Rachel Weisz said playing identical twin gynecologists in her upcoming psychological thriller was the “biggest challenge of her professional life”.
The actress, 52, plays both Elliot and Beverly Mantle — who aim to push the boundaries of medical ethics to challenge outdated practices and bring women’s healthcare to the forefront — in the new Prime miniseries Dead Ringers.
It is a modern take on David Cronenberg’s 1988 film of the same name, but with a genre adaptation on the dual lead role played for the first time by Jeremy Irons.
Weisz told the PA news agency on Tuesday at a special screening in central London: “It was a huge challenge, definitely the biggest challenge of my professional life.
“But it really came from writing. So these two distinct characters are completely different from each other, Elliot is really hungry and ravenous and full of appetite and bored easily and Beverly is quiet and patient and observant.
“And they have different dreams, big dreams to change the world of medicine.
“But on the page, I had Alice’s (Birch) words, so they were two completely separate people with psychological layers and depths and contradictions within them, which is what makes the characters real to me.”
The twins also share everything from drugs to lovers, which causes tension between the brothers, as well as their ambition to push the medical field to new heights.
“Now it’s set up to intersect with contemporary medicine and also something we call near-fi science because it’s a science that’s just out of reach but we’re almost there. So it’s now and it’s tomorrow,” the actress added.
“I think anyone who’s in the mood for a twisted psychosexual thriller about very dysfunctional, co-dependent twins, then it’s for them.”
Weisz became a household name after starring opposite Brendan Fraser in the blockbuster The Mummy, won an Academy Award for her role in The Constant Gardener and starred in a number of acclaimed films, including The Favorite, The Lobster, About A Boy and Black Widow.
The limited series was executive produced by Weisz and Emmy-nominated writer Alice Birch, who also created the show.
Birch, who has previously worked on hit series including Succession and Normal People, said he thought Cronenberg’s film was groundbreaking at the time and hopes their series will continue to push boundaries and surprise people.
Reflecting on why they wanted to delve into women’s health and the challenges it brings, including infertility and miscarriage, she added, “I feel like we haven’t seen this on television.
“I think as soon as we learned that the twins were going to be obstetricians as well as gynecologists, which is slightly different than Cronenberg, I think you start thinking ‘Well, who are the patients? Who will they meet?’
“And then you can’t really stop. There’s so much out there, you do a little bit of research and suddenly you’re just overwhelmed by the amount of amazing stories out there.”
The cast also includes Britne Oldford as Genevieve, Poppy Liu as Greta, Michael Chernus as Tom, Jennifer Ehle as Rebecca and Emily Meade as Susan.
Dead Ringers will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on April 21st.