Twinning: Cinematographer Laura M. Gonçalves on Capturing the Double Realities of TV’s Dead Ringers
Daniel Eagan, FILMMAKER MAGAZINE
May 15, 2023
Cinematographer Laura M. Gonçalves shot four of the six Dead Ringers episodes. Her previous work includes Pacified, which won the Debut Cinematography Award at Camerimage, and music videos for performers like Beyoncé. Gonçalves recently shot the HBOMax series Generation. We spoke via Zoom.
Filmmaker: When did you start on Dead Ringers?
Gonçalves: I met with Alice Birch and Sean Durkin on Zoom right after Generation, so probably May 2021. I was really into the scripts they sent me. I had just finished watching Alice’s Normal People, and I loved Sean’s The Nest. They were people I really wanted to work with, and the show was aligned with many things I’m fascinated with.
Jody [Lee Lipes] was already attached; he shot the first two episodes. He had worked with Sean on Martha Marcy May Marlene. I love Jody’s work, which is really important as a DP going into a series that someone else has started.
Filmmaker: My big question is, how did you handle one person playing two roles?
Gonçalves: “Twinning,” creating an illusion in camera, is a great example of movie magic. What I found interesting is how quickly the audience fills in the blanks. When you study twinning films, if the performance is good you don’t need to use the effect a lot. Rachel’s performance is so strong that viewers don’t need to see the Mantles together all the time. I had to stop myself from being greedy with twinning.