Ivan Reitman is one successful pitch away from making a Twins sequel happen, Deadline reports. The Ghostbusters director managed to secure significant industry interest in Triplets since work on the screenplay began in 2012; stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito are officially on board, with Tracy Morgan playing protagonists Julius and Vincent Benedict’s unexpected third sibling. Dylan Dawson and Lucas Kavner have finished the script, with Reitman and co-founder Tom Pollock’s The Montecito Picture Company producing, CAA Media Finance representing North America, and Rocket Science managing international sales. The only thing missing: funding, and a studio. Reitman is currently working on pitching a sizzle reel to interested buyers.
Reports on the upcoming Twins sequel are conflicting. Media outlets claim production is already well underway; others insist a schedule is firmly in place, with filming to begin as early as January 2022. Regardless, Deadline is fixed on the circumstances: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito’s Triplets doesn’t have a buyer and has not been formally optioned yet. All the chips are in place, except for an official go signal.
The long-awaited follow-up to Twins hasn’t been easy to put together. In 2012, The Hollywood Reporter revealed development on the sequel was afoot over at Universal. Reitman hadn’t committed to directing yet, but had agreed to stay on as producer on behalf of his film company, Montecito. The story goes, Arnold Schwarzenegger met up with Eddie Murphy, and one of them suggested writing the film with the latter as the third brother. The star of Amazon Prime’s Coming 2 America was said to have mused, “I should be a triplet. That could be a very funny comedy.” Reitman claims the first version of the screenplay was developed with Murphy closely involved. The next update would arrive three years later; Triplets hit a speed bump and had to be shelved indefinitely.
By 2018, Arnold Schwarzenegger was speaking to Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, talking life, politics, and film at the height of the Trump administration. The conversation segued to questions about Triplets, with the former California governor confirming Eddie Murphy was officially attached to the project and the screenplay is finally completed. The plot was described as a “funny thing that happens in the mixing of the sperm,” resulting in a long-lost Black duplicate. No word on Reitman’s involvement until Tuesday, when the director gave Mike Fleming, Jr. of Deadline the lowdown on the Twins sequel.
Apparently, the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is further down the pipeline than outlets realize, with only one setback left: secure funding. For better or for worse, former Saturday Night Live cast member Tracy Morgan replaced Eddie Murphy as the third Benedict sibling; Reitman explains the latter had become too busy after the success of Coming 2 America this year, hence the unforeseen casting change. The script was promptly rewritten by Dawson and Kavner. The glaring lack of interested studios aside, Reitman is optimistic the project will last long enough to make it to 2021.
“We knew we were going to make it at the beginning of next year,” Reitman tells Fleming. “I’d been good friends with Tracy Morgan for a long time and always thought he was one of the funniest men in the world. I thought he would make a terrific triplet, and we rewrote the whole script for him. Now, we’ll go out and try and put the money together and get it made.” Despite several websites claiming otherwise, this confirms the status of Triplets. It had everything from Arnold Schwarzenegger to North American representation, but the cash required to produce it.
Reitman’s asking price isn’t essentially ambitious; he and Pollock made the first movie, Twins, for only $15 million and earned enough gross to justify production. The idea for a sequel has been considered for years, as the clock invariably ticks down on the Copyright Act of 1976; the law stipulates, the rights to Twins must revest in the original writers (William Davies, Timothy Harris, William Osborne, Herschel Weingrod) exactly 35 years after the contract was signed. Universal would have to give it up, and Reitman’s dreams for a follow-up along with it. But with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, and Tracy Morgan already in the loop, it’s only a matter of time before Triplets achieves its desired funding.
The premise of Triplets attempts to justify the existence of visually dissimilar babies the same way clones are created: the genetic material produced from several fathers can yield unlikely results. If a giant (Arnold Schwarzenegger) could be a literal Napoleon’s (Danny DeVito) brother, then so can a Black man (Tracy Morgan). Reitman explains the story himself: “Secretly, there was a third baby born, a Black baby, who hasn’t been in touch with his siblings. They don’t know each other and very early in the movie they meet and it’s how they achieve a bond together after all these years. It’s really a film about family and, no matter how different we all are, we have to learn to get along. These guys have great chemistry together, and you can see that in the reel, and how much energy they bring out in each other.”
Reitman hasn’t directed anything since the lesser-known Kevin Costner film Draft Day and was initially reluctant to return to the franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger convinced him to take the risk. “Arnold kept saying, ‘C’mon, we had such a great time.’ I just called him in Budapest and he’s so excited to see how people respond to the reel as we send it out,” he relates. “The initial reaction has been very strong, and how young Arnold and Danny look and how great the chemistry is with Tracy. I had a great time doing the first one, and this is going to be fun.”
Reitman is hoping to start shooting the Arnold Schwarzenegger feature in Boston during the holidays, to simulate a wintry ambiance. He’s aiming for someplace mountainous, to keep costs low, and with a good tax deal. Twins, a buddy comedy, tells the story of experimental clones Vincent (DeVito) and Julius Benedict (Schwarzenegger) coming together to find their estranged birth mother. It was also directed by Reitman.