ADG Perspective

September-October 2023

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5 0 P E R S P E C T I V E | S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 2 3 David Cronenberg's iconic 1988 film Dead Ringers is the story of identical twin gynecologists who share much more than the same occupation. Through his signature body horror aesthetic, Cronenberg used the twin brothers' extraordinary talent and ambition to examine the notion of identity. A longstanding fan of the cult classic, executive producer and star Rachel Weisz championed the gender swap adaptation by enlisting the acclaimed British playwright and former Succession writer Alice Birch to reimagine the beloved film for a limited series. Working within the genre of horror and psychological thriller, Alice acutely uses the brutal history and often maddening present state of obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) in America as fertile background to expand the Cronenberg narrative. In contrast to the original film and much of what exists in the history of film and TV regarding 'birth,' Alice frames the series from the female perspective, deftly and sometimes rather cheekily crossing between the personal and professional lives of the twins, examining the timely, yet perpetual, issues of body autonomy, toxic behavior and power dynamics. From my earliest conversations with Rachel, Alice and Sean Durkin (EP and director of episodes one and two), my design mandate emerged twofold; to capture the energy and reality of the socioeconomic status of the twins' private and professional lives in Manhattan, while also allowing their deeply enmeshed relationship and ever-evolving psychological states to be reflected in their environments. Using the original film/ A. WESTCOTT MEMORIAL —BETSY IRONS OB/GYN WING SET. STAGE BUILD, SILVER CUP STUDIOS EAST. SKETCHUP MODEL AND BLENDER RENDERING BY MARC WHEELER FOR FLOORING AND LIGHTING STUDY. B. WESTCOTT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL–BETSY IRONS OB/GYN WING PRODUCTION STILL. COURTESY OF AMAZON. A B C

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