Foreign actors turn to accent coaches to land lucrative Hollywood roles

World Today

Foreign actors turn to accent coaches to land lucrative Hollywood roles

For Hollywood actors, it’s not just how they perform, it’s also how they speak that could determine whether they make it to the Big Screen.

That explains why some international actors are spending thousands of dollars on dialect coaches to help get booked for roles that Americans might usually play.

CGTN’s Frances Read reports from Los Angeles.

“She’s been living with us– she met when our parents divorced,” said English actress Emma Watson in the film, The Bling Ring.

They may sound American but they’re actually English and Irish

“What makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you?” asked Irish actor Colin Farrell in the Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Because acting American is one of the key skills Hollywood’s stars are now being asked to do. But pulling off a convincing accent doesn’t always work out. Well-known actor Dick Van Dyke last month apologized for what he called the most “atrocious cockney accent in the history of cinema” as the chimney sweep in the 1964 movie Mary Poppins.

“Mary Poppins, you look beautiful,” he said in the Disney hit. Maybe they’ve made Tinsel Town their home, maybe they even have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but most actors need a little bit of extra help and that means there’s a new boom in Hollywood.

There’s an increasing demand for dialect coaches–people like Gaby Santinelli. And that’s because of actors like Darren Darnborough. He’s British – but many of his roles in Hollywood require an American accent. He’s been in popular U.S. shows, ranging from Two Broke Girls to True Blood, and mastering the American accent was make or break for his career in Hollywood.

“If I’m going in for an American role, I know that I’m competing against all the Americans, so you’ve got to be as good as them and nail the accent and if you can’t do one of those things then you don’t really have a chance,” said Darnborough.

“I’m personally seeing a steady stream of actors asking, ‘Who can help me with my accent’,’” said Accent Integration Coach Gaby Santinelli. “I’m sure that other dialect coaches are feeling that as well because, as people are getting off flights at LAX and saying, ‘Oh I got my car, I got my visa, I got my apartment, I got my agent, I got my photos, suddenly, they’re like, ‘I have to speak a different way.’”

And speaking in that different way isn’t easy–at least not without sounding cheesy.