Piotrek Krol and Smithy are two incarnations of a man who is trapped by the Phantom's curse. In old world Poland, the man (name unknown) was cheating on his wife with the Lost Girl. He is now doomed to relive the cycle over and over, taking on the role of the cuckolded husband. As Piotrek, he is married to Nikki; as Smithy, he is married to Sue.
Things That Happened Edit
The man originally lived in late nineteenth or early twentieth century Poland. He seems to have had a difficult relationship with his wife, possibly stemming from her inability to give him children. One night, his wife, jealous of his affair with the Lost Girl (and possibly under the Phantom's control), followed him up a dark staircase and murdered him with a screwdriver.
Piotrek Krol Edit
Piotrek is married to Nikki. He is controlling and aloof, and has a reputation for being "the most powerful guy around" and for knowing "everything."
When Nikki is cast in On High in Blue Tomorrows, her friends (and even the butler) celebrate with her. However, Piotrek merely lurks on the staircase, seeming angry. Later, when Nikki and Piotrek hosts a Polish-speaking couple, Piotrek seems annoyed and embarrassed when Nikki claims she is unable to speak Poland, and to her annoyance, he insists that she understands more than she lets on. Piotrek and Nikki's head manservant seems to be Piotrek's hire: he is heavily Polish-accented, vaguely sinister, and seems to have little respect for Nikki (in contrast to Henry the butler).
After he and Nikki host Devon for dinner, Piotrek takes Devon upstairs and threatens him not to try to sleep with Nikki:
My wife is not a free agent. I don’t allow her that. The bonds of marriage are real bonds. The vows we take, we honor and enforce them for ourselves, by ourselves, or, if necessary, they’re enforced for us. Either way, she is bound. You understand? There are consequences to one’s actions. And there would for certain be consequences to wrong actions. Dark they would be, and inescapable. Why instigate a need to suffer?Although Piotrek's warning is chilling, it is possible that he was aware that Nikki would be swept up by the curse if she slept with Devon, and was trying to save her, particularly given the similarity of language about consequences to the words of Visitor #1 and Visitor #2.
Visitor #1, seemingly aware of Nikki's fate, teases the fact that Nikki's husband is "involved" in Nikki's potential new film, even though Nikki disagrees. Later, Kingsley is overheard talking about a "90-year-old niece" who continually asks him who is playing Smithy.
Once Nikki becomes trapped in the role of Sue, her husband Smithy looks exactly like Piotrek, even though he was not supposed to play the role in the film.
Smithy shares Piotrek's cold nature and possessive tendencies. However, he seems to be far less successful than Piotrek, and is constantly insecure and angry. He hardly speaks to or acknowledges Sue, except to demean her or initiate an argument.
He first appears when Sue walks through the "Axxon N." door and finds herself as an interloper on the soundstage. Running from Devon, she sees Smithy wearing a green coat inside the window of a set flat.
Shortly after Sue leaves the soundstage and enters their house, becoming fully part of the world of the film, Smithy is seen lurking around the house in the green coat. He seems to take the coat off, hiding it from her, and climbs into bed, ignoring her. He is again seen wearing his green coat when Sue comes home with groceries. Although she calls out, he hides from her in the hallway.
Smithy berates Sue for buying him "piss cold beer," and is further displeased to learn that she is pregnant.
Smithy and Sue seem comparatively cheerful when they host a backyard party with hot dogs. Smithy spills ketchup all over his shirt, in which Sue sees the Lost Girl. A troupe of circus men then show up. Smithy cheerfully welcomes them, and tells Nikki he will be leaving to "take care for the animals" in a traveling show in the Baltic region.
Sue says that one night before Smithy left, he started acting weird, talking "foreign talk" and "tellin' loud fuckin' stories." He then beat Sue brutally, saying, "I'm not who you think I am," and telling her that he knows for a fact he cannot father children.
Smithy is seen taking care of the horses in the Cyrk Zalewski.
In Eastern Europe, Smithy and Janek search for the Phantom. They arrive at a trailer in the woods, where Gordy tells Smithy that he is gone. Smithy asks, “Everybody?” Gordy responds, “You’re nothing! You’ve done nothing!” When Smith asks where the Phantom went, Gordy eventually acquiesces and says that he “talked, mumbled something about Inland Empire.”
Three old Polish men hold a séance to summon the Lost Girl. She sends for Smithy, who arrives with Janek. Although Smithy can hear her, he does not see her. Marek asks if Smithy works for someone, and he says he does. Marek says that this is the person the Lost Girl spoke of. Marek then gives Smithy a gun.
Nikki/Sue later finds the gun stashed in Smithy's bedroom drawer on top of his green coat. She uses it to kill the Phantom.
He comes home one day with his son to find the Lost Girl newly freed by Nikki. The family reunites lovingly.
More Things That Happened (Deleted Scenes) Edit
Smithy is seen making several mysterious, late-night trips out of the house. As he is preparing go out one night, Sue asks where he is going at 11:30pm. Smithy, seeming confused, says, "I wonder what I was thinking."
After returning from one late-night trip, Smithy asks Sue, "Were there any calls?" This is a line also spoken by Jack.
Sue says that one night, she saw Smithy take something hidden out of the bureau drawer, and then climbed into bed and turned out the light.
Smithy does tricks with a horse at Cyrk Zalewiski.
- Smithy's line to Sue, "I'm not who you think I am," was said to him by his wife in the original Polish iteration of the story. He also assumes his former wife's inability to have children.
- Although Smithy's green coat has sinister connotations throughout the film, it ultimately is linked to the gun that Sue uses to kill the Phantom and free the Lost Girl. This is in contrast to the Rabbits series, where "the man in the green coat" apparently perpetrates a horrific act.
- In the Lynch documentary, David Lynch can be seen dyeing the green coat.