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Game of Thrones to Peaky Blinders: 7 English accents that were too accurate in films and shows

Sunep Imchen

Sunep Imchen
Jul 06, 2021

Getting the accents correct adds a touch of authenticity that draws viewers and audiences to the character and the film. Here are some of the actors who managed to pull off popular English accents in films and shows.

The responsibility of actors in cinema is to give life to the characters that they play. An actor pieces multiple components of human traits to mould the character into its closest resemblance to a real person. They range from gait, mannerisms, posture and so forth. One key aspect that is equally important is the delivery of the dialogues in the accent of the language for which the role is created. Getting the accents correct adds a touch of authenticity that draws viewers and audiences to both the character and the film. Perfecting it requires them to dig deep within the realms of their creative ability to not only extend the limits of their capabilities but also elevate the quality of their work.

1
Mare of Easttown
8.1OTTplay Rating
Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown) Kate Winslet's new series Mare of Easttown has been well received by viewers. But what has been a topic of discussion on various online forums is the accent of English spoken in the series. The Delco accent or also the Delaware County accent is a characteristic trait of how certain syllables are stressed on which leads to words being pronounced in a slightly different accent that is unique to the county. Before filming, the producers thought to go ahead with a general New York dialect and it wasn't until Kate Winslet decided that she wanted to portray her character in the closest resemblance to someone who would have been native to the area. It was Kate Winslet's wish to have her accent portrayed in the series to be as authentic as possible to bring out the connection of the story to the Philadelphia area. This, according to her, was one of the toughest parts of the entire series to master during her preparation. The Delco For contextual purposes, the "Delco accent" is a version of the Philadelphia accent common in the Delaware County area. The show's creator Brad Ingelsby, who grew up within the area, wanted to create a gripping, yet believable, crime drama based out of a small town - which eventually led to Winslet wanting to master the regional dialect, to bring out an authentic character. This was by no means an easy task and is also considered as one of the hardest accents to master, according to experts. Being familiar with the area around the county, Ingelsby made some alterations concerning the shooting location. In the series, Easttown is located in Delaware County, while the real Easttown is located in Chester County, just on the Delaware County border. The reason for the change being the connection of the blue-collared community vibe found in the real Easttown [Where to watch in India: Disney+ Hotstar]
2
Sophie's Choice
8OTTplay Rating
Meryl Streep (Sophie's Choice)In Alan J Pakula's directorial debut, Sophie's Choice, Meryl Streep plays the character of Zofia 'Sophie' Zawistowski, a Polish-Catholic, an Auschwitz survivor. One of the primary reasons why the film finds so much empathy and connection with Sophie is Streep's ability to show the audience that Sophie is 'real'. The main reason why filmgoers believe Zofia and her story is because of her speech. The movie required Streep to take on a deeply emotional and sensitive role and she was determined to do justice to the part, which included getting the accent right. In the film, Zofia spoke English with a Polish accent and also German with a Polish accent, which brought life to the fictional character and convinced viewers that the events in Zofia's life were indeed real and true. Streep dedicated herself to learning both languages to make sure that she was able to convincingly pull off not only the Polish accent but also the delivery of her German with a Polish accent. Many of Streep's fans and even critics consider this to be her finest performance to date because of her portrayal of the character which generated genuine empathy and emotional connection with its audience. Meryl Steep remains undoubtedly of the most accomplished stars and it is no wonder that her dedication to her craft made her learn not one but two languages for a single role while imbibing the fine variations in the accents. Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for her performance in the film. [Where to watch in India: NA]
3
Peaky Blinders
9.2OTTplay Rating
Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) Cillian Murphy plays Tommy Shelby, head of the Shelby crime family in the Netflix series, Peaky Blinders. In the series, there is an attempt to portray the Brummie or the Birmingham accent. The Brummie accent has always been treated rather unfairly and is often categorized as being abrasive, dirty, unpolished and unintelligent. Bringing the history of Birmingham into the context of the show has given the accent a character and a place of prominence, lifting it out of the depths of the negative connotations attached to it. Tommy Shelby, Murphy's character certainly played its part in opening people's eyes and ears to the Brummie and even it being appreciated to a large extent owing to the show's popularity backed by a large global audience. Stephen Knight, the show's writer who was born in Birmingham, had a theory on the low number of dramas set in Birmingham which is due to the difficulty in getting the Brummie accent right for a character from Birmingham. Murphy's accent has been mentioned as the best attempt by a non-native from the show and only a few instances of the mispronunciation of an odd word gives the true accent away. Overall, as per critics and accent coaches, Cillian's Brummie accent comes very close to sounding like someone who’s from Birmingham but has moved away from there, leading to a softening of the accent over time. [Where to watch in India: Netflix]
