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Irons signed up for Dead Ringers after 30 stars said no

Irons played identical twin gynaecologists in the dark, twisted David Cronenberg thriller adapted from Bari Wood and Jack Geasland’s book Twins – and even he wasn’t sure he wanted to be attached to the film.

Director Cronenberg flew to Britain to convince Irons to take the role a decade after he started casting.

He tells The Hollywood Reporter, “It was a tough sell. I literally went to 30 of the best American and Canadian actors… and they all said no.

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“William Hurt said it would literally drive him over the edge of madness. You’d think playing twins would be a no-brainer, but they were based on real people… and that is hard to play.

“Jeremy Irons was the first slightly positive response. But it still took a year before we could get it together, at which point he was cooling and I went to London to talk him into it.”

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