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It isn't hard to understand what Korine sees in casting the Twins for Spring Breakers. Last month, he told Purple Magazine, "Philosophically — everything with them boils down to the quest for the double penetration. Do you know what I mean? That's at the core of who they are — all they want to do is double-penetrate the same bitch. Like, that's it. What can you say to that? It's like they're characters. And [...] there's a sweetness that they have, too. So, yeah, it's fun for me to put them in. They embody a lot of the mood and psychology of the movie."
For the Twins, being cast by Korine is something closer to life-changing. The first film that Korine wrote, 1995's KIDS, came out when they were teenagers and is probably the first and only authentic-feeling movie about skateboarders of that era. They told me that Gummo, Korine's 1997 directorial debut, is the only film that has accurately described the kind of damaged Southern environment they experienced as children in Tennessee. They constantly talk about his work with near-spiritual reverence, and they seem to have bet their future on the idea that Korine might eventually make a project that casts them in the lead.
The Twins are not the leads of Spring Breakers. They don't have a single word of dialogue and their screen time lasts for about 15 minutes. They show up about a half-hour into the film at a raucous hotel party, pouring little bags of coke onto a girl's breasts and licking her. At the party, they're arrested along with the film's young, bikini-clad stars, and then flirt with them through the windows of a police car. We come to understand that they're henchmen for James Franco's character, standing in the shadows behind him as if coke-dealing demons simply lurked behind every tree and doorway of central Florida. They do get one big break, though, when James Franco tries to explain to the girls about the henchmen. He says that the Twins are identical brothers who share everything: their women, their bed, their car, their lives. Something like that. Anyone who walks into that theater unfamiliar with the Twins will leave knowing their mythology.
The last afternoon I spent with the Twins was for a photo shoot. Throughout our conversations, the Twins talked a lot about what we needed to do for the cover of Creative Loafing. They get kind of giddy with excitement when talking about photos that are going to be taken of them. Their friend Matt Swinsky, of rap-video production company Motion Family, suggested painting bikini-clad girls gold and posing them like a throne for the Twins to sit on. The logistics of how exactly to pose the women for a proper throne proved too complicated.
At some point, they mentioned that they knew a guy who had some guns that they could use in a photo shoot — big, scary-looking, real automatic weapons. They said they wanted to do something that looked Spring Breakers-themed. When we arrived, it was apparent that they weren't exaggerating. Their bed was covered with an M-16, a Mac-10 with a massive suppressor and long clip, and a few different handguns. Two girls arrived and sweetly flirted with the Twins before changing into bikinis and ski masks. For their own part, the Twins had their hair braided into cornrows the night before.
More than getting drunk and partying, the Twins actually seem to be most at ease while having their picture taken. They take directions easily, moving an inch to this side or that, putting on a serious face or a comic one. When the pictures needed something extra, they pulled out some movie money from the Spring Breakers set, very real-looking counterfeit bills, and threw it around while the photographer's shutter clicked.
I only noticed later, while going over the pictures with our photographer to decide what to use, that they'd styled themselves to look more like James Franco's character than their own roles in the movie. That's a sly move, to recast yourself as the star, and I don't think it was an accident. The Twins have always thought of themselves as the stars of their own film. In the pictures with the guns pointed up to the sky and the money floating around in the air and the girls propped up around them, they look like the stars they want to become. Counterfeit bills become real money when placed inside the frame of a photograph.
Sitting there in the office, I remembered what one of them said during the photo shoot: "I've never even fired a gun."
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