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Ben Stiller Poised To Play Title Roles In ‘Three Identical Strangers’ Limited Series From Amy Lippman & Sony TV

By Nellie Andreeva,


Ben Stiller is setting an acting return with Three Identical Strangers , a high-profile limited series package that just hit the premium/streaming marketplace.

Stiller is in final negotiations to headline and executive produce the series, a multi-decade family drama inspired by the incredible true story of identical triplet brothers separated at birth. The project hails from Party of Five co-creator Amy Lippman , Sony Pictures Television and its TriStar Television division as well as SK Global Entertainment.

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Set in New York over several decades, Three Identical Strangers tells the story of Bobby Shafran, David Kellman and Eddy Galland, three complete strangers who inadvertently discover that they are identical triplets separated at birth. When the 19-year-olds’ joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, it also sets a chain of extraordinary and disturbing events in motion.

Stiller is slated to play all three brothers as adults. He executive produces through his Red Hour Films banner alongside writer-showrunner Lippman as well as Sidney Kimmel, John Penotti, Charlie Corwin and Marcy Ross of SK Global, Piers Vellacott, Dimitri Doganis, and Tim Wardle of RAW along with Emmeline Yang Hankins.

Co-executive producing are Mark O’Connor of SK Global, Dan Braun and Josh Braun of Submarine.

Decades before genealogy Web sites allow people who have been adopted to find biological relatives, Shafran discovered that he had a twin brother, Galland, when he stumbled into him at a New York community college. The publicity around the case connected them with Kellman, revealing them as identical triplets adopted as infants to families from different socio-economic backgrounds as part of a study by psychiatrists with the Jewish Board of Guardians.

After a blitz of media appearances, the brothers moved in together and opened a restaurant but their relationship deteriorated as all three had struggled with mental health problems, and Galland committed suicide in 1995.

The triplets were the subject of a documentary feature, Three Identical Strangers, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival , where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Documentary Storytelling. Produced by RAW, directed by Tim Wardle and executive produced by CNN Films and UK’s Channel 4, the film grossed $13.5 million worldwide.

SK Global Entertainment initially partnered with RAW to turn the true story into a feature film with Anthony McCarten as writer. The project eventually morphed into a limited series and was set up at Sony TV, where Lippman has a long history, including co-creating and executive producing the original Party of Five series and its recent reboot, as well as executive producing Masters of Sex. She is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.

This marks a return to acting for Stiller, who largely has focused on directing and producing for the past several years. That includes Apple TV+’s acclaimed workplace thriller Severance and Showtime’s Emmy-nominated limited series Escape at Dannemora , for which he won the DGA Award . Three Identical Strangers also would mark a rare TV series starring role for Stiller, whose acting had been focused on the feature side following the early 1990s The Ben Stiller Show.

Playing twins is a traditionally difficult acting challenge tackled in a slew of films and TV series, more recently by Mark Ruffalo in the HBO limited series I Know This Much Is True, which earned the actor an Emmy Award. Stiller is taking that challenge to a new level with three siblings in Three Identical Strangers. He is repped by UTA and Gang Tyre Ramer Brown & Passman.

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