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HEREAFTER

Marcus In London
Twin brothers George and Frankie McLaren were cast as the centerpiece of the film's story of loss. Casting director Fiona Weir read over 100 sets of twins in London for the roles of Jason and Marcus. Though they had done some theater, they had no film acting experience, which Eastwood saw as an asset to their roles in "Hereafter.” "They have great faces and come from a working class neighborhood,” he says. "They were the least experienced, but they jumped right into it and had a very natural way about them that appealed to me.”

"They were so instantly right for the way Peter had written these twins,” adds Kennedy. "Clint brought out of them a kind of quiet, somewhat damaged sensibility, and some secret that you sense they share.”

Jason and Marcus are twin brothers from London's working class council estates. Their mother, Jackie, played by Lyndsey Marshal, is struggling with addiction, and the boys are one social worker visit away from being sent to a foster home. "Jackie loves her children but she can't really cope on her own,” Marshal describes. "She's quite young, doesn't have a lot of money, and she's fallen into drugs. The boys really feel a need to repair her, and cover for her when social services visit their flat. There's an absolute wisdom beyond their years from having to cope with the situation.”

Born 12 minutes earlier, Jason is the more confident twin and looks after both his mother and brother. "They're close because they don't have many friends,” says Frankie McLaren. "They always stick by each other because they're all each other has.”

On an errand for his mother, Jason is struck and killed by a car, leaving Marcus to face the unimaginable alone. "Marcus is sort of the weaker of the two, and when his brother is tragically killed, he is set adrift, unsure of what to do next or how to go about life,” Lorenz comments. "He's really lost and searching for answers.”

"Getting back in touch with his brother becomes an obsession for him,” adds Kennedy, who is herself a twin. "He's trying to find a way to make sense of his life without the person who was so much like him. I think anyone has these feelings when they lose a close sibling or a parent. But as an identical twin, I think you do feel like you lose a part of yourself. This aspect of the story definitely resonates with me, but I think it's an idea that will resonate with anybody who understands that kind of relationship.”

Both McLaren twins alternated as the characters of Jason and Marcus, which added to the sense that they were two halves of a whole. "I think the most profound loss would be of a twin, someone who is literally from your own cell,” says Peter Morgan. "It is especially terrible because the boys in the story are so young and only know life together.”

Marcus clings to the memory of Jason, along with the hat his brother always wore. "Jason has a special cap that he wears,” says George McLaren. "And when Jason is killed, Marcus takes the hat and puts it on. He wears it to bed; he takes it everywhere with him.”

Adding to Marcus's isolation is the fact that the accident results in him being taken from his mother and placed in a foster home. "He's very young and wary of the world and wary of us,” says Irish actress Niamh Cusack, who plays his foster mother. "He needs to feel that Jason is still with him. That is his only security.”

In an attempt to reestablish a connection with his brother, Marcus goes on an odyssey through the internet's community of psychics and mediums. "He goes around and talks to people to see if there's anybody who can contact Jason, and he runs into all these charlatans who say they can talk to the afterlife, but they can't really,” says Eastwood.

But his search ultimately yields a name, and the name a face: George Lonegan. So, Marcus sets out on his own to find the one person he believes can help him find the answers he needs.

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