‘Home Before Dark’ – Jim Sturgess on doing accents



The accent is the thing for Jim Sturgess


Jim Sturgess of ‘Home Before Dark’ on Apple TV+

Q: You’re a Brit playing an American in “Home Before Dark.” What’s your technique for doing accents?

A: I’ve sort of been doing it for a period of time now, on and off. I’ve done a bunch of accents as an actor and it’s something I do really enjoy. I have a musical background and I really enjoy learning new accents and getting your head into a complete different new way of talking.

But I do, I tend to stay in the accent for the duration of the shoot, which is a bit weird at first and it’s a bit of a commitment that you have to make that deal with yourself that you’re not going to come out of the accent between takes and you’re going to stay in it. And always for the first two or three weeks, it feels very weird and you feel very fake and you feel like everybody knows that you’re putting on a fake accent. But slowly after I’d say normally about two weeks, once you realize that people accept you in that accent, it becomes a very beneficial thing for me anyway. I can let the accent go. I’m not thinking about it on set.


Q: Some actors can go in and out while others can’t.

A: Yeah, it’s so interesting. It’s really exciting. I really enjoy making the commitment of doing it because it makes you feel different to speak in a completely different accent. There’s different nuances and rules, and you do – you feel like a slightly different person. And it’s always quite interesting to stay in it and be that person for a period of time.


Q: And it helps you get into the character, no?

A: Yeah, and then you can forget about it. Because I’ve done it other ways where you jump in and out of it and you have a dialect coach to help you remember certain phrases and it gets in the way. It stops you from losing yourself in the moment, I think, personally.

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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