It’s no accident that when the twin subjects of Ed Perkins‘ documentary, “Tell Me Who I Am,” have their most honest conversation in a setting that looks very bare. “There’s a reason why they’ve never been able to have this conversation in this way in the real world,” Perkins explains in our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above). “We’re going to build a sterile space that is very unnatural and ask them if they want to come to this space that we created for this purpose and allow a conversation to happen there,” he adds.
“Tell Me Who I Am,” which recently premiered on Netflix, chronicles identical twins Alex Lewis and Marcus Lewis. At age 18, Alex woke up in a hospital after a motorcycle accident with near-total amnesia. The only thing he recognized was his twin brother. Alex came to rely on Marcus to reacquaint him with all the aspects of his life. When their parents both passed away several years later, Alex found out that Marcus had been withholding the fact that both of them were sexually abused by their mother and several of her friends and continued to hold back many details about it.
To get Alex and Marcus comfortable to the point where they were willing to sit down and address these issues to each other on camera was a considerable effort. “I reached out, met the twins and over the course of the better part of four years, we built a relationship. We were able to spend a lot of time just sitting in pubs, in their houses, at coffee shops just talking and getting to know each other and building a relationship of trust.” Perkins elaborates that that genuine friendship and trust that came from these years of meetings laid the groundwork for the twins to speak so openly and honestly about these horrific experiences from their childhood.
Despite the appalling things that Marcus reveals to Alex about what was done to them and the fact that he kept them secret for so many years, Perkins says that the relationship between the twins is great. He illustrates this by explaining that some siblings can know each other 100% but with identical twins they know each other 110% and when Alex found out about Marcus’s deception, they felt like they had lost that extra ten percent. “That ten percent means everything to them. I think it’s very difficult if you’re not an identical twin to kind of realize what that means and how important that is. For them it’s everything and they’ve got that back now.”
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