Of all the stars to come out of Twin Peaks, Sherilyn Fenn’s star briefly shined the brightest and sadly, she was the most misused by Hollywood. While it is true that Fenn has worked regularly since Twin Peaks went off the air, she has rarely gotten the great roles that someone with her talent deserves. Instead, her performances have far too often been the best thing about an otherwise mediocre film.
For example, Ruby.
In this very speculative biopic about the strip club owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald and whose organized crime background has put him at the center of a thousand conspiracy theories, Danny Aiello plays Jack Ruby and Sherilyn Fenn plays his only friend, Sheryl Ann Dujean (or, when she’s stripping in the Carousel Club, Candy Cane). The film portrays Jack Ruby as being a low-level mobster who is never as valuable or as important to his superiors as he thinks he is. In this movie, Ruby is always on the outside looking in on the conspiracy and, when he kills Oswald, it is because he wants to prove that he is more than just a small time hood. Candy, who was a composite of several Carousel Club dancers, maintains a strong platonic friendship with Jack and is always there for him to talk to, except for when she goes to Vegas to perform for and sleep with the President.
Ruby came out as the same time as JFK and it often seems like a fanfic based on Stone’s film. Low budget and overwritten, Ruby never works as a movie but Danny Aiello is perfectly cast as the bombastic but insecure Jack Ruby. Unfortunately, Ruby‘s screenplay often does not seem to know what it wants to say about its main character. As Candy, Fenn is not given nearly enough to do but she still manages to show the same natural spark that made her a star on Twin Peaks.
Sherilyn Fenn is not the only Twin Peaks cast member to have a role in Ruby. Keep an eye out for a post-Twin Peaks, pre-X-Files David Duchovny, playing the role of J.D. Tippit.