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HISTORY

The film begins with voice-over narration by Tony Jay as his character, "Werner," explaining the details of the genetic experiment through which "Julius" and "Vincent Benedict" were born.
       According to a 12 Dec 1988 HR article, William Osborne and William Davies sold the story idea for Twins to filmmaker Ivan Reitman, who signed on to produce and direct. Once Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito agreed to star, Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod wrote the screenplay, making moderate revisions to the original premise: To capitalize on the physical comedy between Schwarzenegger and DeVito, Harris and Weingrod prolonged the antagonism between their characters as long as possible while centering the story on the search for their estranged mother. Although a writers’ strike was likely to interfere with development, Reitman negotiated an independent deal with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to allow work to continue.
       During pre-production, the 31 Jan 1988 LAT noted that the picture was temporarily known as The Twins Project because the title Twins was already in use for David Cronenberg’s latest feature, starring Jeremy Irons in dual roles. However, the 14 Jul 1988 DV reported that Cronenberg, a personal friend of Reitman, relinquished use of the title, and instead released his film as Dead Ringers (1988, see entry).
       A 28 Jun 1988 HR production chart stated that principal photography began 28 Apr 1988. According to an undated HR article, Reitman scouted locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada before deciding to shoot the majority of exteriors in Taos and Santa Fe, NM. During three days in Taos, production filmed ... More Less

The film begins with voice-over narration by Tony Jay as his character, "Werner," explaining the details of the genetic experiment through which "Julius" and "Vincent Benedict" were born.
       According to a 12 Dec 1988 HR article, William Osborne and William Davies sold the story idea for Twins to filmmaker Ivan Reitman, who signed on to produce and direct. Once Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito agreed to star, Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod wrote the screenplay, making moderate revisions to the original premise: To capitalize on the physical comedy between Schwarzenegger and DeVito, Harris and Weingrod prolonged the antagonism between their characters as long as possible while centering the story on the search for their estranged mother. Although a writers’ strike was likely to interfere with development, Reitman negotiated an independent deal with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to allow work to continue.
       During pre-production, the 31 Jan 1988 LAT noted that the picture was temporarily known as The Twins Project because the title Twins was already in use for David Cronenberg’s latest feature, starring Jeremy Irons in dual roles. However, the 14 Jul 1988 DV reported that Cronenberg, a personal friend of Reitman, relinquished use of the title, and instead released his film as Dead Ringers (1988, see entry).
       A 28 Jun 1988 HR production chart stated that principal photography began 28 Apr 1988. According to an undated HR article, Reitman scouted locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada before deciding to shoot the majority of exteriors in Taos and Santa Fe, NM. During three days in Taos, production filmed at the Sun God Motel, the Rio Grande Gorge, and the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. Santa Fe locations included San Francisco Street and the Randall Davey Audubon Center. The final day in New Mexico was spent outside the U.S. Department of Energy’s regional headquarters in Los Alamos, a highly classified property that required special permission for filming. Roughly $200,000 of the $14 million budget was spent in New Mexico. Production continued in Los Angeles, CA, through the summer, when a 17 Aug 1988 DV brief announced the completion of principal photography.
       The 5 Dec 1988 DV stated that the film premiered that night at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as a benefit for the Special Olympics. The Los Angeles premiere followed on 8 Dec 1988 at the AMC Century 14, with proceeds donated to the Westside Children’s Center.
       Despite mostly negative critical reviews, Twins was a commercial success, taking in $11,174, 980 during its opening weekend, as advertised in the 15 Dec 1988 HR. An 18 Dec 1988 LAT article noted that Schwarzenegger, DeVito, and Reitman all opted out of an upfront salary in exchange for a percentage of the film’s rentals. DeVito and Reitman accepted a figure of roughly 8.75% to Schwarzenegger’s 17.5%. On 6 Mar 1989, HR announced that the film surpassed $100 million domestically, making it one of only six Universal pictures to do so at that time.
       As a result, Universal decided to take advantage of its continuing theatrical success and released the film on videocassette on 15 Jun 1989. According to the 21 Apr 1989 DV, this marked the fastest theatrical-to-home video turnaround to date.
       End credits give “Thanks” to the following: Sylvester Stallone; The New Mexico Film Commission; The Los Alamos Department of Energy; The Randall Davey Audubon Center, Santa Fe; The Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos; Valerie Tomlinson Graves; and The E. S. Lawrence Gallery, Taos. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1988.
---
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1988
p. 15.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1988.
---
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1988.
