Why don't they use actors who are native speakers?

(166 Posts)
BlackCatShadow Wed 14-Apr-21 06:01:47

I've been watching The Serpent (no spoilers please!!) on Netflix and I'm wondering why they cast actors who can't speak a language in these parts. I get Jenna Coleman looks the part but surely they could have found an actress in the whole of Quebec who would have done. The same for the Dutch guy, why cast someone who can't actually speak Dutch?

I don't speak Spanish, but the guy they cast as Fring in Breaking Bad could not speak Spanish at all. He sounded awful. Or does it just not matter? Perhaps it doesn't bother people.

I know some actors can do accents better than others but has any actor actually managed to fake speaking a language they don't actually speak well in a TV show or movie?

OP’s posts: |
NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Wed 14-Apr-21 06:59:35

I think it depends. If 98% of the film is in english and there's a handful of lines in the foreign language, you are going to really limit yourself in terms of actor choice if you try to find one with say, perfect French AND accentless English. If the film is targeting the English speaking market, most of the people watching the film won't really notice that the few lines in French are a bit crap.

Littlebluebird123 Wed 14-Apr-21 07:02:13

Jodie Comer is the only actor I know who has been able to pull off various accents. (Although I only speak English and French so maybe her other languages are rubbish!)

Phrenologist Wed 14-Apr-21 07:02:55

Who knows? Who knows why you would cast Matthew Goode as an Irishman when his intermittent attempts at the accent sounded like an Old Harrovian having a stroke?

peak2021 Wed 14-Apr-21 07:03:54

Perhaps the issue may in part be the reluctance of many English people to bother learning other languages (I deliberately say English not British).

FridayNightAtTheBronze Wed 14-Apr-21 07:04:16

I agree OP. One of my pet hates when watching a movie or TV show is an actor who can't do the accent, I actually find it ruins whatever I'm watching as I can't concentrate on anything else.

edgeware Wed 14-Apr-21 07:08:48

Oh my god the Dutch accent in that show. Painfully bad.

Watching Stephen Graham doing a Welsh accent - also painful.

Comtesse Wed 14-Apr-21 07:15:57

Are you complaining about the accents or the inability to speak the language itself?? You wouldn’t need say a Spanish actor to speak English with a Spanish accent - that would be daft, no?

Diane Kruger is German, speaks impeccable French and her English is awesome too. Really impressive....

Stellaris22 Wed 14-Apr-21 07:22:12

I agree. I have a friend who is Russian and they get really annoyed whenever any film or show has actors trying to be Russian. They don't speak the language at all and it's just made up nonsense.

ToffeePennie Wed 14-Apr-21 07:29:54

It drive me insane, that they get actors who have painfully bad accents/clearly don’t know or understand the language and rules of pronunciation.
As an English person I speak 5 different languages (European but still) fairly fluently and with good accents too. It’s really not been that difficult to do so I don’t understand why a production company can’t find a decent language tutor for their “stars” to learn it!

BlackCatShadow Wed 14-Apr-21 07:34:26

Ok, I totally take the point that many people can speak a language just as well as a native speaker, so I am definitely wrong about that. I guess I just mean why hire someone to act in a role that requires them to speak in a language that they can't actually speak? I guess some actors can fake an accent well, but to make the language they are trying to speak sound fluent when they have only been studying it for a few months is very, very difficult. I don't see studios hiring someone to speak English when they can't actually speak English, so they just read phonetically the whole time. It just seems a bit disrespectful to other countries that they do that.

OP’s posts: |
Sometimeswinning Wed 14-Apr-21 07:34:29

I didn't know the guy off line of duty was scottish until recently.

Stephen Graham would definitely annoy me. His accent is all part of his charm!

Temp023 Wed 14-Apr-21 07:34:47

And I know for a fact that Orlando Bloom only knows 3 words of elvish..

ToffeePennie, I hope for your sake and the sake of everyone who knows you, that your post is a joke..

It’s ACTING people, Eddie Redmayne can’t ski jump, Keane Reeves doesn’t know how to programme a computer.. all acting!

