American accent in Symphony of a City, first reaction

I need to listen to this again to see if there’s more to be said about it (since it was broadcast over Varèse, which is very complex to listen to) but I think all the U.S. listeners are probably going, “wow, he tried an American accent!” right along with me. I was grading a paper while listening and I was so startled that I dropped my pen for a second.

Then I grabbed another piece of paper and started making notes.

Kudos for that, Mr. Armitage, especially after all the abuse Genevieve O’Reilly has taken for her accent in Spooks 8, of which you must be at least tangentially aware.

It really hit me because Ms. Fox read her first dos Passos excerpt with an American accent, but Mr. Armitage read his first dos Passos passage with his normal standard British accent and in a very literary mood. I thought, “wow, he reads that well, and he definitely gets the excitement of the passage, but I’ve always heard dos Passos in my head with a New York accent, and in not such a high literary mode. What makes dos Passos exciting (and innovative for his period) is his capturing of what the observers sees in the mood, idiom, and language of the man on the street.” And I thought, “oh well, makes sense for him not to do it, as he’s joked about his struggles with our accents before.” Who’d want to generate laughter about being a fake American?

And of course, he was fantastic with Wordsworth and Eliot. I’m not a big Eliot fan, but he of course spent a fair amount of time early in his career with the most well-known popular adaptation of Eliot’s work, so he must know something about how to read and interpret it. He definitely sold me on Wordsworth, who I find is usually read badly for my tastes. I often find the Romantic poets are read with too much emotion, and I liked the restraint in his voice, the signal of a potential for greater emotional depth that was being held back.

But he read the second dos Passos passage with an American accent!!!! Squee!!!! The thought of Richard Armitage with a credible American accent is enough to put an American fangrrrl into serious overdrive. OMG! The very thought!

Admittedly, and please don’t understand this as blistering criticism, but an attempt to be realistic: I’m not sold on him as an American by any means. Not just yet. Even so, he gets more than “thanks for playing” from me, anyway. I’m giving him a low B (something like 83%) — above average, but just. Of course, my students always say I am a hard grader.

Here goes from my notes after one listening.

Pluses: he gets the “r” consonant right (placing it at the edges of his mouth and audibly anchoring it with his cheek musculature — you wouldn’t be able to hear the effort if a native speaker were doing this, as you can with him, but the sound is right, and that’s so hard for most Englishfolk) and he properly places the vowels that precede and follow it in his mouth, so they come out clearly, are recognizable, and largely credible. He’s good on “i” and “e” all the way through. “a” and “o” are a little bit less convincing — in particular he can’t always distinguish short “a” from the diphthong “aw,” or rather, we can hear him working at it / adjusting it. Even so, this was Genevieve O’Reilly’s biggest problem — she couldn’t get the “r” and every time she tried, she propelled herself into a different group of vowels in an attempt to recover from it. You can also tell that he’s trying to sound like he’s from the East Coast, but he’s clearly not trying to ape a really pronounced, strikingly local accent from one of the boroughs (Queens, Brooklyn, etc.) which is too complicated even for the average American who isn’t from one of those places and probably would have overtaxed his powers at this point. You can tell that his vowel set is an attempt at a consistent, nondescript Easterner, and in terms of class markers he also hits what dos Passos was writing exactly right — he sounds like a young man from a working class neighborhood who’s describing what he sees with energy and excitement. He also clearly realized that the pronounced delivery of the explosive consonants (“p”, “b”, etc.) that he uses in his British literary readings was not going to transfer one to one to the New York accent, and pulled back from that. We don’t hear literary Armitage trying to ape a New Yorker — it is an actual, real, different voice and characterization that he reveals in this section and not just a posh, acted reading that drains the energy from dos Passos’s very gritty text. In the second excerpt he moves a lot closer to the energy of the dos Passos text than in the first one.