---
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 1988
pp. 5-6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1988
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
31 Jan 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Dec 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
18 Dec 1988.
---
New York Times
9 Dec 1988
Section C, p. 18.
Variety
7 Dec 1988
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam asst
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
Steadicam op
Steadicam asst
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Rigging gaffer
2d best boy
Key grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Nettman Cam-Remote by
TBS best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art research asst
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec
Lead person
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Labor foreman
Paint foreman
Standby painter
Const coord (New Mexico), 2d unit
Propmaker
Propmaker
Propmaker
Painter
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus supv
Asst mus supv
Project mgr
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Mr. Delerue's score rec and mixed by
Evergreen Studios at Radford Studio City, Calif.
Mr. Edelman's score rec and mixed by
Cherokee Recording Studios, Inc., Hollywood, Calif.
Mr. Edelman's score rec and mixed by
Cherokee Recording Studios, Inc., Hollywood, Calif.
SOUND
Sd mixer
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Spec sd eff
ADR group coord
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Asst spec eff
Titles and opticals by
DANCE
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Body makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Loc liaison
Asst to Mr. Reitman
Asst to Mr. Medjuck and Mr. Gross
Asst to Mr. DeVito
Asst to Mr. Schwarzenegger
Asst to Mr. Schwarzenegger
Asst to Mr. Schwarzenegger
Mr. Schwarzenegger's pub
Casting asst
Marking consultant
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Craft service
First aid
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Catering
Catering
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Extras casting
New York casting
Aerial coord, 2d unit
Transportation capt (New Mexico), 2d unit
Office asst (New Mexico), 2d unit
Extras casting
Extras coord
Promotional video
Driver
Cooks helper
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Twins," performed by Philip Bailey and Little Richard, written by Skip Scarborough and Lorrin "Smokey" Bates
"Yakety Yak," performed by 2 Live Crew with the Coasters, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, courtesy of Skyywalker Records, Inc. and Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Brother To Brother," performed by The Spinners, written by Tom Kimmel and Elizabeth Vidal
+
SONGS
"Twins," performed by Philip Bailey and Little Richard, written by Skip Scarborough and Lorrin "Smokey" Bates
"Yakety Yak," performed by 2 Live Crew with the Coasters, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, courtesy of Skyywalker Records, Inc. and Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Brother To Brother," performed by The Spinners, written by Tom Kimmel and Elizabeth Vidal
"I'd Die For This Dance," performed by Nicolette Larson, Jeff Beck, Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas, written by Tena Clark and Gary Prim
"Turtle Shoes," performed and written by Bobby McFerrin & Herbie Hancock, courtesy of Capitol Records Inc., Special Markets Inc. and CBS Records
"It's Too Late," performed by Nayobe, written by Andy "Panda" Tripoli and Bobby Khozouri for Panda Music Productions
"Green Onions," performed by Jeff Beck, Terry Bozzio, Tony Hymas and Peter Richardson, written by Booker T. Tones, Steve Cropper, Lewis Steinberg and Al Jackson, Jr.
"The Stumble," performed by Jeff Beck, Terry Bozzio, Tony Hymas and Peter Richardson, written by Freddie King and Sony Thompson
"The Train Kept A-Rollin'," performed by Jeff Beck, Tony Hymas and Peter Richardson, written by Tiny Bradshaw, Lois Mann and Howie Kay
"I Only Have Eyes For You," performed by Marilyn Scott, written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Twins Project
Release Date:
9 December 1988
Premiere Information:
Washington, D.C. premiere: 5 December 1988
Los Angeles premiere: 8 December 1988
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 December 1988
Production Date:
28 April--mid August 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 August 1989
Copyright Number:
PA423048
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
107
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29482
