Mark Ruffalo Plays a Man and His ‘Seriously Mentally Ill’ Twin in HBO’s ‘I Know This Much Is True’ Teaser (Video)

Watch the past come back to haunt them both

Last Updated: March 2, 2020 @ 8:41 AM

HBO’s first teaser for its upcoming limited series “I Know This Much Is True” has us seeing double. And while it’s double Mark Ruffalo, which can never be a bad thing, the dark narrative that’s unfolding between the lead characters — twins, both played by Ruffalo — might be a bad thing.

At least that’s how it appears at first.

Based on the 1998 novel by Wally Lamb, “I Know This Much Is True” centers on twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey, one of whom suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. In the video above, you’ll meet both of them, as Thomas (who Rosie O’Donnell’s character calls “seriously mentally ill”) and Dominick confront the struggles in their present and the traumas of their past that might have brought them here.

You’ll notice that the twin brothers have different body types and that was an intentional choice that took a lot of work on Ruffalo’s part.

“We didn’t want it to be like, I run and put a wig on and then do the same scene I just did,” Ruffalo said during the Television Critics Association press tour in January, explaining that he and series director Derek Cianfrance took a six-week break between shooting the two characters’ parts. Ruffalo used the hiatus to put on 30 pounds and get into the mindset of a character living with mental illness.

“Thomas was on a lot of medication,” Ruffalo said. “These medications, these mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics, a lot of people put on weight … It was important for us to have these guys really, really be two different people.”

Along with Ruffalo, the series stars Melissa Leo, Rosie O’Donnell, Archie Panjabi, Imogen Poots, Juliette Lewis and Kathryn Hahn.

“I Know This Much Is True” is executive produced by Ruffalo, Cianfrance, Lamb, Anya Epstein, Gregg Fienberg and FilmNation Entertainment’s Ben Browning and Glen Basner. Lynette Howell Taylor and Jamie Patricof are co-EPs.

“I Know This Much Is True” premieres April 27 on HBO.

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