Talking the talk
Q: You had to adopt a Queens accent for your role in the upcoming 1970s-set movie “Spinning Gold.” What is your approach to doing accents?
A: I had very little time to prepare for it. I had just wrapped “Turner & Hooch” and I went basically immediately to New Jersey to shoot it. I booked the job while I was in Vancouver so I just really had no time to prep. I did get a few sessions with a dialect coach and she really helped me because I’m from Northern California and so I get a little bit confused with the difference between like Boston and Manhattan and Brooklyn. Like they’re all very similar to me but very easily you can go Boston instead of Queens. So I sat with her and we did a lot of vowels … and we went through every single line I had in the film and just made sure I was pronouncing it. And then I did the homework on my own to try to make it sound natural in my own rhythm.
And this woman I play, Joyce Biawitz, is a real person and she’s alive and a producer on the film. And I didn’t want to make a caricature of her. And they said, “Look, we hired you because you have a lot of the same cadence and don’t worry too much about it.” So I put the pressure on myself more than anyone else. I just really wanted to get it right.
Q: Some actors have to stay in the accent for the whole shoot because it messes them up to do otherwise.
A: I agree with that. I felt like when I was on set, I pretty much had the same rhythm, maybe not as extreme. But we all were playing people from the ‘70s, so there was a time period we wanted to get correct. Jeremy Jordan was having a Brooklyn accent. So there was a lot of accents in the film. And yeah I agree, I think it’s easier to just keep it while you’re at work so you’re not going back and forth so much.