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1950s, Mary Ann Benedict participates in a genetic experiment financed by the U.S. government, which is intended to create a physically, mentally, and spiritually exemplary human. However, doctors are surprised when Mary Ann gives birth to fraternal twin boys with exceptionally different body types, and the infants are separated. The model child of the experiment, Julius Benedict is strong, intelligent, and kind-hearted, and grows up on a remote tropical island helping research scientist Professor Werner. On Julius’s thirty-fifth birthday, Werner tells Julius about his twin brother. Despite his ignorance of the outside world, Julius decides to leave the island to look for Vincent, who was raised in a Southern California orphanage. In Los Angeles, Julius finds Vincent in jail for unpaid parking tickets. Although initially surprised to discover that his brother is a small-time criminal, Julius selflessly protects Vincent from violent debt collectors and pays off his overdue fines. Vincent doubts their relationship, but takes advantage of Julius’s ardor by using him to help steal a rental car. Afterward, they meet up with Vincent’s on-again-off-again girl friend, Linda Mason, and her sister, Marnie. While Marnie disapproves of Vincent, she is immediately attracted to Julius. Over dinner, Julius tells Vincent that their mother died in childbirth, but Vincent procures documents from the orphanage claiming he was abandoned. Thrilled to learn she may still be alive, Julius finds her address and meets her former lover, Granger, one of the many sperm donors who contributed to the experiment. Granger explains that Mary Ann was told Julius died at birth, and gives him the name of Dr. Mitchell Traven in Los Alamos, New Mexico, who may know of her whereabouts. Meanwhile, ... +


In the 1950s, Mary Ann Benedict participates in a genetic experiment financed by the U.S. government, which is intended to create a physically, mentally, and spiritually exemplary human. However, doctors are surprised when Mary Ann gives birth to fraternal twin boys with exceptionally different body types, and the infants are separated. The model child of the experiment, Julius Benedict is strong, intelligent, and kind-hearted, and grows up on a remote tropical island helping research scientist Professor Werner. On Julius’s thirty-fifth birthday, Werner tells Julius about his twin brother. Despite his ignorance of the outside world, Julius decides to leave the island to look for Vincent, who was raised in a Southern California orphanage. In Los Angeles, Julius finds Vincent in jail for unpaid parking tickets. Although initially surprised to discover that his brother is a small-time criminal, Julius selflessly protects Vincent from violent debt collectors and pays off his overdue fines. Vincent doubts their relationship, but takes advantage of Julius’s ardor by using him to help steal a rental car. Afterward, they meet up with Vincent’s on-again-off-again girl friend, Linda Mason, and her sister, Marnie. While Marnie disapproves of Vincent, she is immediately attracted to Julius. Over dinner, Julius tells Vincent that their mother died in childbirth, but Vincent procures documents from the orphanage claiming he was abandoned. Thrilled to learn she may still be alive, Julius finds her address and meets her former lover, Granger, one of the many sperm donors who contributed to the experiment. Granger explains that Mary Ann was told Julius died at birth, and gives him the name of Dr. Mitchell Traven in Los Alamos, New Mexico, who may know of her whereabouts. Meanwhile, Vincent finds a prototype jet fuel injector worth $5 million in the trunk of the stolen rental car, with instructions stating that it must to be delivered to Beetroot McKinley, an industrialist in Houston, Texas. Hoping to claim the money himself, Vincent packs up the car, but Julius suggests they stop to meet Dr. Traven along the way. When Linda finds out about their plan, she insists on bringing Marnie, who hopes to get closer to Julius. In Los Alamos, Dr. Traven confirms the truth about the experiment and reveals that Mary Ann now runs an artists’ colony north of Santa Fe. The scientist is not surprised by the twins’ vastly different lives, and belittles Vincent for his inferior genetic makeup. Vincent is deeply offended, but Julius reminds him that although he has suffered a difficult childhood, they will soon find their mother and become a family. As they continue their journey, Vincent teaches Julius various social cues to help him acclimate to the real world, and the brothers become close. When they stop at a motel, Vincent insists on bunking with Linda, forcing Julius and Marnie to share a room. Although Julius is nervous being alone with a woman for the first time, he willingly submits to Marnie’s seduction. At the artists’ colony, Vincent and Julius unknowingly meet their mother, who conceals her identity by claiming that Mary Ann has passed away. Crushed, Vincent drives to meet Beetroot McKinley in Houston, leaving Julius and their girl friends stranded in the desert. When Linda warns that Vincent may be in danger, Julius sends the sisters home and makes his way to Houston. Vincent drops off the fuel injector with McKinley, who makes good on his promise and gives Vincent a briefcase filled with cash. Seconds later, however, McKinley’s original deliveryman, Webster, arrives and vindictively pursues Vincent for the money. Julius interferes, and Vincent surrenders the briefcase in order to keep his brother safe. Webster intends to kill them anyway, but the twins bury him under a pile of heavy metal chains and confiscate the money. Julius insists they do the honorable thing by returning the fuel injector, and their honesty earns them a $50,000 reward, which they use to pay off Vincent’s debts and start a consulting firm. After seeing their photograph in the newspaper, Mary Ann confronts Dr. Traven for lying to her and reconnects with her sons. Sometime later, Vincent and Julius are happily married to Linda and Marnie, each raising their own sets of twin babies. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.