Minuses: I don’t think he yet has a coherent ideal of what a New York vowel set sounds like — most notably when a vowel is nasalized and why. (See remark about “a” vs “aw” above, and we could extend this to how exactly he finishes the long “o” vowel — his performance reveals that he certainly knows it’s supposed to be a diphthong in the direction of “aw,” but doesn’t quite have that down yet. Hint to Mr. Armitage: you’ve successfully hidden your English “ao,” but now move the end of the vowel more towards “r”.) He’s erased his own vowels for the most part but hasn’t really replaced them with a consistent new set in this passage. Also, every now and then he sounded like Tom from Sylvester or Aubrey from Venetia, i.e., like the late adolescents he’s played in audiobooks. I think part of why that is happening is that he seemed to move the vowels in this second dos Passos excerpt up in pitch from his own normal register and from the pitch of what he was reading earlier (which seems slightly deeper than his own natural register, in interviews, for example). This could have been an attempt to catch the tone of the narration in Manhattan Transfer, which is youthful and certainly absent of the weariness in either Wordsworth or Eliot, or just at the pitch level where he happens to hear the New York vowels in his own ear (for example, if his dialect coach is a woman he’ll hear those pitches differently than might be ideal). A bigger problem is that he’s still struggling to catch the rhythm of New York speech. This seemed to create a particular issue here because he has to recreate not only the rhythm of that speech in its normal tempo, but with the excitement and heightened tempo at which dos Passos’s prose moves, and (as noted above) he can’t use his usual toolkit, which relies on British theatre conventions, to accomplish that. But that last point — that last little bit of polish that makes him sound not only like a New Yorker, but like an actual reflection of dos Passos’s depiction of how a New Yorker sounds in describing something — would be a truly high level of achievement indeed, and not necessarily to be expected from a beginner. He may be trying to do too much all at once. Ms. Fox sounded more like an American than he did — but not at all like a New Yorker, not at all like dos Passos’s narration. I felt like she was playing not to fail, while Armitage was playing to win, and didn’t quite.

In sum: This was really pretty good, Mr. Armitage. Don’t be discouraged! Keep trying! I believe in you! You could be a really convincing American with just a little more work, I am absolutely certain!

What I love about your work, Mr. Armitage, is that I don’t ever feel like you are phoning it in. You are out on the ski slope traveling maybe just a little bit faster than common sense suggests is prudent, and you take us right along with you. As a result, your work never stops being exciting.

(And gosh. I love that the program ended with Byrd. The download of this is definitely going to be a keeper.)

~ by Servetus on September 12, 2010.

81 Responses to “American accent in Symphony of a City, first reaction”

  1. I nearly fell off the bed when he started speaking in an American accent, so needless to say, I was also caught off guard. I agree with your grading. Good effort and yes, so close but needs a bit more tweaking, I’d say. And YES! I have never, ever, felt like that man is phoning in his performances. He is always THERE.
    Kudos for going out on a limb with this, not playing it safe.
    I actually thought Emilia sounded Midwestern in her vowel sounds, definitely not East Coast. While Richard, yes, you knew it was an East Coast-based accent–which puts him miles above GOR, who the bloody hell could figure out where SC was really from?!

    So yes, yes, Richard, don’t give up, you are sooooo close. Would love to hear you tackle a southern American accent, too, you talented fellow. I believe in The Awesomeness That IS Armitage.

    Like

    • Talk about a reward for hanging around to listen to it live. [ETA: not live, I mean in original broadcast]

      Now, if he could do upper Midwest. It’s a lot easier than New York, not anywhere near so many diphthongs attached to long vowels, and it’s easy to describe when to nasalize.

      Ms Fox: yes, upper crust midwest, but I think eastern midwest.

      Like

      • Well, I loved how you were spot on getting this posted!
        Having lived in western South Dakota, eastern Nebraska and southern Ohio, I have plenty of experience with variations of the so-called Midwestern twang and yeah, it’s definitely easier to pick up (untrained me can do quite a credible imitation). I’m sure he could master it.

        I like that he avoided edging into caricature with the Noo Yawk accent as I have heard several Brit actors do in various productions.
        And he didn’t sound like a Canadian, either, which I have noticed often happens when Brits emulate American accents.

