Does It Annoy You When An Actor You Like Has To Do An Accent?

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It depends. My least favorite is when it involved ancient Romans. Movie makers just don't seem to be able to resist giving patrician Romans of the ancient world patrician British accents when the movie is an English language movie. I guess that's because both used the word Empire somewhere. Having once studied Latin, I know that English and Latin don't sound a bit like each other. Vocabulary wise, French, Spanish, church Latin or modern Italian are closer, but have different accents, English is a Germanic language.

I know it will never happen but the Latin student in me would like to see a movie about ancient Rome done in classic Latin with subtitles. I guess the box office on that one would be near zero, but, for once, don't pronounce the name of that emperor who was stabbed like see-zer. It's actually closer to Kaiser.



It depends. My least favorite is when it involved ancient Romans...
You know what's funny? As I read the first part of your post, that I just quoted, my mind instantly said James Mason's voice makes for a good sounding ancient Roman. But then of course I read the rest of your post and seen you had the opposite thought.

I just thought that was interesting how the first name that popped into my mind for a good sounding Ancient Roman was someone like James Mason or Richard Burton...Which goes to show that Hollywood often cast British actors trained in the theatrical style of acting to play ancient historical characters.



Botched accents from my favorite actors don't generally bother me. After all, it's all make believe. But I will say that Michael Shannon, whose work I really enjoy, did a pretty cheesy Russian accent in Bullet Train portraying The White Death. It's good that he didn't have a lot of dialogue...

One exception to that is American actors (or other English speakers) who attempt southern accents. They usually end up sounding like generic hicks. There are many different southern accents, which oftentimes identify which part of the South that the person is from. But mostly actors don't bother zeroing in on a region.



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One exception to that is American actors (or other English speakers) who attempt southern accents. They usually end up sounding like generic hicks. There are many different southern accents, which oftentimes identify which part of the South that the person is from. But mostly actors don't bother zeroing in on a region.

The South is just a punching bag for the Hollywood. You don't have to go much past Foghorn Leghorn to pass the smell test for a casting director.



Belfast has a cast of Irish actors, but, for some reason, Brannagh cast Judi Dench in the part of CiarŠn Hindsí wife. Not only is Dench 19 years older than Hinds & English, but she has the most appalling Irish brogue in the movie. Unlike any one of her fellow actors. And theyíve made her up to look so old in the movie that I wonder is she supposed to be Hindsí mother? I donít think so & I bailed out of this movie as it didnít engage me one bit.
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You know what's funny? As I read the first part of your post, that I just quoted, my mind instantly said James Mason's voice makes for a good sounding ancient Roman. But then of course I read the rest of your post and seen you had the opposite thought.

I just thought that was interesting how the first name that popped into my mind for a good sounding Ancient Roman was someone like James Mason or Richard Burton...Which goes to show that Hollywood often cast British actors trained in the theatrical style of acting to play ancient historical characters.
It's my assumption too, since both Rome and Britain were small places that had an expansive empire that's gone now. Mason did at least one Roman role (Julius Caesar) and Burton is a dead ringer for the movie version of a Roman, even though his Brit accent was Welsh inflected.

I guess it all comes under the rubric of giving the audience what they stereotypically expect. I also wonder about English language movies with nazis, who all have German accents. Presumably, they are speaking German, but what does German sound like when it's spoken with the English version of a German who is speaking English? Wrap your linguistic head around that paradox. Does a native German have an accent?




I guess it all comes under the rubric of giving the audience what they stereotypically expect. I also wonder about English language movies with nazis, who all have German accents. Presumably, they are speaking German, but what does German sound like when it's spoken with the English version of a German who is speaking English? Wrap your linguistic head around that paradox. Does a native German have an accent?
Even worse, of course, is Nazis with British accents. There must be a movie or two that has this.



Even worse, of course, is Nazis with British accents. There must be a movie or two that has this.
German was still spoken in part of my family when I was a kid. I recall hearing remarks that Hitler spoke with a "lower class Austrian accent", unlike the more educated Germans that had been their ancestors before coming to the US in the early 20th century. Having been around English speaking Germans who had patrician accents, as heard by a German, I could definitely hear the difference.

I guess it comes down to a movie characterization and what you want the character to be. For Hitler, he must sound like an evil lunatic barking dog, however that translates into English. Some of this hits close to home in the sense that we, in the US, have stereotypes about the sort of speech that political lunatics have. It's rough for OK people to get stuck with that accent, in spite of the fact that they are not seesesh-klansmen.

Unfortunately, however, speech mannerisms are one of the easiest ways to tell an audience who the bad guy is in the shortest span of time.



Meryl Street playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady had the perfect British accent. Distinctive, but not overpowering. What a performance from Streep: she was Thatcher.



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Interesting.. I remember her doing a lousy accent in that movie with Clint Eastwood. Nothing even close to Italian, but I imagine English is easier. I think I'm going to watch it - you have been very good with recommendations, especially foreign films.



Even worse, of course, is Nazis with British accents. There must be a movie or two that has this.
Yeah, there are, but they're officers, not draftees. The cannon fodder guys could not sound British.

My other observation is that when they do emote in German, they always do it with a high pitched male voice, kind of an authoritarian parrot squawk.



It doesn't annoy me a bit with Brits doing American accents because I can always pick up when they let slip occasionally and also in a way are losing that part of a performance they can bring with their voice that could be remembered in its own right if that makes sense, yeah it can be okay, it can be passable but it will never be iconic, Benedict Cumberbqtch, Martin Freeman, Daniel Radcliffe or example just so standard American baseline but Al Pacino don't sound like that, Tom Hanks don't sound like that, Denzil Washington don't sound like that, sure they sound American but also they also have their own distinct sound, as a Brit doing American accents you aren't going to have that so many be left without a voice.



I've discovered over the past couple of years, that I have no skill at distinguishing real accents from accents affected for a role. I didn't know until the night that he accepted his Oscar that Christian Bale was British. I had no idea that two cast members from the ABC series Brothers and Sisters. Rachel Griffiths and Matthew Rhys, were British. I didn't know that David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King in Selma was British. It wasn't until I saw him in an interview situation on television that I realized Idris Elba was British.



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I didn't know until the night that he accepted his Oscar that Christian Bale was British..

Wow! I have only heard him speak with a very American accent. He's the only working actor who I think is pretty good, despite that bad movie (Laurel Canyon or something), but thought Patrick Bateman was probably the last memorable character (besides Daniel Plainview; Daniel Day Lewis) in "American Psycho". And despite it not being a great movie, I thought he was good in "The Machinist". I might have to take a look at his filmography sometime soon. Maybe find an interview with his accent!



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I've discovered over the past couple of years, that I have no skill at distinguishing real accents from accents affected for a role. I didn't know until the night that he accepted his Oscar that Christian Bale was British. I had no idea that two cast members from the ABC series Brothers and Sisters. Rachel Griffiths and Matthew Rhys, were British. I didn't know that David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King in Selma was British. It wasn't until I saw him in an interview situation on television that I realized Idris Elba was British.

Christian Bale does an unbelievable accent in Reign of Fire. He really lays it on thick. Come to think of it, he lays it on a bit thick in The Prestige as well. I think I only "believe" him as an American.



I had no idea that two cast members from the ABC series Brothers and Sisters. Rachel Griffiths and Matthew Rhys, were British.
Rachel Griffiths is Australian.
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Rachel Griffiths is Australian.
And no doubt Rhys would like to be described as Welsh rather than British.