Why do evil characters have British accent?

star   Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:56 am GMT
>> Those films are made for Americans. The producers don't really care if 0.1% of the audience recognises slight flaws in the accents. It's not worth the trouble. Only a really pretentious fool would not watch the film because the accent was a little off.<<

Guest   Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:10 am GMT
<<I'm talking about "Dick Van Dyke-in-Mary-Poppins" off. >>

I watched Mary Poppins when I was 7 years old and loved it. I was 7 and had no idea how a British accent was supposed to sound. The movie was aimed at people like me. I wouldn't have cared if I knew it were fake either... Now I am an adult I see what you mean, but I still like it. It's hardly a film striving for realism anyway... You might as well say you don't like it because "magic is not real"! Lol!
Pub Lunch   Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:41 pm GMT
Whilst we are talking about authentic accents in films the one that creases me up the most is our Sean Connery in the film "The Hunt for Red October".

Seanie plays a Russian yet talks with his normal Scottish accent!! Ha ha!!! A close second is our man again, this time in his Oscar winning (I think) role in "The Untouchables". In it he plays an Irishman yet once again makes no attempt at an Irish accent preferring to stick to his rather different Scottish brogue. Can't believe he won an Oscar for that one!! Unbelievable!!!

I am agreed with the Dick Van Dyke cockney impression - the worst of ALL TIME!!! He clearly gave up on it for "Chitty Bang Bang".

I certainly have noticed baddies in American films being disproportionately English, maybe this is politically motivated or what but it really doesn't bother me one jot. I am far more concerned with the constant re-writing of our history. Braveheart and U571 are two examples (of many) that spring to mind. Sorry lads, but somethings are sacred and deserve to be told truthfully. Anyway, it is what it is (and it has to be said that Americans seem to do this to their own history - the aforementioned "The Untouchables" being a perfect example).
Damian in Edinburgh   Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:57 pm GMT
***RP accent...... the British accent is supposed to sophisticated and learned***

That could very well be an error of judgment, mjd! ;-) I can confidently confirm that the posession of an English English RP accent is by no means a guarantee of sophistication or of a learned disposition!

Some ex-Etonians, using just one so called exclusive, upper crust seat of learning as an example, have emerged from its hallowed halls as thick as the proverbials and about as sophisticated as a randy ram on heat. But they still have cut glass vowels!
Guest   Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:33 pm GMT
<<For every "evil" character in an American film with an RP accent, there is another film or commercial where the character or voice with the British accent is supposed to sophisticated and learned.>>

Yeah, the professors are always British!
Damian in Edinburgh   Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:59 am GMT
Yes, but with evil intent no doubt, most probably plotting some heinous deed or two.....the entire British Empire was founded on heinous deeds! ;-)
Balt   Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:00 am GMT
You guys should watch Hollyoaks.

Most of the characters don't speak RP, but you'll see that the Brits are no ├╝berhumans. ;-)
Rene   Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:26 pm GMT
I think it has more to do with giving the villain appeal than making him/her sound cold, upper class, Lobsterbackish, or whatever. The fact is that Americans find English accents of almost any variety save scouse and cockney to be sexy. A villain with appeal (charm, sense of humor, looks, intelligence, etc.) is always going to be more fascinating to an audience than a poster board cut out of Boris Karloff all dressed in black.
Rene   Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:36 pm GMT
Oh, forgot to mention, if you want to see the opposite thing going on (a disproportionate amount of American baddies with horrifyingly fake accents in an English enviroment) try watching MI-5 (aka Spooks). The Americans in that show are always a**holes (mostly because they don't go through a major crisis of conscience including tears and meltdowns) every time they have to do something slightly off color, which is every episode for the regulars.
Damian in Edinburgh   Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:44 pm GMT
Hollyoaks - a mythical Ch4 TV teen soap opera suburb of a real life city - Chester, in North West England, literally bordering onto the southern fringe of Merseyside. All the outdoor scenes are filmed in Chester, and all indoor scenes at the TV studios in nearby Liverpool. The cast members are a very mixed bunch of individuals who come from all different parts of the UK, but two characters I especially like are the RC priest Father Kieron Hobbs and one of his flock John Paul McQueen, played by Jake Hendriks (from London) and James Sutton (from Coventry). Both appear in the link below but not together. A very touchy and sensitive storyline there!

One of the temporary actresses in Hollyoaks was Summer Strallen - now wowing the crowds at the London Palladium playing the part of Maria von Trapp in Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest and highly successful production of "The Sound of Music".

Guest   Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:57 pm GMT
I don't like the accent in this soap opera, it's very difficult to understand.
No success in the US, sorry.
K. T.   Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:05 pm GMT
I don't know if it is RP, but I always find it funny that the Nazis speak what appears to be British English in war movies.

Goering spoke English very well in real life as did Hess, I believe.
Uriel   Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:20 am GMT
Piffle. We make Brits the bad guys for one simple reason: They Do It So Well!

And they don't even have to be RP speakers -- check out the baddie in Gone In 60 Seconds. Not sure what kind of accent that guy had, but it wasn't QE2. (Gosh, isn't that a boat?)

Of course, one of the "good" guys was also a Brit, although unless you recognized the actor, you didn't know it until the end, when he said his first -- and last -- line.

I think it really comes down more to the fact that the unusual accent really serves to theatrically separate the bad guy as The Other, more than it has to do with any long-dead transatlantic tension. And it's not like the British actors are crying all the way to the bank -- they obviously took the money!

And honestly, there are also plenty of American movies where British actors get to play sympathetic roles. The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Dogma. Almost any movie with Hugh Grant in it -- Music and Lyrics, say.