Sunday, October 16, 2011

Accents Mastered

At home with Joe and his friends Erik and Nate watching the Brewers hanging on in the NLCS (Joe is a Wisonsinite) and I thought I'd follow through on one of my original post ideas for Word on the Streep. Meryl historically has an affinity for learning accents to embody her characters and I feel it appropriate to list those she has mastered. Some critics (Katharine Hepburn included) think Meryl relies too much on technique in her work, accents in several roles presumably being a manifestation of that. I like to quote Meryl when she has been asked about this: "I'm always baffled by this question... How could I play that part and talk like me?" For me, it's just another component of what makes up a very convincing performance. The following is a chronological list (hopefully complete) of the accents utilized by our favorite onscreen polyglot.

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)--British (specifically Received Pronunciation)
Sophie's Choice (1982)--Polish (in English and German)
Silkwood (1983)--rural Oklahoma
Plenty (1985)--British
Out of Africa (1985)--Danish
Ironweed (1987)--Irish-American
A Cry in the Dark (1988)--New Zealand (with strong layers of Australian)
The Bridges of Madison County (1995)--Italian (Meryl calls it Iowatalian)
Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)--Irish
Angels in America (2003)--Yiddish and Bronx (in separate roles)
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)--Midwestern
Doubt (2008)--Bronx
Julie & Julia (2009)--Boston Brahmin
The Iron Lady (2011)--British (again Received Pronunciation)

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