Dead Ringers Drove A Wedge Between David Cronenberg And Michael Ironside

In “Dead Ringers,” Jeremy Irons plays both Beverly Mantle and his twin brother Elliot, both of whom are minor celebrities in the world of gynecology. They are also cads. Elliot, the more forthright brother, will regularly seduce unsuspecting young women, and then switch places with the more timid Beverly. The two try their tactic on an actress named Claire (Geneviève Bujold), but she catches wise to their tricks. She continues to date Beverly, but both brothers are further interested in her due to the unique shape of her uterus. The film spirals into depression and drug abuse. 

“Dead Ringers” was initially met with a mixed response from critics, but had grown in estimation over the years, to the point that it was made available by the Criterion Collection. Ironside saw the movie and had a palpably negative reaction. The actor saw Cronenberg’s film as a misguided attempt to delve into misogyny but felt that it never emerged out of merely being misogynist. Ironside said: 

“David and I have only worked together that once, we had a falling out about five or six years later, over a discussion. It was over the twins film with Jeremy Irons, ‘Dead Ringers.’ We were talking one day about it … and I told him I thought it was misogynistic horses***. You start sticking odd objects inside of women and pass it off as drama. I said if you’ve got to work out your godamned s***, why do you have to do it at the expense of the audience? And he said ‘you’re full of s***’ and we got in to it. And I still hold to that.”

That seemed to be that. Ironside didn’t like what Cronenberg said, and Cronenberg didn’t like his response. The two haven’t worked together since. 

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