Twin tricks

Films fea­tur­ing iden­ti­cal twins of­ten rely on spe­cial ef­fects to make the au­di­ence see dou­ble.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By AMY DE KANTER

IN films, iden­ti­cal twins have given (mul­ti­ple) birth to sto­ries of com­edy, mys­tery, fan­tasy and horror. With a few ex­cep­tions, such as the Harry Pot­ter se­ries with the won­der­ful Weasley duo (ac­tors James and Oliver Phelps), film twins are the re­sult of technology rather than bi­ol­ogy.

In other words, twin char­ac­ters are rarely played by ac­tors who are twins in real life or even two sep­a­rate peo­ple in real life.

Here are a few films that con­vinced their stars to do two roles for the price of one. Big Busi­ness (1988)

Gotta love this film in which a rich New York cou­ple gets lost in the back­wa­ters of Hicksville.

The preg­nant wife goes into labour and they have no choice but to take her to the tiny ru­ral clinic where a lo­cal res­i­dent is also giv­ing birth. Both women de­liver twin girls and in the mad fuss, the pairs get mixed up. As adults, the four sis­ters are played, two-apiece by Lily Tom­lin and Bette Mi­dler, two ac­tresses who, though larger than life, there can never be too much of.

De­spite their dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments, the stranded Mi­dler hates the coun­try and wants the ex­cite­ment of the big city. Mis­placed Tom­lin, on the other hand, has al­ways felt like a fish out of wa­ter in New York and longs for a sim­pler life.

The big city twins run a huge cor­po­ra­tion (Tom­lin re­luc­tantly, Mi­dler blood­thirstily) which threat­ens to close down a fac­tory in the coun­try twins’ lit­tle town. So coun­try twins de­cide to do some­thing to fight (Tom­lin fu­ri­ously and Mi­dler re­luc­tantly) the big cor­po­ra­tion. The Par­ent Trap (1998)

This is one of those scarce times in which an old clas­sic gets re­made and pro­duces a new one.

Dis­ney’s The Par­ent Trap is the story of twin girls who are sep­a­rated at birth when their par­ents get di­vorced.

Each par­ent gets cus­tody of one daugh­ter then they part and never speak to each other again.

Many years later, the girls ac­ci­den­tally meet at sum­mer camp and be­come arch en­e­mies be­fore fig­ur­ing out the se­cret of their past (dif­fer­ent hair styles on iden­ti­cal twins has the same iden­tity mud­dling ef­fect as glasses on Su­per­man).

Each wants to meet the par­ent she never knew so the girls de­cide to trade places.

The mod­ern ver­sion starred the then un­known Lind­say Lo­han who shone play­ing sis­ters An­nie and Hal­lie, even more re­mark­able be­cause An­nie grew up in Eng­land and Hal­lie in the United States. So Lo­han had to switch ac­cents.

In the orig­i­nal ver­sion, made 37 years ear­lier, the twins’ names were Su­san and Sharon.

The change of one of the names to Hal­lie was to hon­our the tal­ented child ac­tress who first played the girls, Dis­ney dar­ling Hay­ley Mills. The Man In The Iron Mask (1998)

Here, Leonardo DiCaprio plays the ruler of France, King Louis XIV, as well as twin brother Philippe, who has been im­pris­oned for years so no one will learn of his ex­is­tence and there­fore of his threat to the throne. The Spi­der­wick Chron­i­cles (2008)

As bril­liantly as 10-year-old Lo­han mas­tered an English ac­cent in The Par­ent Trap, English child ac­tor Fred­die High­more adopted an Amer­i­can one to play twins Jared and Simon Grace in the fam­ily fan­tasy film, The Spi­der­wick Chron­i­cles.

It was nice see­ing twins as two broth­ers rather than as a plot de­vice. Movieland can’t take the credit for this be­cause the movie was based on a best-sell­ing se­ries of chil­dren’s books. Adap­ta­tion (2002)

Hav­ing read and loved The Orchid Thief, and hav­ing watched and loved Be­ing John Malkovich, I had no choice but to watch Adap­ta­tion, even though it did of­fer a dou­ble dose of Nicolas Cage as twins Char­lie and Don­ald Kauf­man.

Char­lie is an ag­o­nised pro­fes­sional screen­writer who wants to stay true to his craft while Don­ald sim­ply de­cides to give screen­writ­ing a go and the ut­terly un­o­rig­i­nal rub­bish he writes ends up mak­ing mil­lions at the box of­fice.

It won oo­dles of awards, but I still would have pre­ferred it if they had kept Cage to a min­i­mum and in­stead given us twice as much of his co-star, Meryl Streep. One day we may get a very good pair of twin ac­tors to be in a very good film about twins. Un­til then, spe­cial ef­fects will have to suf­fice.

Fak­ing it: English child ac­tor Fred­die High­more adopted an Amer­i­can ac­cent to play twins Jared and Simon Grace in TheSpi­der­wick Chron­i­cles.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.