Josh and Thomas (111)

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Josh and Thomas
Josh (left) and Thomas (right)
Portrayed by Josh: Joseph Gilbert
Thomas: James Gilbert
Appears in 111
Year 2005

Josh and James are twin characters in the thesis short film 111.

Character creation

Josh and Thomas are inspired by real-life savant twins who rose to prominence during the 60s and 70s, presumably John and Michael described in Oliver Sacks' book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.[1] Similarities include calendar and prime calculator savant skills, the significance of the numbers 37 and 111, speaking to each other in numbers and a doctor's subsequent figuring out of what it means, and many more small details.


It's 1966, and Josh and Michael are 26-year-old identical twins residing in a mental health institution. Doctor Jonathan Armstrong has been studying them for some time, but dismisses their savant skills as mere parlor tricks due to rote memorization (he suspects they have memorized the 400-year cycle of the Gregorian calendar and that their calendar counting does not involve any actual arithmetic) and their number games as meaningless. Student doctor David Adams sees how they instantly count a number of candies that have fallen on the ground (111) and subsequently call out its prime factors (37 and 3). Christopher wants to know how they do it, since they cannot do basic arithmetic, and the twins try to explain how they "see" 111 and 37, they don't count it. Christopher also observes the twins in conversation with each other, taking turns calling out large numbers. Christopher eventually figures out that the numbers are all prime, and joins them in their conversation by reading some primes from a book.

Adams also reports to doctor Armstrong, who has promised to get him a good spot for his residency if the can figure out what the twins' number games mean. Adams tries to explain how he's gotten closer to the twins and how they're more comfortable with him now, but Armstrong is more focused on whether he has already figured what the numbers mean.


Josh and Michael are 26 years old. They both have short brown hair and wear glasses. They usually wear a dress shirt whereas most of the other residents of the institution wear pajamas.


They are described as autistic in the film's official synopsis, and as idiot savants within the film itself. They both have documentary memory, calendar calculating, and an affinity for prime numbers, but cannot do more basic arithmetic operations. They have been institutionalized since age 6 due to lack of socialization skills, and moved between various institutions before settling where they are now, where they have been for 3 years.

Josh is more assertive than Thomas and is usually the first to speak up, with Thomas following his lead.


111 on YouTube


  1. ErikPattonAnderson (2012-04-12). 111 - Los Angeles Film School Thesis Film. Publisher. Retrieved on 2022-01-22.

External links