        Still holding out for the southern accent, too. *grin*

        Like

  2. I hope someone posts a link because it is no longer available online.

    Like

    • Hmm, I didn’t capture it as it was recording, having used Radio Downloader to subscribe to the series, and trusting in the info that it would become available shortly after broadcast via the iPlayer on the BBC webpage. With Clarissa that always took a few hours. Let’s not worry just yet …

      Like

      • I assumed the same thing, servetus–that within a few hours it will become available again (I know I did several repeat listenings to Clarissa *swoon*) on the iPlayer. Fingers crossed!

        Like

  3. Try this link:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00tp8mw/Words_and_Music_Symphony_of_a_City/

    Or the one below:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/tp8mw/

    Like

  4. Thanks Musa those links worked.

    Like

  5. Well now, that was quite the treat wasn’t it? I’m from NY myself… although not the city itself. It seems the American accent must be extremely difficult to mimic. Usually folks seem to kind of wrangle themselves around a sort of Texas-y twang-y sort of thing with a bit of Georgia and a bit of hillbilly thrown in there for good measure. The kind of exaggeration that makes for good humor, I suppose, but one never hears that sort of thing in any part of the actual USA. I give Mr. Armitage points for avoiding all of that and aiming for a more subtle type of accent. He didn’t do too badly either. His voice is positively scrumptious no matter what anyway:-D

    Like

    • You’re right, Diane, you get some pretty amusing accents but NOT exactly realistic–I’ve heard people who are supposed to be from the Midwest but sounded oddly like they might be from the South . . . the hillbilly sound, as you say (although as a southerner I must say we do not all sound like hillbillies LOL) I think a good American accent IS hard to do. And are we surprised that Richard gave a subtle performance? He is the essence of subtlety and nuance.

      I hear Brit Stephen Moyer’s horribly stagy southern accent as Vampire Bill in True Blood and think to myself, “I just know RA could do better.”

      Like

      • Angie… maybe it’s because the country is so huge, and with so many different areas/mini cultures- each with their own particular accents? I don’t know… and speaking of different areas with their different accents, I’d never mistake a genteel southerner such as yerseff for a “hillbilly.” Hillbillies are from the mid-Atlantic Appalachian states and have an accent (and a charm) of their own☺

        Like

        • Oh, absolutely, Diane–it’s such a big country, and frankly it fascinates me, all the regional dialects to be found in this country.

          My mother came from the Cumberland Plateau of Central Tennessee and I was so intrigued as a child by how different the native accents there were from the ones I heard every day in south Alabama.

          A musicality–adding “h” sounds before certain vowels, words like “flower” and “power” and “iron” sounding like “flare” and “purr” and “arn” . . . very distinct and I loved it. I equated it with the warmth and affection I found in my mother’s family, being much closer to them than to my father’s family.

          My mother did not sound at all like that, though. Had she ever? She lived in Alabama from age 21 and my earliest memories are of her in her late 30s.

          Like

    • I think many of us would find it equally difficult to muster a credible, consistent British accent — I always think of that scene in Gosford Park where the servants are muttering downstairs about the “manservant” the Californian movie director brings with him and they say that it’s not any accent they have ever heard before. The first time I saw that scene, I thought, “what?” But of course, people in the country have a finer ear for such subtleties.

      I’ve been trying lately off and on to make my vowels sound like Mr. Armitage’s or like those of my friend and colleague the former Cambridge professor. I sound RIDICULOUS. 🙂 It always ends up with me dissolving in giggles.

      Agree about Mr. Armitage’s voice=sheer delight no matter what.

      Like

      • I had a good friend while living in Nebraska who was born in Ireland but grew up on the Isle of Wight. She used to joke about me sounding “more bloody British than I do,” so I must be above-average in such matters. *wink*

        When I say I would love to hear him do a southern accent, I should clarify I mean doing suitable material for a southern accent, definitely not dos Passos. Oh, how I would love to hear him read Truman Capote’s wonderful semi-autobiographical story, “A Christmas Memory” . . . now that would be a holiday treat! And yes, as I said over at RAFrenzy, his voice never fails to compel and delight. I would gladly listen to him reading the phone book.

