The Secret Twins, directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska and screenwriter Andrea Seigel, is based on a book by Marjorie Wallace. They retreated into their own imaginations and isolated themselves by only talking to one another. Their inability to understand them eventually resulted in their institutionalization.
Co-stars Wright and Lawrance discussed how they were moved by June and Jennifer, the importance of finding their chemistry in bringing these sisters to life, what makes these women so special, and the regret of leaving these characters behind. While Wright talked about the agony of making Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Chadwick Boseman passed away.
Collider: I was in such awe of your performances in this. It was truly remarkable to witness the humanity you gave these women.
LETITIA WRIGHT: Thank you.
TAMARA LAWRANCE: Thank you.
When this project came your way, and you read this script, how did it affect you deeply, emotionally? I cant imagine what it must have been like to read about their lives on the page.
WRIGHT: Yes, we were familiar with the script prior to reading it. It was a familiar tale of twins sisters who got into trouble and were sent to Broadmoor, a psychiatric facility, but later on, we realized that the narrative was different. The main thing that stood out to me was how individual they were. We gave ourselves the opportunity to demonstrate how human they are.
Tamara, since you came to this position after Letitia was already signed on, what was the process like for you in getting this job? Was it more than a simple audition?
LAWRANCE: It was a success in several ways. I read scripts and did tapes. I think what made it so special was the obvious need for chemistry with these two parts. And then, at the end of the process, the other producers asked me to take on the position of executive producer.
What was the experience like for you as a Letitia? Were you interacting with different actors? Did you know immediately when you came across the one who needed to play this role?
WRIGHT: Yes. Our casting director, Kharmel [Cochrane], did a fantastic job of finding the actresses that we needed to connect with. Before going into the room with Tamara, I saw her tape. I saw her portray Jennifer in a way that I had never seen before, and that was incredible. She was incredible. For me, the casting process was a simple one because everyone felt the same.
Chemistry is always that little thing that you can't quite describe, and for this, it appears to go even beyond chemistry because the relationship is so different.
WRIGHT: You definitely need someone special to take the lead. We're so grateful that Tamara found us. She's meant for the job. It's what was intended to happen.
It's so heartbreaking to watch these two being bullied, misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and eventually imprisoned. They weren't criminals, but they were harshly punished. It must have been so confusing and exhausting for them to go through. Letitia, what did you notice in June that made her special to you?
WRIGHT: Its difficult to talk about June without talking about Jennifer because they are so intertwined. What I saw, that was special about both of the twins, is their desire to delight the world in a way that no one else would. They dedicated themselves to reading novels and learning new words in the dictionary, and I wanted that to be shown in our story.
Tamara, what about your relationship with Jennifer? What made Jennifer, and in the bond that she had with June, stand out to you?
LAWRANCE: I found Jennifer's perspective on her sister fascinating because it reawakened my understanding about twinship. She was a person who, for me, was incredible. I recognized her as a teen who was going through a lot of difficult things in really difficult circumstances, and I was like, No.
They couldnt be without each other, and yet they were often attempting to physically assault and hurt each other. What do you think the connection stems from? Do you believe it stems from the fact that they both knew how to not only be inseparable, but they both wanted to be individuals?
WRIGHT: Yes, you answered it perfectly. Its a difficult relationship. They cant be together, but they cant be without each other. Its a sad cycle, really. All they knew was that they had to learn how to relate to other people. The other would then feel loyalty to return. It was quite an interesting experiment to observe and analyze.
LAWRANCE: I agree. It's important to remember that this is a multifaceted affair. It's not just a toxic relationship with anyone, with a partner or a sibling or a family member. It's also a shared obligation with someone who you've met before. That's why I think twins are so fascinating to listeners.
The trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was absolutely stunning, and I've never seen a trailer like that before. I've never even imagined that it would be so powerful.
WRIGHT: Definitely. It was a safe space for me to express myself in the wake of my brother's death. I think everyone is in for a treat. We get to connect to humanity in a way that is unique. We have two sisters who are all just trying to find their way and seeing how society can sometimes let them down. Definitely see The Silent Twins first.
What do you think the future holds for you guys? Is it something you want to do more of now that you've both become involved as producers, like with this film, and you've got more of a say in what you're involved in and how the characters are depicted?
LAWRANCE: It was my first time producing. This crew, who I know Letitia championed, was so gracious in allowing me to take part in the whole story, not just in the performance and editing, but also in sound and grading, as well as all the ways in which everything is involved in telling the story. I would like to continue to produce more, because I realize that the more voices and life experiences that are involved on both sides of the camera, the richer the storytelling will become.
It's certainly one thing to find your voice, but this title of producer ensures that other people must actually hear your voice.
WRIGHT: It does give you some credit in terms of your opinion and respect, but it must also be earned. We learned early on that we needed Black women to be a part of the narrative, both in front of the camera and behind the camera. We did our best, and Tamara took on the responsibility.
Did it feel different to say goodbye to someone who is so collaborative and you are such a part of the team, and you spend all this time thinking about the physicality, the mannerisms, the accent, and really just embodying these women? Did you find it difficult to leave them behind and not be playing them anymore?
LAWRANCE: Yes, it felt different for me, with this job, because of the closeness that I developed with my co-star, which is not an everyday experience when you co-lead a film. Sometimes, it's helpful to take a moment to reflect on yourself and how you've made a difference. Finding ways to let go of everything, in ways that are personal, is the best thing to do.
The Silent Twins is now available in cinemas.