The filmmakers also wanted a "city-less quality," Michael says, "as if this story could be happening anywhere." It does not, they note, occur in a town called Twin Falls, Idaho. Rather, the film's title was chosen because "we wanted the audience to pick up the pieces along the way," says Mark. "Blake and Francis are twins, their surname is Falls, and when we first see them, they're living in a hotel on Idaho Avenue."
"A major concern was to not appear low-budget," Michael continues. "We already had one strike against us because of the subject matter, which some people found bizarre, so to do the film justice we used only the best film, cameras and lenses." The only exception was the bicycle scene, which was shot on Super-8 film to provide "a nostalgic, home-movie feel," he says.
To create environments that also "speak," interior house paint was their greatest ally. Penny's lavender and purple apartment connotes "false royalty, or maybe a false security about who she is," says Mark. The orange decor of the mother's apartment is associated with warmth, life-giving energy and Halloweenher sons' birthdaywhile the twins' hotel room is a sickly grey-green.
The actors themselves were chosen for unique qualities they bring to the film, Michael says: Patrick Bauchau's (Miles) worldly, educated air, Jon Gries' (Jay) comic delivery, Garrett Morris' (Jesus) ability to put a dramatic spin on a humorous situation and Lesley Ann Warren's (Francine) "powerful presence."
Hicks (Penny) conveyed an honesty that made her a stand-out during auditions. "Other actresses gave distant readings," says Michael. "But Michele interacted spontaneously with Mark as Blake. She even told us, 'This is just the kind of strange thing that might happen in my life.'"
In fact, synchronicity seemed to play a part in leading her to the role. She recalls how, months before hearing of the film, a New York taxi driver gave her change in the form of two-dollar bills. "They were so unusual that I kept them," Hicks says. "And then, in the scene where the cabbie gives Penny the same kind of bill, I remembered. It was like this film chose me."
When questions have arisen about the subject matter of "Twin Falls Idaho," the Polish brothers have responded that they "weren't trying to turn people off," Mark recalls. "We just wanted to tell a universal story from a new perspective. Everyone deals with the issues Blake and Francis face. We all try to understand intimacy and relationships. The story of Blake and Francis Falls just tries to present those struggles more vividly and dramatically."
"One of my big hang-ups about most movies," adds Hicks, "is that I can't believe them. They don't depict real situations and feelings. But this one convinced me from the start. When I read this script, I criedand I don't cry easily."
"The unusual thing about this film," says Persinger, "is that it's both a beautifully told story and realistic. It reminds us that we can't assign our own values to someone else's situation without knowing what it would be like to walk in hisor, in this case, theirshoes."