok, where he’s accumulated almost 350,000 followers with comedic posts in which he practices youthful internet lingo. “I have help, to be completely honest about it,” he admits, explaining he works with a creative team on the videos, which he began doing to promote his true crime podcast series “Varnamtown.”

But it turns out MacLachlan is as popular on the cellphone screen as any other. He has even had a go at one of the ubiquitous TikTok dance routines, bopping along to Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”

“I kind of felt like, ‘Hey, I’ve really got this!’ You know, I’m really moving well, in my mind, and then of course, I watched it back,” he recalls of that particular video. “I said, ‘Well, there is an older white man dancing around in a very strange way. He looks like he should be sitting in a chair.’ But there I was. I don’t care. I’m up for anything.”