If you happened to watch HBOs Lovecraft Country episode 8 “Jig-A-Bobo” last week you’ve already met Topsy and Bopsy, the zombie-like Picaninny Twins based on the characters Topsy and Eva from Harriett Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The most bone-chilling twins since The Shining’s O’Grady Twins, see how they were conceived and created.
Lovecraft Country’s Topsy and Bopsy
Probably the creepiest and most frightening TV villains we’ve seen in decades, the dancing duo took a lot of combined effort to bring to life. You don’t need to be a watcher of the show to appreciate all the talent, hair, makeup, music, choreography and costume design that went into creating these nightmare-inducing characters.
In this episode, directed by the brilliant show’s creator Misha Green, Dee is haunted by two dancing archetypes of racial stereotyping.
Dressed as half-dead Picaninny caricatures and played by talented actress/dancers Kaelynn Gobert-Harris as Topsy and Bianca Brewton as Bopsy, the two are references to characters Eva and Topsy from the 1852 novel and are seen together in a foreboding hint on the book’s cover in the episode.
In the story Eva is a blonde, angelic white girl, while Topsy is a mischievous Black slave who involves Eva in her schemes. This is echoed in the episode as the white “twin” with blue eyes tends to follow the lead of the Black “twin.”
Dee meets Topsy and Bopsy for the first time on the episode:
The two actresses playing the twins, Bianca Brewton and Kaelynn Gobert-Harris are superb dancers.
The fabulous choreography is by Jamaica Craft.
It took a slew of talented people; prosthetics, makeup, hair and clothing stylists to bring Topsy and Bopsy to life.
Kaelynn Gobert-Harris becomes Topsy:
Bianca Brewton becomes Bopsy:
Topsy and Bopsy, off set:
Actresses/Dancers: Bianca Brewton and Kaelynn Gobert-Harris
Brian B Badie and Edythina Smith
Choreography: Jamaica Craft and Draico
Writer and Director: Misha Green
Writing Team: Kidd/Winton
Still photography: Eli Joshua
About the show:
Based on Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he meets up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
Lovecraft Country is executive produced by showrunner Misha Green along with J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, Bill Carraro, Yann Demange, Daniel Sackheim, and David Knoller.
Lovecraft Country aired on HBO, Sunday nights at 9pm