        Like

      • And how can we even discuss appalling English accents without at least a nod to Dick VanDyke’s rather interesting take on the Cockney accent in Mary Poppins. Oh. My. ;-D

        Like

      • There seem to be a lot of Aussie actors working in US TV who think they can do a credible English accent but you can tell some of them a mile off – but of course there are also some famous US and Aussie movie actors who can do a Brit accent perfectly, almost too perfectly coz they sound too well-spoken.

        Like

  6. Richard Armitage Central already has the six poems up on their site: http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/RichardArmitageCentral/media%20narration.html

    Like

    • Super!!

      Like

    • They are SO fast.

      Like

      • Thanks to them I’ve listened to the best bits although @frenzy took your sweet treat for a test-drive and got last weeks too. I’m no judge on accents I’ve heard too many muddled ones. But that was a win for me and did anyone else saw him appear in Don Draper’s office?? @Ang I thought right away, he would be smokin’ with that southern twang!
        Thinking whether he’s practicing any American scripts. This was almost like an audition! LOL

        Like

        • 🙂 let’s hope.

          Like

        • Oh, yes, iz4blue, he could be devastatin’ with a propah southun drawl . . . oh my, yes!!

          I hope he is practicing some for American scripts . . . *sigh* Or perhaps in Strike Back 2 he goes undercover on one of his missions as an American?

          Like

  7. I too am from East Coast US and immediately heard NY metropolitan in the accent. There were just a few strains for me – for 90% of it i bought it. The timbre of his voice was definitely different with the East Coast US accent ( I qualify because i think some others might not think it US period) – but i was totally chuffed to hear him do it! From here .. there ‘s a Well Done!!

    Like

  8. I post again to qualify .. . I am from the NY metro area – since the East Coast US can encompass the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and New England.. lol.. New Jersey girl here. As someone else said, I am also glad he did not go for the parody “how you doin'” accent…

    Like

  9. Welcome, and thanks, dmw.

    Well, a southern accent wouldn’t have worked at all with dos Passos — that would have been worse for me than just his normal British. I’m glad, though that NEasterners are writing to confirm the “general NY Metropolitan” reading — I was thinking that I should have put a disclaimer in this post that as a midwesterner, I may have a different judgment on what sounds credibly NY metropolitan than an actual metropolitan New Yorker.

    Like

  10. I agree about the Southern accent with dos Passos, but wanted to qualify after having said I was East Coast.. a little to broad in retrospect. I think your breakdown of his work on the piece is very thorough. I am not versed in breaking down regional accents at all, but instead offered up my opinion based on what i hear most days. I will say, however, that I don’t think a midwestern accent would be any easier – different definitely, but not any easier to master.. LOL – thanks for the welcome –

    Like

    • I was mostly saying that cuz its my accent, and I think it’s easier than NY. 🙂 🙂 And I could teach it to him if he wanted to learn. Like if he wanted to remake “Sparkhouse” somewhere near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. 🙂

      Like

  11. Hey he didn’t do too bad at all. When I read he was reading one in an American accent… I got a bit nervous. He could probably play an American character after all.

    Like

  12. I don’t know if I want to start imagining him with a Southern drawl. Phew! Yeah, that would definitely be ocheemama.

    Like

    • I think it’s interesting that everyone wants to hear him in their own native accent. 🙂

      Like

      • Does it make us feel closer to him, easier to identify with him somehow, by wanting to hear him do our own native accent?

        Like

        • I think it relates to something you said above, the connotation of affection that we hear in our native accents, the capacity for a remembered warmth that we associate with them.

          Like

        • Maybe it’s because it’s my “native tongue,” but a gentleman with a Southern accent is so sexy. Or is that just me who thinks that? 😉

          I dated a guy in college who was from Ashville, N.C., and I loved how he spoke especially his Rs.

          Like

          • Hmmm. Doesn’t do it so much for me, although I do think it’s charming I don’t find it all that sexy. If you understand the distinction.