4
Game of Thrones
9.2OTTplay Rating
Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones) Peter Dinklage, famous for playing the role of Tyrion Lannister in the very popular TV series Game of Thrones, is often mistaken to be British due to his role and the accent associated with it. However, Dinklage was born and raised in New Jersey, USA. For the role of Tyrion Lannister, he used a Received Pronunciation (RP) English accent which is the standard 'English accent' heard in historical movies and period drama because it is clear and familiar to audiences. Several members of the cast in Game of Thrones are from all over the United Kingdom and each one of the characters altered their accents to fit into their respective characters of Westeros - whose accents vary within the lore created by G R R Martin in A Song of Ice and Fire series of books. For instance, the Lannisters portray a Southern posh, or 'Received Pronunciation.' In comparison, Sean Bean who plays Ned Stark has an accent often heard in the North (of England) which was kept in line with the show while RP is associated with Queen's English, which 'Northerners' would not use as in line with the Game of Thrones mythos. Peter Dinklage in his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, employed a distinct halt between each phrase which is an attempt to stress on certain words or syllables and closely matches a received pronunciation accent. Since it is a more standardized accent, it is, therefore, difficult to identify traces of not only the accent for the role but also his original accent. However, it does not take away from the delivery of Dinklage's character in the entire series and he remains one of the most iconic roles in the story. [Where to watch in India: Disney+ Hotstar]
5
Lincoln
7.1OTTplay Rating
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) One of the finest actors of his generation, Daniel Day-Lewis played the role of the former president of the USA, Abraham Lincoln in the film, Lincoln. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film brings to life one of the most prominent political figures in the history of the US. According to popular belief, the persona of Lincoln is believed to be larger than life which is largely enhanced by a deep baritone voice. However, according to Historians, Lincoln had a nasal tone with a high voice that floated and reached over across large crowds. The first phonograph (which is a device to record and playback sounds) was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison. This was twelve years after Abraham Lincoln's death. Therefore, there remains no recording of Abraham Lincoln's speeches to validate the traits of Lincoln which historians had accumulated based on the writings and accounts that would have helped reaffirm his status as one of the great orators of America. The actor is known for his extreme level of dedication and would emotionally and mentally immerse himself into his roles. He is notorious for the detailed research done on his characters and their mannerisms, especially accents. For one of his films, Gangs of New York where he plays a 19th-century gang leader, he is said to have listened to one of the only recordings of Walt Whitman, the Brooklyn-born poet, to incorporate the New York accent of yesteryear into his character. For the role of Lincoln, Day-Lewis visited the National Archive to listen to the recordings of people who grew up in the regions of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois where President Lincoln spent most of his life, ranging from childhood to early adulthood, which is also known to be the formative years of acquiring and developing an accent. Day-Lewis also sought the help of contemporary accounts of Lincoln, which all mentioned that his voice was sharp and piercing for a man of such stature. For developing and growing into the character, he began to slowly and steadily sound like politicians and governors from the regions around Kentucky and Indiana. Daniel Day-Lewis believed that to adapt to the role truly, one needed to portray the voice and the accent as close as possible to the character and therefore it was always a key part of his role development process. [Where to watch in India: SonyLiv]
6
Hotel Rwanda
8.5OTTplay Rating
Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) Don Cheadle was born Donald Frank Cheadle Jr on November 29, 1964, in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He made his film debut in 1985 which was followed by various stints on television. Audiences finally took notice of his acting prowess in the film Hamburger Hill in 1987. However, his standout performance came in the movie Hotel Rwanda where he plays Paul Rusesabagina, a real-life hotel manager who risked his own life to save hundreds of refugees during the brutal ethnic cleansing that took place during the Rwandan civil war. It took Cheadle four months to get into Paul's character and was the longest time he had ever taken to get to know and be another person. Along with the dedication to his craft, it was his moral responsibility to the survivors of the event as an actor, to play the character in its truest form possible. To perfect the nuances of the Rwandan accent and its mannerism, he relied upon the firsthand accounts of victims and witnesses. He hired a dialect coach and took him to Africa where he spent a great deal of time with Paul daily to not only pick up the nuances of the accent but also the behavioural traits of people from the region and their mannerisms that are a part of their daily routine. Don Cheadle's portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. [Where to watch in India: Amazon Prime Video]
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