Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Kate Winslet Inspires Language!

"What, you mean she's not Australian?" a friend demanded after a screening. So taken was (writer Lawrie) Zion with Kate Winslet's ability to pass herself off as Australian Ruth Barron ... he interviewed her dialect coach after its release.

The above is a quote from an article in The Age last Thursday about a new documentary called The Sound of Aus, researched and written by Lawrie Zion and hosted by John Clarke that investigates the Australian language and how it shapes us and our identity. Amongst the interview subjects are Rachel Griffiths, Burt Newton, Bruce Beresford and Akmal Saleh. It airs tomorrow night (Thursday 8) on the ABC at 8.30.

The reason I am mentioning this is because it's about Kate Winslet and, well, we all love her, don't we? I was smiling while reading the piece because of lines such as the one up the top and "Zion cites Winslet's performance as one of the main inspirations for the documentary". I remember when I spent a few hours with Nat from The Film Experience when I was in New York the conversation somehow veered towards, if I remember correctly, how many Australians hate Meryl Streep's work in Evil Angels (aka A Cry in the Dark) and he asked about Winslet's. The fact that the performance is amazing is already a well established fact (thank you very much Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, grrr), but he accent is just as good.

I don't tend to notice the Australian accent in film unless there is an international accent thrown into the mix. Even in Greg McLean's Rogue where there is one American (Michael Vartan) surrounded by a bunch of Aussies the accent becomes so much more prevelent. It's funny how that works. When listening to myself I didn't detect anything that would make people point out that I have an accent, but all Americans I've met seem to think I do. I'm always able to point out an American accent though. They really pronounce the letter R, unlike us.


adam k. said...

Well, Meryl was doing Lindy Chamberlain, who grew up in New Zealand and had a strange, muddled accent, and those who knew her said Meryl got HER particular accent right on. But Kate was great, too.

And actually, they're called dialects unless you're talking about a non-native speaker of English (or whatever other language). You can have a French accent or an Italian accent, but American, Australian, British, etc. are all variant dialects of English. I learned that in acting class.

Though when you're talking about an individual person's speech pattern that they put on for something, everyone says accent, no one says dialect... I guess cause you're talking about an individual person doing an unnatural thing, rather than the natural speech of a specific region. So that's not really wrong, per se.

Anyway, your Aussie accent/dialect is totally cute. But very thick! Hard to imagine you don't notice it when you talk... ; )

adam k. said...

I am going by the radio show, btw ; )

Kamikaze Camel said...

"thick"? Really? oh...