Amazon Studios and Annapurna TV are backing the project, which Weisz will also be an executive producer on, along with Normal People lead writer Alice Birch. The series will mark the Oscar-winning actress’ first role for TV.
In the original film, Jeremy Irons played successful twin gynecologists named Elliot and Beverly Mantle, who share some of their patients sexually without the women knowing which man is which. But when Beverly becomes emotionally attached to an actress (Genevieve Bujold), the co-dependent twins descend into depression, sexual depravity and drug addiction with harrowing results.
The new version, described as a gender-swapped “modern take” on the material, will feature Weisz as the identical Mantle sisters, who “share everything: drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes, including pushing the boundaries on medical ethics in an effort to challenge antiquated practices and bring women’s healthcare to the forefront.”
Amazon Studios COO and Co-Head of Television Albert Cheng said, “This update to Dead Ringers explores the darker side of medicine, obsession, and the human condition, making it a compelling addition to our slate of Amazon Original series.”
Annapurna’s Chief Content Officer Sue Naegle added, “This series is a thrilling tale about ambition, self-interest, and the manipulation of power. Rachel’s unequivocal depth as an actor make her the perfect person to bring the new Mantle twins to life in Alice’s fresh take on the original, which will no doubt be even more twisted.”
The 32-year-old film was based loosely on a novel by Bari Woods and Jack Geasland called Twins, which itself was a highly fictionalized account of real-life twin gynecologists Stewart and Cyril Marcus, who were found dead in Cyril’s Manhattan apartment on July 17, 1975, of drug-related causes.
The movie was a transitional one for Cronenberg, marking the point at which he began turning from the more overtly graphic body horror of movies like The Brood, Videodrome and The Fly toward explorations of gender, identity and psychosis in efforts such as M. Butterfly, Crash and Spider.
The film’s startling visual effects allowed Irons to completely inhabit two different roles, often sharing the screen with himself and adding subtle touches to differentiate the brothers. His achievement was overlooked by the Academy Awards that year, although Irons thanked Cronenberg the following year when he won Best Actor for Reversal of Fortune.
Weisz will be seen this November in Marvel’s Black Widow, making her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut opposite Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh and David Harbour.