The Ridiculous Stories Behind 13 TV and Movie Accents

The Ridiculous Stories Behind 13 TV and Movie Accents

If the actor themself is, say, British but they adopt an “American” accent for a movie or TV show, and we just kind of forget they’re British (or better yet, if we were shocked to find out that they’ve been British all along), then they’re doing some truly excellent work. While sticking around for Inside the Episode after Succession, it’s honestly quite jarring to hear Sarah Snook’s Aussie accent. Like, come on… Shiv doesn’t sound like that, Sarah! 

On the flip side, when an actor’s accent isn’t up to snuff, it’s like the director plunked a cartoon character into the real world. Roger Rabbit style. Those choices (or lack thereof) in the accent realm can haunt an actor for the rest of their career. Good, bad, or cartoonish, every movie accent has a story. Most are your run-of-the-mill “I got a dialect coach and worked with them until I got it right” bore-fests, but some will make you go “Hmm, well that’s just downright interesting.” Like these 13 ridiculous stories behind some of the most well known movie and TV accents.  

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Shmaaa, see! I know ya did it sweet haawwt. We gotcha prints all ova the joint.

THAT FUNNY OLD HOLLYWOOD ACCENT IN EVERY CLASSIC MOVIE. CRACKED The Mid Atlantic or Transatlantic accent is an old-timey British and American hybrid that is attributed to Edith Skinner's book Speak with Distinction. With a growing middle class after WWII, this aristocratic accent was dropped in movies (and everyday life).

Youtube / Backstage 

There’s a lot going on in Natalie Portman’s take on Jackie O.

NATALIE PORTMAN'S ACCENT SOUP IN JACKIE. GRACKED Linguists say that her movie accent might sound ridiculous to most, but it's spot-on. They describe it as Long Island mixed with Ivy League colleges of the time. It has Mid-Atlantic intonation and is partially aristocratic with a dash of Massachusetts.

The Guardian / Time 

Whoa, dude. That’s like, a vampire, er whatever. Far out!

KEANU REEVES' BRUTAL ACCENT IN BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA. CRACKED Fresh off of Bill & Ted and Point Break, he brought that stoner surfer to his English accent. Francis Ford Coppola said In trying to do it perfectly, it came off as stilted. I tried to get him to relax and not do it so fastidiously. Maybe I wasn't as critical of him, because I like him personally so much.

Far Out Mag / Comicbook 

Yet another example of Tom Hanks’ complete lovability.

YOUNG FORREST GUMP INSPIRED ТОМ HANKS' ACCENT (KIND OF). CRACKED Forrest Gump is from Alabama, but Tom Hanks gave him a Mississippi accent because the actor playing young Forrest (Michael Conner Humphreys) couldn't hide his Mississippi accent.

Screen Rant / Looper 

Be honest. We all don a British accent when things get a little ritzy.

WHY PRINCESS LEIA'S BRITISH ACCENT COMES AND GOES. STAR WARS CRACKED Since the Han/Leia relationship was meant to be the gruff American meets royalty, her dialogue is written to be posh. When criticized about the accent, she said Say those lines like an American and l'll pay you.

Yahoo / Charactour 

To be fair, whatever he was doing, he sounded pretty evil.

JOHN VOIGHT'S MYSTERY ACCENT IN ANACONDA. CRACKED His character is from Paraguay, but he just made up his own villainous accent. One critic said He sounds like Al Pacino's Scarface, full of delicious, dialect-mangling bluster. Elsewhere, he sounds like an Italian struggling with English as a 2nd language.

AV Club / Misantropey 

It really was a shock when we realized Stringer Bell was actually English.

IDRIS ELBA HID HIS ENGLISH ACCENT TO LAND HIS ROLE ON THE WIRE. CRACKED David Simon said, This is about Baltimore. I don't want to see no non-Americans for any of these roles. The casting director loved Elba as Stringer Bell, and told him to speak American to Simon. Simon was impressed that he couldn't detect his English roots at all.

Paste Magazine / Slashfilm 

When an accent doesn’t really exist, you just have to invent one.

DOMHNALL GLEESON INVENTED AN ACCENT FOR DR. FARADAY. THE LITTLE STRANGER CRACKED The Irish actor worked with a dialect coach to invent a new English accent, because the character is lower class but aspires to be upper class. He'd listen to Philip Larkin reading his own poems, since the lower class poet was trying to sound posh.


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