JackieWeaverHandforthCouncil Wed 14-Apr-21 07:37:51

I have no idea what a genuine Quebec accent sounds like so it didn’t bother me. I can only tell dodgy versions of English accents (particularly SE English) and those are the ones which irritate me.

BigFatLiar Wed 14-Apr-21 07:42:09

Why do all the aliens on stargate speak english (apart from the baddies).

They're just movies or telly programmes, if you watch some of the movies in Spain or Portugal etc you may be amazed at how well some of these actors suddenly seem to speak the language.

GreeboIsMySpiritAnimal Wed 14-Apr-21 07:51:53

Spotlight (casting website for actors) is full of job adverts for "native speakers" of certain languages, or "genuine accents only." But I guess once you get to a certain level they are more interested in having a "name" than whether or not that name can do a flawless accent!

ChardonnaysPetDragon Wed 14-Apr-21 07:54:08

I think the Russian villain accent is widely used for comedy effect.

gabsdot45 Wed 14-Apr-21 07:54:36

You could argue that they should only use American actors for American roles or Scottish actors for Scorrish Roles.
Being an actor is all about pretending to be someone else so I guess doing accents is part of it,
In saying that I could never understand why they got Hugh Jackman to do the voice of Roddy in Flushed Away. He did an English accent so he didn't sound like himself, he also wasn't that famous at the time. I always thought they could have got any random English actor to do the voice. And in the same film, Kate Winslet did the voice of the other Rat and she did a cockney accent so she didn't sound like herself either.

KrisAkabusi Wed 14-Apr-21 07:55:11

It's a practical thing. How many say, Bulgarian actors are there, that fit the role, that are available, and in the UK, and speak English well enough to take direction? You're massively limiting who you can cast. It's much easier to find an English actor that can fake the accent, as the vast majority of people won't notice if it's good or bad.

BrumBoo Wed 14-Apr-21 08:01:41

Closer to home, that Larry Lamb show set in North Wales was utterly awful from the tiny bit I saw. All the Welsh cast didn't even attempt a North Wales dialect, resulting in a show that's the equivalent of Cornish people living in Manchester and acting like that's the local accent hmm.

banivani Wed 14-Apr-21 08:09:27

YANBU OP, this bothers me immensely too. It throws me out of the film. I get that the casting might be a little more difficult, but in the age of the internet surely not impossible. It's just proof of how much in cinema/tv is down to contacts or existing relationships. If they're going to be speaking a foreign language it's incredibly lazy to not find someone who actually speaks it. If they're just doing an accent they also need to find people who are good at accents. I am not impressed by Tom Cruise Irish or Don Cheadle "Cockney" or those myriads of comedy Russian baddie accents. Half the time they are big productions with loads of money, not school plays.

LiberteEgaliteBeyonce Wed 14-Apr-21 08:14:00

I agree OP. Jenna Coleman, although great in the serie, didn't not sound remotely québécoise. I cannot quite believe there was no actual actress from Quebec worth employing.

MrsTophamHat Wed 14-Apr-21 08:18:09

Poor accents are incredibly distracting.

My bugbear is when they have an actor doing a regional accent when there is absolutely no reason why their character needs to be from that place.

Haunting of Hill House season 2 on Netflix had a character doing a terrible terrible Scottish accent. There was no reason whatsoever why the character had to be Scottish

BloodyInternetFood Wed 14-Apr-21 08:22:30

The main characters would be cast because of who they are. The name draws viewers in.

If you mean the smaller characters or an actor who isn't well known then I don't know..it's puzzling.

Such as Peaky Blinders, the accents in that have come under a lot of critism. Cillian Murphy is there for the draw - so fine - but I'm sure I read there weren't any actors who came from Birmingham in the first series. Which just seems a weird casting choice. (Also I've been told the accent has improved as it went on, least I was told Cillian Murphy's did, so maybe it's to do with money spent on accent coaches; as it proves popular they invest more?)

Sparklingbrook Wed 14-Apr-21 08:24:57

In Normal People Daisy Edgar Jones managed to do a perfect Irish accent apparently. I don't know how they couldn't find an Irish actress though I read that they scoured the world. confused

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