40 Twins Bring Identical Dreams to Studio City

Twenty sets of identical twins got together Wednesday in Studio City and felt, well, sort of ordinary.

"You're used to getting all the attention because you're different. Now everyone's like you," said Lisa Lipton, 19, of Woodland Hills, one of 40 twins who auditioned for an NBC television movie starring twins. The auditions, at the Actor's Center of Los Angeles, were for parts in "Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley High." The movie will chronicle the lives and loves of 16-year-old twins in the fictitious Sweet Valley, Calif., where it is always warm and sunny and something is always going on at the mall.

The scene was oddly revealing for some. "Now I know how people feel when they look at us," said Sybil Hill, 22, of Brentwood. "It's kind of magical, kind of bewitching."

Sybil and her sister Ingrid came dressed in jeans and matching T-shirts--one red, one blue--and pony tails. "We have a unique look," Sybil said.

For others, the day brought competition unlike the sibling rivalries of childhood. Some sets of twins were overheard sizing up the others--criticizing them for having braces, looking too old or being too ugly.

"Twins don't like other twins," explained Lisa Lipton. Said her sister Michelle: "You can see everyone's looking around criticizing each other."

Some didn't want to let on that they had never read the "Sweet Valley High" books, fearing that might hurt their chances.

The movie, written by former TV journalist and soap opera writer Francine Pascal, is based on Pascal's immensely popular series of "Sweet Valley High" books. The romances, geared to teen-age girls and published monthly by Bantam Books, have sold more than 40 million copies in English and 11 other languages. Pascal writes the outlines, while other writers fill in the juicy details. "Sweet Valley High" cologne, clothing, board games and clipboards are in the works.

Since March, casting director and co-producer Jamie Stewart Carmen has been scouring the country for twins to play the leading roles in the movie. Before the audition in Studio City, Carmen's tour took him to New York, Chicago, Dallas and Denver.

Carmen said she is looking for twins who would look good with blonde hair and blue eyes--they needn't come equipped with those features--and have lots of charisma. "I think they should be beautiful," she said. "I want boys to want to watch the show and be crazy about them."

Carmen said she saw several beautiful girls, but none were exactly right. Some looked too old, some too young, and some just would not look natural with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Stephanie and Stacie Browne, 22, of Anaheim, said the audition has motivated them to pursue acting more seriously. "We've really always wanted to do this," Stephanie said. "I'd like the excitement of having your friends see you. Everyone likes to be noticed."

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