You may not know Elizabeth and Emily Hinkler yet, but you soon will. These identical twins are starting to make their mark, both together and individually. With recent roles on The Good Doctor, One Day at a Time and Boy Erased in 2018 alone, they’re just getting started. Now they’re starring in the webseries Overthinking With Kat & June. If you haven’t checked it out be sure you do as the cast is outstanding and the laughs plentiful. Here we get to know these incomparable talents.
You two have been acting since 2012. How did you get started and what made you choose that path?
Elizabeth: We started our TV and film careers in 2012 but have been acting since birth – we just didn’t know what it was called at first. When we were little, we always played pretend, and even when our friends thought it wasn’t cool anymore we never grew out of it.
Emily: Around ten years old, we made the connection that what we loved doing was this thing called “acting,” and that it could be a profession. From there, we became devotedly involved with theatre, and then later incorporated ourselves into music videos, film, and TV.
Seeing how you’re identical twins with the same manager I’m curious how you tackle going out for individual roles? Do you each prefer one genre over another? And has there ever been a role you both wanted?
Emily: We are incredibly adamant about showing ourselves as individuals, and that being twins is the extra sprinkles on top, not vice versa. If we are together, it takes special effort from both of us to encourage others to go past our twinness and see us as complete beings instead of carbon copies. Telling us apart takes time, and a skill set of patience, observation, and openness to get to know each of us on a personal level in learning our unique intricacies.
Elizabeth: Actually, we created a film, The Bookends, which showcases this concept and explores the identity contingencies of us as identical twins and how we experience these stereotypes together and separately. As for management, we wanted someone who not only saw and respected us as individuals but who would also use our twin work to strengthen each of us. We love auditioning for the same roles because we then both have the opportunity to bring our unique intricacies to the role and make it our own. We both love comedy and drama and do not pick sides on who gets to do what because we both want to do it all. There is no reason to limit either of our opportunities.
Emily: There are times where we both want a role and when one of us gets it we celebrate! It is a win for us both. We are each other’s support and encouragement and always know that another opportunity will come along.
Emily: Aww, thank you! Our role was originally meant to be for a couple. One of our friends heard about the roles and told the casting director, Jeff Gafner, that we would be perfect for the part. Jeff knew our work already and sent us straight to producers. We were so different from everyone else there and were the only twin option, so we just had fun with it and didn’t expect anything.
Elizabeth: During the audition, everyone was amazed by how “connected” we were. We laughed so much because that was the easy part- we were born with that connection! We couldn’t get over their amazement and offered that if they were looking for more couples with built-in connections we knew many other twin friends in LA who would be great for the part, and they all said unanimously, “No, it’s you two.”
You play Tessa and Molly, genderqueer, deadpan friends of Kat who start a fringe theater group together called Fuck Fear. Did you have much in the way of developing Tessa and Molly and what’s your favorite thing about playing these characters?
Elizabeth: Since the roles were originally meant for a couple, when preparing, we definitely brought aspects of ourselves that easily translated into the characters. We both wore clothes to our producer session that we wear in real life – our clothes are androgynous, aren’t afraid of mud, and have lots of room for mobility. Since these characters like to get in fights and punch each other, the aspect of utilitarian clothes came hand in hand when designing our wardrobe.
Emily: In bringing our own touch to the characters, Molly and Tessa’s relationship blossomed into a polar opposite combination of working in complete synchronization and constantly combating one another – sometimes even in mid-sentence. Our favorite thing about playing these characters is that they can go from zero to 100 in an instant.
For their first project, Fuck Fear creates a punk rock Macbeth – which wasn’t nearly long enough! – that had me rolling. Please tell me about this scene. Was it at all ad-libbed and how on earth did you keep a straight face, especially with Tenea?
Elizabeth: Hahaha! We actually filmed Punk Rock Macbeth our first day of filming. There was an instant friendship between us and Tenea, and we felt so comfortable with each other exploring all of our crazy ideas. The creative team gave us so much space to play and ad-lib, and everyone got involved and bounced ideas off of each other through fits of laughter.
Emily: We are particularly good at keeping straight faces, so it wasn’t tricky to stay in character. But after the fact, our little trio of thespians laughed about it weeks and months afterward. It was especially exciting for us real-life theatre nerds to do this epic version of Macbeth because we’ve both been in the play twice before. We had such a blast, and it was one of our absolute favorite scenes to do.
Emily: As filmmakers, we believe it is part of our job to involve ourselves and open our hearts to our community. It is so important to nurture and provide a safe space for kids – to hear their voices and to remind them that they are important and valued. Building a relationship with our community and supporting them through acts of service keeps us invested and reinforces our mindset about why we do what we do.
Elizabeth: Our shared filmmaking and life goal is to create a loving connection from a fearful world, and a one-on-one connection is part of that story. Engaging with our community reminds us of what we aim to foster in our sibling relationship – the chance to be heard, supported, valued, loved, nurtured, and hugged. We are thankful that we have a treasured abundance of support between each other that we can return to many others through our filmmaking and, most importantly, through person to person connection.
I understand Jay Duplass is a mentor who has encouraged you to create your own content and now you’re starting your own production company. How did your relationship with Jay begin and what kind of stories do you want to tell with your own company?
Emily: We had met Jay through a few events and have always looked up to him and Mark. They are incredibly inspiring creators, and their book, Like Brothers, is in both of our top five favorite books this year. Jay knew we were actors, but one day he asked us what we were making as creators. He knew we had unique stories to tell, and that we wanted to use our craft to change the climate of our society. Jay encouraged us to start sharing our stories now, rather than waiting for the “right” moment.
Elizabeth: After we freaked out and called fifty of our closest friends, cried, and went into fits of high-pitched screams – because JAY DUPLASS reached out to us!! – we took his advice to heart. Since that moment, we created three short films in three months, and Jay continues to be our constant encouragement. We’ve also been busy with long-term projects – Emily is creating a TV show and I’m working on writing a feature film. Through creating our own projects, we started our own production company called The Hinklers.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share, be it acting or with your production company?
Elizabeth: I’m in Under the Silver Lake, directed by David Robert Mitchell and starring Andrew Garfield, and that releases in April. We also recently wrapped the feature, Moscow, where we played Russian twins, and our HBO Access pilot, Manic, is in the festival circuit.
Emily: Other than that, we are keeping busy working on a handful of collaborations and other projects with The Hinklers!
Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have things we’re passionate about or nerd out over. What is something you both nerd out over?
Emily: We are sooo nerdy when it comes to crafts. We both LOVE crafts! When we were younger, people used to call us the Stonehenge Hinklers and, surprisingly, we’ve blossomed even further into that title. I upholster vintage furniture, am a seamstress, and I’m weaving a giant blanket on a loom!
Elizabeth: I draw and paint and have a garden of tomatoes, herbs, and baby fruit trees. Emily and I also love making jam with all types of fruits and flavors and we experiment [with] baking breads and creating new dishes. Literally just put us on a farm in the 1900s and we would thrive!!