New Amazon thriller series Dead Ringers is based on a true story

Dead Ringers - Courtesy Amazon Prime Video
Dead Ringers - Courtesy Amazon Prime Video /

The 1988 film Dead Ringers was based on the real-life story of Stewart and Cyril Marcus, identical twin gynecologists who lived in New York City. When the two were 45 years old, they were found dead in Cyril’s apartment, which was littered with trash, old food and bottles of pills.

Rumor originally had it that the two had died of barbiturate withdrawal in a suicide pact, but a toxicology report found that Steward had died of a barbiturate overdose. His brother died a few days later, after what may have actually been withdrawal.

It’s a fascinating story, and David Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future) wrote and directed the film. Jeremy Irons played twins Elliot and Bev, who run a fertility clinic in Toronto. Elliot regularly seduces the women who come to the clinic for treatment, then when he moves on to the next patient, allows Bev to impersonate him. Everything changes when an actress named Claire (Genevieve Bujold) comes into their lives.

Dead Ringers is a well-done psychological thriller, and Jeremy Irons won several awards for his performance as the twins. Now the film is being adapted by Amazon Prime as a series. There is a gender flip here, however, since Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel, Dream House) is playing the twin doctors.

Dead Ringers
Dead Ringers – Courtesy Amazon Prime /

In this version of the story, Bev and Elliot are doctors who attempt to advance women’s health care, while also performing unethical medical treatments. Like the real-life Marcus brothers and the characters in the original film, these siblings share lovers and drugs.

The Dead Ringers series also features Britne Oldford (American Horror Story: Asylum), Poppy Liu (Hacks), Michael Chernus (Orange is the New Black), Emily Meade (The Deuce) and Jennifer Ehle (Saint Maud).

There are multiple directors, including Sean Durkin (The Nest), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), Karena Evans (P-Valley) and Lauren Wolkstein (Y: The Last Man).

Dead Ringers will debut on Amazon Prime April 21.

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Did you see the original film Dead Ringers? If so, how do you feel about the updated series coming out next month? Tell us about it in the comments section.