            Like

      • Maybe it has to do with ‘having one thing in common’. I used to like another actor before and I knew he spoke spanish and the prospect of hearing him speak my language really excited me. Actually, I can also relate about the ‘native accent’, because I knew this actor spoke the spanish from Spain and I was like…”No, he has to speak(=pronounce) our(latin american)spanish” lol

        OML 🙂

        Like

  13. I just saw the postings on the Armitage Army @ RAC Central feed on fb — some commentators there saw him as trying to have gone for the original NY city and LI accents in the book itself and having failed. That’s interesting — but I didn’t hear his performance as even trying for the LI accent, which has a very distinctive use of closing consonants. I thought he was trying for something a little bit more vague. I’m not going to post there, because I’d out myself as my IRL identity, but I’m surprised by the bluntness of some of those comments. (Guess he doesn’t have to worry about his fans automatically praising everything he does.) Also intrigued that some people are writing that they’d rather just hear him in British in the first place. Armitageworld is endlessly interesting, I think.

    Like

    • Saw those comments too. Well he sold it to me audibly but Don Draper from Mad Men popped in my mind, whether he could when performing it is another matter. Toby Stephens gave good visual cues along with an accent that was believable and not overdone.

      Like

    • I didn’t think LI either. I have re-listened several times and other than a few dicey moments, I still say he did quite well and certainly, it was NOT a failure.

      My honest opinion? Some people don’t want to see him out of a cravat or without a British accent. If it’s not John Thornton or some reasonable facsimile, it ain’t happening for them.

      JT is wonderful, don’t get me wrong; but RA has made it clear he wants to stretch himself as an actor, and here is an example of him doing just that.

      Like

  14. I really enjoyed that.

    Like

  15. Perhaps I’m too stupid for this debate as I’m not a native speaker and would feel differently if he or anyone else would try my mother tongue and my regional accent, but I’m feeling sorry that all that is worth discussing about this program is whether the accent was spot on or not. Strictly speaking this was not even a performance as an actor, “in character” of an American character. It was a reading and the accent, whether spot on or not, gave it an American feel. Remember that this (just like Spooks) is a British program directed towards a British audience. It does not have to be perfect. It just has to be enough to create an illusion for the target audience. Just like the attempts of Spooks characters to speak Russian respective English with a Russian accent.

    Like

    • That’s not all that’s worth discussing about the program, Jane, but for me (and for some others, it seems) it was a real stunner and a big surprise. I wouldn’t have written about this at all, probably, if that hadn’t happened. Indeed, we’re commenting on the extent to which he added an American feel to the program for us — admittedly not the core audience for that particular work. But I have to disagree — dos Passos’s narrator is definitely a character, and I don’t honestly believe that one can read a poem from a neutral standpoint — if one could, the only thing that would be different about different actors’ readings of poems would be the quality of their voices. But then, as a postmodernist manque I don’t believe that people can completely detach themselves from their interpretive stances. 🙂 People of good will disagreea bout this.

      Like

  16. I haven’t yet managed to listen again yet, but I do have to say ‘hats off’ to him for doing a poem on radio for his first professional American accent work. That must be a lot harder than just acting in a scene on a TV show or movie where there are many other things to distract from the voice. Maybe Sophia Myles has been giving him lessons…?

    Like

  17. I found it fascinating. Some of the words had a Boston type sound. Then when he said “hot dogs” he nailed the nasal Chicago- midwestern tone. Nailed it. It was almost like a compliation of various American accents.

    When he speaks with his British accent it is almost like listening to a melody. The American accent (s) some are more blunt, less lyrical, but that’s no fault to him that has more to do with the way American’s sound in general.

    To me he sounded really masculine and sexy, I liked it and would like it even more to see him in an American film. But I am more than happy to watch him in whatever he does.

    Like

    • agree about “hot dogs,” and I had to laugh when I heard that again. That’s only a few hundred miles away from my native accent. 🙂 But that’s as far west as he got.

      But yeah, I don’t think it was really NY — in the initial post I wrote “nondescript Easterner.” He doesn’t really get how the “aw” is different in NY vs Boston. But with the exception of “hot dog” all of his vowels sounded generally northeastern to me. No slippage into southern or western at all.

      Not sure how I feel about the melody question — this would bear more consideration / discussion. When I am in NYC itself I am always fascinated by the different quality of the voices. I guess that could be attributed heavily to a very different rhythm of speaking that he wasn’t able to capture. But i think there are melody aspects, too.

