I have wondered about this for some time, but it came to a head last week, after watching David Tennant (Doctor Who, Hamlet) forcing out an American accent on Gracepoint, the American remake of Britain’s Broadchurch, on which Tennant also starred - but to much greater effect, since he didn’t have to force out a fake American accent.
Tennant isn’t the only Doctor Who actor currently on American TV; Fellow Scot Karen Gillian is also forced to entertain us with an American accent on ABC’s Selfie.
The technical term of the word “selfie” by the way is “I don’t have any friends who can take a photograph, so I am forced to aim this camera at myself. I’m such a loser.”
But I digress (I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again) so back to the subject at hand - why bother to hire someone who is a success at what they do, and deprive them of one of their chief acting tools - their voice?
Someone suggested to me that the reason is because network execs are afraid of accents that aren’t middle-American. I’m not sure how true that is, but it reminds me of the time when the BBC - way back in the 1950s and 1960s - required all actors to have a sort of “London” accent. Regional accents were frowned upon, which is a far cry from what you get on British television these days.
Sometimes an actor can carry it off, but in the case of David Tennant, an actor who has impressed the world with performances in film, television and on stage (including a powerful interpretation of Hamlet) is just hobbled by having to bring forth an American accent.
Especially since we have so many folks from other nations in almost every major city in America; it can be a daily occurrence to buy coffee from someone from Scotland, and hardware from an Englishman, any day of the week.
It is not only condescending to an audience to force actors to sound just like everyone else, it is insulting, as well.
But then, it is TV - we should be used to that by now.
Quote of the Day
What is it that attracts me to the young? When I am with mature people I feel their rigidities, their tight crystallizations. They have become, at least in my eyes, like the statues of the famous. Achieved. Final. - Anaïs Nin