Oscar winner Rachel Weisz, and Rachel Weisz, dominated Canneseries on Saturday, as the audience gathered at the Lumière Auditorium in Cannes broke into spontaneous applause after the first scene of her new show “Dead Ringers.”
Premiering in main competition, the six-episode limited Prime Video series – created by Alice Birch – played with the viewers’ emotions all throughout its first two episodes, eliciting frequent laughs and delivering more expletives than Logan Roy monologues, but also causing a few walk-outs, seemingly provoked by its detailed depictions of childbirth and medical procedures.
A brand new take on the novel “Twins” by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, later adapted by David Cronenberg in 1988 and starring Jeremy Irons, “Dead Ringers” sees Weisz as ambitious New York obstetricians – and twin sisters – Beverly and Elliot.
Introduced while verbally destroying an especially clumsy suitor they viciously nickname as “Larry” (Kevin Anton), the Mantle twins clearly suffer no fools, but they also have dreams of their own. Having witnessed way too much suffering and loss in their line of work, they want to create a birthing center that would change the existing system once and for all.
As they set out to turn it into reality, and even find a wealthy patron in Jennifer Ehle’s Rebecca, their differences start to outweigh even the most striking similarities. But before that, there will be drugs, sex and fancy kombucha, and Weisz giving it her absolute all. Both as restrained Beverly, trying to become a mother herself, and as meat-loving, foul-mouthed spitfire Elliot.
Known for “Lady Macbeth” and “The Wonder,” both starring Florence Pugh, Birch has already scored an Emmy nomination for “Normal People” and a WGA Award for “Succession,” and penned another Sally Rooney adaptation, “Conversations With Friends.”
The British playwright and screenwriter, who walked Canneseries’ pink carpet in a suitably pink ensemble, was joined in France by Weisz and “The Umbrella Academy” star Britne Oldford, cast as Beverly’s love interest, that puts the sisters’ relationship to the test.
Ming Peiffer, Rachel De-Lahay, Susan Soon He Stanton and Miriam Battye co-wrote the show, with Sean Durkin, Karena Evans, Lauren Wolkstein and Karyn Kusama directing. Poppy Liu, Michael Chernus and Emily Meade round up the cast.
Weisz, who already won an Oscar for “The Constant Gardener” and has continued to combine arthouse fare (“The Favourite”) with more audience-friendly films (“Black Widow,” “The Mummy”), also serves as an executive producer.
Produced by Amazon Studios and Annapurna Television, “Dead Ringers” will premiere on April 21.