Dialect Coach on Actors’ Accents
Posted: 28 January 2017 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6146
Joined  2007-01-03

The topic redux

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2017 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3888
Joined  2007-02-26

A WELL-EXECUTED ACCENT can be the sharpest tool in an actor’s toolbox. But when an accent is off, everyone notices. Everyone. (Remember Tom Cruise in Far and Away? Kevin Costner in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves? Of course you do, because you winced through their awfulness.)

Probably said this before, but there’s nothing bad about Costner’s accent in Prince of Thieves, which was General American. If he’d tried to put on an English accent and failed, I could understand the criticism, but he didn’t. A GA accent is no more or less authentic than a modern British accent for portraying 12th century characters, but you know all this…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2017 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1469
Joined  2007-02-14
OP Tipping - 28 January 2017 04:21 PM

A GA accent is no more or less authentic than a modern British accent for portraying 12th century characters, but you know all this…

You wanted him to speak maybe Middle English?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2017 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6146
Joined  2007-01-03

Probably said this before, but there’s nothing bad about Costner’s accent in Prince of Thieves

Compare how he speaks in that movie to how he does in others. He doesn’t use his own accent in Prince of Thieves—at least not much of the time. He puts on some kind of accent, what it is supposed to be I have no idea. He then shifts back and forth between his made up accent and his own natural one. It’s one of the worst acting performances by a major star in recent Hollywood history.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2017 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1573
Joined  2007-01-29

A few areas where I disagree with the presenter on accents I know:
Tom Cruise seemed to be aiming at a general Irish accent, more southern than northern, so not good.
Kevin Costner in at least that clip sounded ok.
Mel Gibson - not good.
Matt Damon made a not too bad stab at Afrikaans but I’ve heard it’s a difficult one to imitate.
I liked Renee Zellweger’s English accent in the film.
Brad Pitt’s Belfast accent was awful. He sounded American.
Keanu Reeves sounded ok.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2017 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2590
Joined  2007-02-19

One actor who wasn’t bothered by accents was George Sanders. He performed very convincingly as Englishman Jack Favell (Rebecca), German Quive-Smith (Manhunt), Frenchman Bel Ami, and Bengali Shere Khan (The Jungle Book), and a whole lot of others, without ever using any accent but his own. I loved hearing that man speak.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2017 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6146
Joined  2007-01-03

One actor who wasn’t bothered by accents was George Sanders. He performed very convincingly as Englishman Jack Favell (Rebecca), German Quive-Smith (Manhunt), Frenchman Bel Ami, and Bengali Shere Khan (The Jungle Book), and a whole lot of others, without ever using any accent but his own. I loved hearing that man speak.

To my mind, that is a perfectly good artistic choice, so long as other actors aren’t doing accents. If so, you present an inconsistency.

I’m sure I mentioned it on other threads where this has come up, but I recall Ronald Moore saying on the DVD/podcast commentary for the Battlestar Galactica reboot that he had all the actors use their native accents in order to show the linguistic diversity of the twelve colonies. The characters came from other planets, so they shouldn’t all sound the same. The one major exception was Jamie Bamber, who adopted an American accent as opposed to his native English one, in order to play the son of Edward James Olmos. It wouldn’t have made sense for father and son to have different accents.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2017 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3385
Joined  2007-01-31

For stage and screen that’s probably a good choice, but of course IRL it’s not so rare for parent and child to have different accents, due to immigration.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 January 2017 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3888
Joined  2007-02-26

Speaking of bunging on accents and (in the other threads) Star Wars…

In The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley used her normal British accent, which is pretty close to RP, a bit Estuary-ish I suppose. John Boyega was made to use an American accent. Boyega’s real accent is basically Cockney: glottal stops and vocalisation of dark L (but no TH-fronting). He has said in a Graham Norton interview that he initially used his own accent but was told it was not going to work. The thing is, Boyega is an impressionist: I’m sure if he wanted to, he could use a more upscale British accent.

In any case, some folks have interpreted this choice as a message from Lucasfilm that Ridley’s character is descended from other British sounding force-users, Obi-wan Kenobi and/or Emperor Palpatine. Fans can be a bit thirsty.

---

Battlestar Galactica reboot that he had all the actors use their native accents

That was an interesting choice.
When you’re protraying a non-English speaking historical figure in the English language, you can either use a foreign accent (which can seem hammy) or use a “neutral” accent, which today seems to mean either RP or General American. No one seems to mind when a Soviet submariner sounds like he is from Ohio or Surrey, but if he sounds Scottish, it suddenly doesn’t make sense to people. Some critics thought that it made no sense that the Aztec Chel in Road To El Dorado had Rosie Perez’s a Hispanic accent ... but no one was troubled by the fact that the Spanish guys sounded like Branagh and Klein.

Similar choices apply when dealing with sci-fi set in the far future (or, in some unexplained way, long ago), or among people who ain’t people.Normally they’ll be given RP or GA accents, or some made up alien accent.
Temuera Morrison and Daniel Logan used their New Zealand accents when playing Jango Fett and Boba Fett, respectively, in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. George Lucas got Temuera to revoice Boba Fett in the later remastered releases of the Empire Strikes Back in order to maintain continuity. Not everyone was happy.

Edit: finished sentence

[ Edited: 30 January 2017 07:29 AM by OP Tipping ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 January 2017 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6146
Joined  2007-01-03

Temuera to revoice Boba Fett in the later remastered releases of the Empire Strikes Back in order to maintain continuity.

My initial reaction to this was, “Boba Fett has lines?” (I’ve always marveled at the fan attachment to a tertiary character who has minimal screen time.)

But it turns out he does have four lines of dialogue:

“As you wish.”
“What if he doesn’t survive? He’s worth a lot to me.”
“He’s no good to me dead.”
“Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold.”

I’m surprised anyone noticed any accent. (But then, knowing the obsessive nature of Star Wars fans, I shouldn’t be.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 January 2017 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3385
Joined  2007-01-31

(I’ve always marveled at the fan attachment to a tertiary character who has minimal screen time.)

But he has a jet pack!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 January 2017 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3888
Joined  2007-02-26

(I’ve always marveled at the fan attachment to a tertiary character who has minimal screen time.)

IKR. Very overrated. I think it might just be because he is not afraid of Vader.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 January 2017 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3888
Joined  2007-02-26

Hey since all I talk about is Star Wars now, I noticed the other day that the opening text ends in four dots, like an ellipsis followed by a full stop.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 January 2017 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Moderator
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  397
Joined  2007-02-13

Hey since all I talk about is Star Wars now, I noticed the other day that the opening text ends in four dots, like an ellipsis followed by a full stop.

The title of the movie “If....” (1968, dir. by Lindsay Anderson) also has four dots.  From what I’ve read, nobody connected with the movie attaches any special significance to having four dots instead of three.  (Star Wars connection:  Lindsay Anderson was reportedly considered for the role of the Emperor in Return of the Jedi but had to decline due to other obligations).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 January 2017 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1109
Joined  2007-03-01

And the medievalist in me bristles at evaluating Mel Gibson’s Scottish accent in Braveheart by the standard of modern-day Scottish as opposed to how they spoke in the thirteenth century.

The medievalist in me doesn’t. You could argue that it would have been just as authentic (if not more so) to play the role in his own natural accent; but the fact is that he attempted a modern Scottish accent, and it’s perfectly legitimate to evaluate how well or otherwise he did it.

Profile