ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to The Silent Twins stars Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance about the themes of the film and the challenges that come with largely non-verbal acting.
“The Silent Twins is the astounding true story of twin sisters who only communicated with one another,” reads the film’s synopsis. “As a result, they created a rich, fascinating world to escape the reality of their own lives”
Tyler Treese: Letitia, I know June Gibbons is very private, but were you able to speak with her or how did you prepare for this role?
Letitia Wright: Oh man, June lives a private life, and we always tried to respect that from the beginning of making the film. We know that the author of the book, The Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace … they’re still in close contact. So we were able to receive some positive news, that June fell at peace with us making the film and that the result of it she’s really proud of. For me, it was about just tapping into the resources that I had prior which were the book and the documentary and the resources of great collaborators, not only with Tamara but with Hazel Holder [dialect coach for the film] or Agnieszka [Smoczynska, the film’s director] to bring it to life. So I’m really proud that we were able to piece the film together in a beautiful way.
Tamara, this is such a unique challenge for you both as an actor because so many of the scenes are non-verbal. It’s all going off your body language. So can you talk to me about how you tackled that aspect of your performance?
Tamara Lawrance: Yeah, we had a great movement director who had a background in dance and worked with us to find a shared kinesphere and a synchronized movement, not only through the sonic landscape of the 80s, um, but also through portraiture and animal and different things like that. We just started to spend a lot of time together to become more used to each other’s physical presence. Also, I think trusting that communication is actually mostly nonverbal and that the twins said a lot through the lack of movement or the slowness of their movement. Everything was so specific as a form of protest, as a form of building this kind of oneness, as a form of isolating other people in order to protect themselves. So we were aware of these things through research and had a lot of help and resources to imbue them into the film.
Letitia, this story, at its core, is really about these two Black artists that aren’t really able to be taken seriously or share their creations just because they’re different than their surroundings. So what about that story connected with you the most and made you want to come on board?
Wright: Exactly that. The fact that their voices were pushed to side and how society related to them. The society around them, the community around them, didn’t understand them, and instead of working a little bit harder to understand them, they kind of boxed them away. And I think for me, I’m a sucker for stories of justice and stories of just people fighting something that’s greater than them. I always like to portray that and bring that to the screen. Something that can be impactful for the audience members. So I feel like this story really embodies all of that. Not only strength but creativity and just taking a look at society and showing us that if we get things wrong, if we misdiagnose young people in a way that is unhealthy, we could ruin their lives. How do we learn from that? There’s so many layers to this film, and I love the conversations that’s being started with it, but like what you said, there’s a lot to unpack.