Well, I do notice a big difference when British actors are doing “American” accents in shows that are marketed to British audiences. The accents tend to be terrible but I’ve always chalked this up to being how British audiences imagine Americans sound. The same actor can do an accent in a show or movie marketed to American audiences and it sounds genuine. I’ve always found that weird. As far as American actors doing British accents… well, there are few who are truly capable from what I’ve seen.
I thought Pitt’s Mincéir accent was good. Really surprising. I haven’t actually seen the film though, just his clips.
And talking of people doing Irish accents Julia Roberts got dumped on for her generic Irish accent in Michael Collins but I always maintain the worst example in the film is Liam Neeson in the title role: I’ve never heard a more Antrim sounding Cork person ever (Antrim is up North, opposite end of the country, they are mutually unintelligible accents if in any way pronounced).
My favourite bad Irish accent though is also not American: it’s Mick Jagger’s in Ned Kelly and it’s beautifully, ear bleedingly bad. In general the problem with Irish accents on film is that they almost never are recognisably from say Dublin, or Cork, or Galway, or Belfast but rather from some imaginary village in the middle of nowhere in the 19th Century. I guess with English accents it’s generically posh that people do, and to me posh English people don’t seem to have too much regional variation. I mean you don’t really see too many films with Americans doing Estuary accents.
My elder daughter picked up a posh English accent when she was a toddler from Peppa Pig. I was morto.
I agree. I should have been clearer: Brit FILM actors… rather than Brit TV actors. The worst I’ve heard on TV have been AbFab, Fawlty Towers, and the Comic Strip. Yikes! On American actors, Meryl Streep makes up for all the rest; she can do any accent. (Peter Sellers had the same gift. He also brilliantly did what I call “a non-American-attempting-to-sound-American-without-knowing-the-English-language accent”; that happened in a restaurant scene in “After the Fox”.)
The mistake she makes in all of this is to assume there’s an English accent, or a Scottish accent, or even a Highland or Glasgow accent. None of those exist. Angelina Jolie is speaking what is known as RP or Received Pronunciation, which has no geographical origin but is an accent concocted largely by the BBC and used in drama schools for people who want to do Shakespeare.
She doesn’t really know what she’s talking about. If I started going on about the American accent I’d be laughed out of Vanity Fair, and quite right too.
So having said all that, which part did you find excellent?
I don’t think she makes that mistake. She lists several varieties of English and Scottish accent, and doesn’t give the impression that those are the only varieties. And while it’s true there is not a singular Glasgow accent, it doesn’t make the phrase “a Glasgow accent” meaningless: I might be confident enough to describe someone as having a Glasgow accent, without knowing enough to venture which precise area of Glasgow.
She explicitly says this.
I heard it was the result of courtiers trying to imitate the German vowels of George I.
Louis Theroux is up there as well
cf. Hugh Laurie. Of course this was comedy and done in an intentionally over the top style. I’m not even sure whether they’re trying to be American as much as just copying American mannerisms and speech patterns from these kinds of shows.
I’ve not seen all of it but the in the few clips of dolittle i have unfortunately seen robert downey jr is apparently doing a welsh accent. I say apparently because it doesn’t sound remotely like any welsh accent i ever heard. Supposedly he based the character on the 1800s welsh doctor william price (quite a character).
I’m pretty sure they’re not, just eighties bombastic City types.
Hugh Laurie’s American accent was apparently good enough to fool Bryan Singer, who was determined to have an American actor play Dr Gregory House.
And then the Men of Harlech rose up and cursed him.
Well, my ears certainly felt under siege listening to it. Amiright!
Oh that’s not great. What makes things worse is he’s starring opposite Michael Sheen, an actual Welshman.
Also John Barrowman, who doesn’t often bust out his original accent, but can when he wants to.
Oh, forget dolittle, i now want to watch Sheen playing William Price in a biopic and given how he’s looking during this lockdown period i can well imagine it.
We just found out about this, and it caused the husband to ask that perennial question again - “how do we get the BBC?” - and for me to give the perennial answer - “move to Britain.”
(Yes, I know technology lets one do things nowadays. We’re just old Anglophiles who really want a flat in London and a cottage in the Lake District or the Cotswalds and the TARDIS.)
Oh, yes. If you enjoy the idea of Sheen and Tennant snarking at one another over video conference (they are genuine friends afk) then you’ll enjoy it. It’s very funny.
Ah, that looks great. I’m gonna have to watch that.
And of course, Good Omens.
For my money, Michael Sheen is well on the way to National Treasure status.
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