To be an actor of success, the talent and looks are not enough. In fact, one of the most important and distinguishing features that agents look at on a performer’s curriculum is the ability to speak accents. As banal as it might seem, it is something that could be decisive when the director needs to choose between two actors for a role.
Within the film & television industry, performers have won huge awards for playing a character with an accent. Some iconic instances are Meryl Streep playing the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, Florence Pugh and Saoirse Ronan with a Southern American in Little Women. Of course many of our beloved characters like Idris Elba in The Wire and Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr. Strange brought the British performers' skills of accents to beloved hits.
BBC (2019) reports that, those who hear the actress speak for the first time after seeing her in the series, are shocked by her strong native Liverpool accent: ‘fans were shocked to hear Jodie Comer’s Liverpudlian accent in real-life after getting to know her as that show’s vocally chameleonic assassin Villanelle, who switches between Russian, French, Italian and German’. In an interview for Grazia Magazine (2019), after being asked how she is so talented with accents, Jodie explains that switching up accents was a game she used to play with her dad, and that it is essential in order to bring to life authentic roles: ‘when I’m doing my own accent I find it harder to separate myself from the character’.
What do casting & production need for accents?
Accents are skills that take time and practice, but now is the time to get started! With the world on hold, actors have the chance to develop their skills and update their CVs with new experiences even at home! Pick which accent you want to learn and get started!
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