Some Film Actors like Meryl Streep are adept at playing characters with a whole range of different accents and regional dialects. However, some film actors who should be best kept nameless but who I will now mercilessly name are best kept to their “mother tongues” because when they try to venture into changing the natural rhythms and cadences of their voices, the results are often quite painful to the human ear.
Park The Cah in Haavad Yaaad
Having gone to school in Boston, I know that the regional accents are often subtle. I can therefore categorically say that not everyone speaks like John F. Kennedy after a visit to the dentist. Unfortunately, I don’t think Tom Hans or Rob Morrow ever got my memo.
Sure Charles Van Doren famously lied about getting the answers on 21 in the film Quiz Show, but I believe the more grievous crime was Rob Morrow’s ridiculously thick “bahstonian” accent in Quiz Show. Its lucky he was a lawyer and not a dialect coach. His clients would sue.
Tom Hanks is a respected actor known for versatility in comedy and drama. Yet accents are not his strong suit. Even Forrest Gump where he must put on a southern accent is cartoon-ish and only aided somewhat by the reality that Gump was mentally challenged so therefore spoke in a halting and overly deliberate way. But, Hanks bizarrely bad boston accent in “Catch Me If You Can” cannot be attributable to any inferior intellect. In this instance, Hanks character was in complete control of all his faculties…except for speech.
2 thick accents don’t mix
Russel Crowe is known for his intensity and dissolving into the characters he plays. unfortunately his australian accent doesn’t always make the seamless transition. In A Beautiful Mind or Cinderella Man his accents it still sounds like a mix of australian/new york or australian/southern. A mumble-mouthed jumble… a verbal concoction that savages two dialects in the process. Maybe the more merciful way to go was to dub Crowe’s audio using another actor.
In the history of bad accents, Keanu Reeves should be given the gold trophy. In the film Dracula, his accent is so bad you wish that a vampire would put an early end to his life. In the film, “Devil’s Advocate”, Keanu voices a southern accent so fowl, him and his law clients deserved death by lethal injection. In fact, in most films Keanu seems even barely able to speak his native language, English, with any degree of fluency or meaning . When he is called on to speak, Reeves talking pattern is as awkward as any space alien or a 6 year old reading a Dick and Jane Book for the first time.
Holly Hunter- The accent from nowhere
Holly Hunter has an eccentric sounding southern accent which she cannot shake and even sounds out of place in films in which her characters are supposed to have southern roots. Simply put, her voice doesn’t exactly match her face. When watching any of her films, you might always find yourself asking, Why does this character have this weird southern accent? So film-makers almost have to concoct a colorful backstory to explain why Holly Hunter has an eccentric southern drawl…ie her character often summered in a farm in rural Arkansas. fittingly, she Hunter was honored for an Oscar for her work in the Piano, in a role in which she did not speak out loud.
Speak Russian? Nyet!
I think its safe to generalize and say that most actors cannot do a convincing Russian Accent. Inevitably, they all sound like some variation of “Boris” from the old Bullwinkle Cartoon . For instance John Malkovich’s ridiculously over-the-top accent in “Rounders”. If he tried that voice in real life, He’d be laughed out of any self-respecting Russian Bathhouse or denied service in any restaurant in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn which served pirogis. Thankfully, in the film “Inside John Malkovich” the actor was not called upon to to illicit any particular foreign accent. The last thing you’d want to be is trapped in his subconscious or the scene with the multiple malkovich’s all speaking in bad Russian continuously. Nyet, Definitely Nyet!