Why Lesley From Birdman Could Be Betty From Mulholland Drive?: Recently I re-watched Mulholland Drive and 2014’s Oscar Winner Birdman within a week and it felt as if the characters played by Naomi Watts in each of the films are somehow connected. I thought about it for a few hours and I ended up creating a legit fan theory between the two films. Since I have mentioned, that it is, in fact, a fan theory so pardon me if this seems like a bit crazy, but at the same time, I believe, it makes sense. It’s funny how fan theories are convincingly possible and impossible at the same time.
There are potential Spoilers ahead and if you haven’t seen these two films, I suggest you bookmark this article and come back later after watching them.
I believe, Naomi Watts’ character Lesley from Birdman is actually Betty from Mulholland Drive, meaning they are the same person in different points of her life.
I will start with the chronological order of the events that unfolded:
2001: Betty, a new girl in Los Angeles, is an optimistic person who thinks success and stardom are destined to be hers and just a couple of films will make her a movie star. The scene where she arrives at the LA Airport is so deceptively bright and sunny that it’s creepy to think of it now. It’s one of those eerie David Lynch device that makes you distrust the visuals in any of his movies.
Related To Birdman And Mulholland Drive: The Anatomy of David Lynch
Coming back, later in the film, Betty wakes up from a long sombre dream as Diane Selwyn. As she woke up, she finds herself as one of the many struggling actors in Hollywood who do small parts in big studio movies. She is also an insecure girlfriend of Camilla Rhodes, played by Laura Harring. Camilla, on the other hand, is a successful actress with whom Diane did a film as an insignificant character.
During the last few scenes of Mulholland Drive, we see Betty hiring a contract killer to kill her movie star girlfriend Camilla. Camilla being dead, and Betty coming to terms with her misplaced sense of revenge, she is plagued by guilt. None of what she did brought any peace for Betty and she ends up shooting herself.
Now, somehow Betty survived that gunshot [the scene where she shoots herself was a very vaguely displayed scene btw] and decided to start her life again, afresh, leaving every ugly detail of her life behind. Betty moves to New York and changed her name to Lesley, a new identity in a new city and the beginning of a new life. Since she couldn’t do much at the movies, she tried her luck at the theatre and got some acceptance there working alongside Riggan Thomson, played by Michael Keaton in Birdman.
Also Read: Birdman (2014): Michael Keaton’s Magic-Realism
2014: It’s been more than a decade now for Lesley performing at the theatre and she adapted well to this new life until the day comes when in an emotional outbreak, Laura, a character in Birdman, kisses Lesley.
The expression on Lesley’s face tells everything. She isn’t new to this, she has kissed a woman before, but it has been more than a decade since she left her life as Betty and became Lesley. Now, when Laura kissed her, the memories of Camilla flashes in front of her; even if she killed her, there was no doubt that she loved Camilla and thus she embraces the truth about her sexual orientation and any other thing from the past. Betty/Lesley decided that she will no longer act to be this new person as she continued kissing Laura. Fin.