      Like

      • back on this page and reading up so to speak.. i disagree on this point – i heard NY/NJ in hot dogs not boston… really i did.. to be honest i just went back and listened again – his “aws” are definitely NY/NJ to me.. perhaps not Lon Gisland (lol) but in my ears not Bahston either..

        i have enjoyed re-listening.. and when i do, i hear more of his ‘voice’ come through – he is defintely in character here. i enjoy watching/listening to him morph.. and while i love a british accent, i would be happy to see him try whatever..

        Like

  18. Our reaction to the American accent is also related that some of us, but apparently not all, would like to see him featured beyond a classic British role. For that to happen he has to be able to loose the accent. I’m pretty certain he could given all the voices/accents he can wrap his mouth around!
    On another note just finished LOTN and didn’t want it to end!! I didn’t cry but got lumps in my throat several times.

    Like

    • Correct — that’s part of what we’re diagnosing, and this was (afaik) our first opportunity. He made a reference once to doing a film in acting school where he did an “appalling” American accent, but other than that I’ve only ever seen him with a British one (even when he was playing Monet. Wonder if that bothers French fans?). I was thinking that way for him to migrate here professionally is to take a role or two where the British accent is necessary or at least doesn’t matter. Then he could live here for awhile and get a more prolonged exposure to how we speak, not just the accent but the rhythm and melody of our speech. My impression is he does well accents that he’s been exposed to — has anyone ever read any negative criticism of his Yorkshire? I haven’t (but maybe there’s a cell of fans in Yorkshire who complain about it).

      I don’t know whether to be happy or sad for you about finishing LOTN, iz4blue.

      Like

      • No, I really would cry my eyes out if he migrated to the States. I know he’s talked about trying his luck there, as it seems to be a criteria for success, but I like to think that he can achieve real success on his own terms while remaining in England and keeping his own accent. Clive Owen seems to have starred in several films where he has retained his own accent while others spoke with American ones. I feel that his personality would change if he lost his accent. And why can’t the UK be allowed to keep their best actors?

        Like

        • fair enough, MillyMe. Though I think he’d have an easier time with the accent if he lived here for a year or so and listened to us. Could he do that, then move back to London? Pretty please? 🙂

          Guess we will leave it up to him. 🙂

          I also think he can do just fine in England, so the US thing is mostly wish fulfillment on my part. Some of the subtext of his interviews seems to indicate that he thinks more and more interesting work is available in the US. Even though some interviews play up his alleged desire to cross the moat, when I listened to the full text of the Stephenson interview posted on Stephenson’s blog, I really got the impression that he’s not that excited about coming to the U.S. if he can get the roles he likes in Britain. He may be ambivalent. (I would find that both believable and charming.)

          Like

    • Oh, and let’s not forget that there are notable examples of US film stars who speak with pronounced foreign accents: Arnold Schwarzeneggar, for example. Of course, one assumes that Mr. Armitage is not looking for that sort of role, either.

      Like

  19. I am from the area as well and when I travel my promounciation of “hot dogs” and “coffee” always give me away as a native Chicagoan. Can’t get that nasal sound out of my voice!!!

    what is LOTN?

    Like

    • For me it’s the long “o” and the nasalized short “a” that always tell people where I’m from. 🙂

      LOTN= Lords of the North, the Bernard Cornwell audiobook he did several years ago.

      Like

  20. @Rob,

    You’ve got to listen to that audio book. It’s a little work but worth it!

    @MillyMe and Servetus,

    I have very mixed emotions about him moving to America. I would hate it if he went the way of some other Brits and was relegated to the token Brit in romcoms. Dear God, please don’t let that happen.

    I listened to the entire Words and Music broadcast and loved it. I also hung around for the 30 minutes afterward which featured Charles Mingus’ music. yea!! 😀

    Like

    • Hey bZirk! Haven’t seen you around here for a while 🙂 I also loved it and can’t wait for a second listen. However at this moment my car has broken down and I am waiting for the rescue service. Sob! It’s after 7pm and I want to go home to listen to this again….

