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In the 1980s, Mark Frost worked for three years as a writer for the television police drama Hill Street Blues, which featured a large cast and extended story lines. Following his success with The Elephant Man (1980) and Blue Velvet in 1986, David Lynch was hired by a Warner Bros. executive to direct a film about the life of Marilyn Monroe, based on the best-selling book Goddess. Lynch recalls being "sort of interested. I loved the idea of this woman in trouble, but I didn't know if I liked it being a real story. " Lynch and Frost first worked together on the Goddess screenplay and although the project was dropped by Warner Bros. , they became good friends. They went on to work as writer and director for One Saliva Bubble, a film with Steve Martin attached to star, but it was never made either. Lynch's agent, Tony Krantz, encouraged him to do a television show. He took Lynch to Nibblers restaurant in Los Angeles and said, "You should do a show about real life in America—your vision of America the same way you demonstrated it in Blue Velvet. " Lynch got an "idea of a small-town thing", and though he and Frost were not keen on it, they decided to humor Krantz. Frost wanted to tell "a sort of Dickensian story about multiple lives in a contained area that could sort of go perpetually. " Originally, the show was to be titled North Dakota and set in the Plains region of North Dakota.