Actor Kyle MacLachlan launched his Washington wine brand, Pursued by Bear, more than a decade ago, and in a few months he’ll open his first tasting room in Walla Walla.
The Yakima native and University of Washington grad will also be appearing as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the PBS “Masterpiece” miniseries “Atlantic Crossing,” beginning this weekend.
There’s no grand-opening date set yet for the tasting room, at 9 S. First Ave. “We’re still in the renovation stage,” he said last month by phone from his home in Los Angeles. “My operation is primarily virtual and has been that way really from the very beginning. This will be my first brick-and-mortar establishment.”
MacLachlan sources grapes from around the Columbia Valley and custom crushes them at Abeja in Walla Walla, where Pursued by Bear’s winemaker, Daniel Wampler, works as Abeja’s winemaker.
“I’m up there frequently anyway so [the tasting room] will just be another reason to spend time there,” MacLachlan says, noting his visits include meetings with vineyard managers, blending trials, barrel tastings, etc. In the Seattle area, MacLachlan says Pursued by Bear wines are available at Metropolitan Market and at Barrels … Experience Wine! on Mercer Island.
Starting Sunday, April 4, MacLachlan stars in “Atlantic Crossing,” an unusual entry for “Masterpiece,” which so often delivers British costume dramas. This show is a largely subtitled Norwegian production about the little-known World War II story of the Norwegian Crown Princess Martha (Sofia Helin), who escapes the Nazi invasion of Norway and travels to America, where she lives in the White House at the invitation of MacLachlan’s smitten FDR.
“Masterpiece” executive producer Susanne Simpson acknowledged she hadn’t pursued “Atlantic Crossing” because “it was a little different than what we normally do” until the pandemic hit and she went looking for new products to keep “Masterpiece” in originals.
“We were very happy to find it,” she says. “With Kyle and Sofia, it wasn’t a very hard choice for us.”
MacLachlan says he was drawn to the project by the little-known nature of the story, the opportunity to play FDR and the focus on Martha.
“This is really a woman’s journey and her discovering her voice,” he says, “and that she has the ability to make change in the world at a period of time when that was not necessarily accepted.”
“We intentionally didn’t get too much into the personal,” MacLachlan says. “We hinted at it.”
MacLachlan says he loves the challenge and fear when it comes to a new role “and in some ways the uncertainty as to the ability to pull something off.”
He mentions his role playing multiple versions of Agent Cooper in Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return.”
“When I read the script and realized that David [Lynch] was asking me to do not just one, but three characters, it got very exciting,” MacLachlan says. “But the character of Mr. C, the much darker version of Cooper, was one that I really wrestled with. … And I said, ‘Well, if I’m going to try this, the best person to go into the water with would be David.’ You just have to have people around you that can support that journey.”
As for any future “Twin Peaks” journeys, MacLachlan says he’s waiting to hear from Lynch on whether there will be more or not. In the meantime, MacLachlan enjoys interacting with fans on social media, especially on memorable dates in the show’s history, including Feb. 24 (the day Agent Cooper first entered the town of Twin Peaks in 1989) or June 10, which will be the 30th anniversary of the original show’s finale.
“It’s fun to engage with the fans, which I do, and they seem to like it,” he says. “There’s still a really astonishing fan base for the show and it’s got resonance and relevance even today.”
Later this year, MacLachlan will take in director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” MacLachlan starred in Lynch’s movie version of the story in 1984.
“I’m excited to see it,” MacLachlan says. “It’s one of my favorite books and I look forward to seeing what the director Villeneuve does with it.”
MacLachlan will have his choice of how to see it when it’s released on Oct. 1 after Warner Bros. announced its 2021 movies will debut on the same date in theaters and on HBO Max.
“I think the simultaneous release is kind of the wave of the future,” MacLachlan says. “It’s disheartening though because a movie like that is meant to be seen on the large screen.”