      Like

    • yes, no Ralph Fiennes role in whatever that awful movie with Jennifer Lopez was. Ick.

      I also listened to the channel for another hour or so afterwards. After the beautiful ending of Words and Music with Byrd’s civitas sancti tui the Mingus was a bit of a shock, but I enjoyed listening to the interview with his widow.

      Like

  21. I know I need to check out that audio book, esp since I love his audio work so much. Glad ur are back bZ we missed you.

    That movie was Maid in Manthattan and oddly enough RF played a New Yorker not a Brit AND the movie was written by John Hughes (16 Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, etc).

    Like

  22. Please, please, no Hugh Grant roles!! He can do House, but NOT romcoms/chickflicks!!

    Like

  23. Thanks, @Rob. Glad to be back! 😀

    I loved Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s in my top 100 movies, but I thought Maid in Manhattan was lame. J-Lo might have a little something to do with that. I haven’t cared for too many of the characters she’s played. I mean I don’t care about them. She did a a movie with the guy who played Jesus in The Passion of Christ, and that was good, and she did a movie where she retaliates against her scum of a husband who beat her. That was really good. LOL! But that’s all I can think of that I’ve liked. The rest was dreck.

    @fitz, Oh no!! That can’t happen! Hugh Grant was exactly who I was thinking of and maybe a little Colin Firth, but Colin’s fortunes are turning around it seems.

    Like

    • I loved Firth in “A Single Man.” Thought that was a stunning performance. Don’t understand the point of these “Nanny McPhee” movies. Never was all that into Hugh, though I liked him in “Love Actually”

      Like

      • I heart Collin Firth, even in the Nanny McPhee movies. Hught Grant’s best role was in About A Boy. Love A Single Man, love Tom Ford, althou the script coud of used a little polish, the film was amazing.

        Like

  24. @bzirk, yes, Mr. Firth is a first-class actor. Even before he did the Darcy thing and turned the heads of the female audiences; and since, he’s been in the position (which we hope Mr. A will soon reach) of selecting roles to match his talent.

    Like

  25. I’ve listened to the poems several times now and speaking of the ones in his English accent – I love them all. Now onto the Manhatten Transfer one. I feel that he read the poem well, but that the American accent was patchy. And somehow it just doesn’t sound like him which is strange. But I wouldn’t want to stop him from doing more pieces that require a similar accent. And I’m quite open to him attempting any genre should he decide to go to Hollywood.

    Thanks I did get back without a problem. Car needs a new battery though 😦

    BTW I though he only read the one passage from Manhatten Transfer?

    Like

    • I have a love/hate relationship with his American accent. I love it not because it’s American, but because he sounds so different. The guy is amazing in what he can do. What a gift! But I also hate it because I missed his wonderful voice. I did not like his voice raised to that pitch, but again, I’m in awe at how different he sounded.

      And “hot dogs” definitely wasn’t NY.

      Like

    • I’m glad you got home. 😀

      Like

  26. He sounded like a 1950’s- 1960’s working class person. “Hotdogs” was Chicago through and through with the nasal intonation. He almost sounded angry in the reading, I think that’s what he was going for. It was so fun to hear him do an American accent.

    Like

  27. […] several of the Strike Back related interviews– was a component of this discussion; there are worries that some fans only want to watch Armitage playing British characters and from something I read recently it seems Armitage, too, worried about the possibility that […]

    Like

  28. […] appreciated his attempt, but it was hard not to dissect it. In fact, there was quite a discussion here amongst several of us. I think most Americans liked it, but it seems we all had pointers about how […]

    Like

  29. […] about pawnshops. It just occurred to me that in addition to the German accent we may well also hear his next attempt at an American one, as Heinz Kruger’s cover identity in the lab is “Fred […]

    Like

  30. […] listened to Symphony of a City from BBC Radio 3 today as well. Wonderful. The American accent was okay but far from perfect, as Servetus has already pointed out. At least he gave it a go, and that’s what matters. Besides, everything gets better with […]

    Like

  31. […] of a City” (2010). Details about that production are here. My initial reaction to it is here (there is a mistake there in that I confuse the first part of the dos Passos reading with the poem […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 
%d bloggers like this: