Dead Ringers writer on impact of Rachel Weisz thriller's graphic scenes
"Violence is on the screen all the time – I find it interesting that childbirth just isn't depicted in that way."
If there's one series that has drummed up fanfare since the eerie trailer dropped just last month, it's Dead Ringers.
The new Prime Video series is a modern take on the classic 1988 David Cronenberg film of the same name and stars Rachel Weisz in the gender-flipped double-lead role of Elliot and Beverly Mantle.
We follow Elliot and Beverly as they push the boundaries on medical ethics, and naturally that means the series is home to a number of graphic scenes.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press at a Q&A at the show's premiere in London, series writer and executive producer Alice Birch spoke about the "hyper-realistic graphic scenes" in Dead Ringers, saying that she "wanted it to feel like a real place, working in a Manhattan hospital now".
The writer, who is also behind Normal People and The Wonder, explained: "I felt really interested in seeing that on screen. Death is often sanitised – death is on screen all the time, violence is on the screen all the time.
"I find it interesting that childbirth just isn’t depicted in that way. I thought it was interesting rather than important."
The series, like the film, is an eerie exploration of twins and medical professionals who take things that little step too far.
The new limited series shows how Elliot and Beverly share everything from drugs to lovers, and a desire to do whatever it takes when it comes to attempting to revolutionise the way people have babies.
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Unlike the film, the Mantle twins are obstetricians rather than gynaecologists and speaking about that difference, Birch said: "I think we were just following what we were interested in.
"In the Jeremy Irons film, they’re just gynaecologists and we thought it would be quite interesting if they were also obstetricians. You’re consistently shocked that you don’t know this [field], you don’t see it on our screens. We were just following what we thought was interesting."
When asked about writing the series, Birch added that it was "the most challenging thing I’ve ever worked on as well as being the most joyful".
Naturally, there will be comparisons drawn between the film and series but Weisz also revealed at the Q&A that this new take on the story formulated from a "really simple idea".
She said: "I loved the film, I loved the dysfunctional relationship between these twins. We knew there wanted to be joy and fun in the tone.”
When asked about adapting the tale for TV, Birch said: "Telly is such a propulsive thing, you’ve got to feed it plot and cliffhangers."
"We wanted it to be its own thing and to go in its own new direction and to feel like this new version. There are nods to the film throughout, Easter eggs."
Along with Academy Award winner Weisz, the cast also includes Britne Oldford (The Umbrella Academy), Poppy Liu (Better Call Saul), Michael Chernus (Severance), Jennifer Ehle (Yellowstone: 1923) and Emily Meade (The Deuce).
Dead Ringers is now streaming on Prime Video. Sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime Video and pay £8.99 a month after that.
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