Everyone that has ever watched a movie has listened to a slew of accents being used in various ways and if we know our accents we might have even winced at the use of them at times. Some accents are just harder to use than others and some are almost impossible to get right when it comes down to actors from other regions trying to emulate them. Using a dialect expert to break it down is both a wise move and kind of a cheat since he can pick out all the regional dialects thanks to years of training and yet it takes some of the fun away from trying to decipher if the actors are doing it right or not.
Sometimes it’s just fun to listen and at least think that they might know what they’re doing. But then again if you live in those areas or have been there more than once or even known people with these accents you might laugh as you try to think how Hollywood would ever think that something like this could get past anyone.
He’s a master of a few accents but there are times when his use of certain accents just kind of slips. For instance in Snatch he was great, even Irish folks seem to think so and like anyone they’re just as discerning as can be when it comes to the accents they use. But in The Devil’s Own and Inglorious Basterds he falls just a bit short and is more of a stereotype than anything. He puts on a good show but when it comes to some accents he just doesn’t quite have it, at least not completely.
Will Smith isn’t really known for displaying a great number of accents since his natural voice is so strong that most parts he plays use that instead. But in Concussion the guy he was playing sounded more American than Smith did during the part, which is kind of off-putting in a way since it would seem that Smith was actually trying to speak like a native African rather than the real person he was portraying. Great points for acting but almost none for his accent.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
This actor was great during his career and he’s kind of missed at this point since he was the type of guy that could make you love his character or hate them with a passion. But his moment in Capote was simply phenomenal. A person might not think so unless they’d heard the real Truman Capote speak in person, but once you hear them side by side Hoffman was revealed to be an absolute wizard with the accent.
Does anyone buy Nicolas Cage being a good ol’ Southern boy in Con Air? If you do then you’ve likely never heard a real Southern accent or really listened. The expert looks mystified as to whether anyone really bought this accent or if it was some kind of joke since anyone that’s ever heard a Southerner talk is bound to realize that Cage sounds like he was skimming the surface of the accent and was too afraid to really get into it.
There are a bunch of accents in this world that are hard to simply pick up, but for an acting role one might think that any actor trying to take on an accent that isn’t their own would be given plenty of prep time and be allowed to get it right before going on screen. Well, sometimes production time doesn’t allow for things to be perfect I guess.