Acting : Accents by Jac Davyn

Jac Davyn


Hi everyone, I am French with a French accent. My question is, do you think it is important to get rid of it to succeed? Because everyone I meet tells me that it is cute and I think this is one of my thing, like a particularity... But on the other hand, I often read that it is better to not have an accent and instead, be able to do many. Thanks for answering!

Jac Davyn

Bonjour! Thanks for your answer. I guess most of the time everyone can understand me! Except when I stutter and look for my words... I know... that is why most people call me Jackie. But I do not think it will be a problem, do you? I have already been told that it was the "cutest" name for a girl. Or this person was laughing at me!

James Holzrichter

You could theoretically get more work if you could do more accents, but only having one accent will not stop you from being successful. Just look at the version of the story of Robin Hood that starred Kevin Costner. A pure American accent in old England and it didn't stop the movie or his success.

Jac Davyn

@James. I am working on the British accent but it is quite hard I think. But you are right! @Jean-Luc. And I thought it was cool to be named after the famous Captain! The Ripper is scary though, and I like to be scary, I love to be the Villain! Thanks guys for your comments. I feel better about my accent and slowly stop to see it as an impediment.

Leon Reaper

atleast you didnt say the reaper jack, because im lovable :P x

Jac Davyn

Ahaha, I'm sure you are ;)

Dominic Matich

No! You should never get rid of your accent. There have been so many incredible actors who have an accent and it doesn't show. Thin GARY OLDMAN as LT. Gordon in The Dark Knight. I think it's impressive and shows your extra talent going from one to the other

Brian Green

(My two cents) There can't be a right or wrong answer to this.(it's not algebra) Some actors need to be versatile and because of that do many characters with many accents (generally supporting cast) Some have great looks, charisma and star power and their accents don't mean anything to their projects, in fact it becomes some of the charm (see Arnold Schwarzenegger ) My first instinct would be for you to walk a fine line. Always practice being able to do other accents but as long as you're understandable a French accent may good for you. It might be the one thing that separates you from your "competition". Gotta be different.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

J'aime un Accent français. Ne pouvait pas faire mal pour pratiquer d'autres accents bien que.

Leon Reaper

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?.....thats all i know pmsl

Shabazz Ray

If you can, it's great to have the flexibility to not have an accent of some projects. When I cast my film some actors accents were, too strong! So, you don't have to get rid of it, but have flexibility :)

Adrian Sierkowski

If you're an actor then then the ability to do many accents can be quite helpful to get you rolls. That said, start with your natural voice and as you progress you can look into voice lessons/training. I personally love and miss the French accent; and am saddened to hear how diluted my own English-ish accent has become (mostly with some Philadelphian accent which is rather comical as a mix)

Adrian Sierkowski

Not having one certainly has helped Hugh Laurie, and John Barrowman (just off of the top of my head) as well as the vast preponderance of other actors. This isn't about language as a cultural thing-- which I agree with needs accents for variety. It's rather about not limiting yourself in the roles you can play. I don't see Penelope Cruz playing a Russian spy anytime soon.

Keverne Eason Mapp

Omar Sharif Sophia Loren Arnold Schwarzenegger Yul Brynner Brigitte Bardot Mel Gibson Je peut continuer avec une liste qui n'en fini jamais! tu continue avec ta facon de faire,naturelle...mais quand un Anglais,(Je suis Anglais),te dis que il aime ton accent,tu peut etre sur que il va aimer ta facon d'embrsser aussi...hah! Mais si tu droit perdre ton accent completement,fait le bien....accune trace devrait rester.

Michael C. Cordell

I'm a Francophile, so a French accent for any actor (male or female) adds something even more to the performance. But I do agree, if you're playing to an American audience, your accent can be so thick it's unintelligible.

Jeremy Seward

Sean Connery also played an Arab and a Spaniard with the same Scottish accent. And Schwarzenegger has always sounded like A'nold. Be yourself.

Leon Reaper

could be worse, dick van dyke isn't very good at a cockney accent

Jac Davyn

Thank you everyone <3

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Jeremy: The Wind and the Lion is a great movie and Sean just acted the hell out of the part without concern over accent. It's like the very English sounding James Mason playing the Desert Fox. Have you noticed how many Nazis in film have had British accents?

Michael C. Cordell

True, Jacqueline, but directors casting for an American film have to be cognizant of the audience response. When I say "too thick," I mean unintelligible for the ticket-buying public.

Marisa Torre

Personally, I hate it when English speaking actors take on a foreign accent. They're usually SO bad at it, it ruins the whole film for me like N. Cage Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Cruise and Pitt Interview with a Vampire and SO many others. I think it would be better for you to have an American/Canadian/English accent to offer as long as your own French accent isn't too thick to be effective. Somehow, to me, foreigners doing Anglo is much more palatable than Anglos doing foreigners ... in accents that is.

Tyler Thorne

I think that there shouldn't be subtitles for people with strong accents too... It makes the film feel like real life. I also hate when some American actors try to use an accent they just sound so bad. Even when it is a different form of an American accent.

Jac Davyn

I saw Lockout and I was not able to understand a word of what Joe Gilgun was saying but that was part of the character and gave strength to the movie.

Carlotta Capuano

If you feel strongly about it, you should explore dialects. There may be a few you find you are strong at, but others not so much. At the same time, I don't believe that having an accent limits the amount of work you are able to do. There are so many, very successful, actors that don't do dialects. It is possible to play different characters, with different emotions, who happen to have French accents. A few actors that come to mind are Robert DeNiro, Chrostoph Waltz, Gerard Depardieu...

Kris Kemp

I met an actress who expressed the same feeling. She's said she's going to voice lessons in order to eliminate her Polish accent. I felt like telling her to just concentrate on being a skilled actor and that the accent doesn't matter. She went to Stella Adler school of acting, so maybe she was told this by a working actor. I think an accent is cool. I would take your question to a full-time working actor and casting agent and ask them. Thanks! Kris Kemp

Michael "Cap" Caputo

Honestly having REAL accents is not as hard as having a BAD imitation accent. If you can rid yourself of it VOLUNTARILY and be available to have a GOOD French accent if the role asks for it then it is an asset.

Scott C. Brown

It depends on where you are planning on seeking work and what the role requires. Having a foreign accent will limit the projects you will get in any country, due to the lack of roles with foreign accents.

Pup Che

Yes, You have to learn to speak with no accent while at the same time preserving it for parts that might require it. But more importantly you have to have absolutely the best acting skills and then some luck to succeed in Hollywood.

Valerie Clare

I just wrote a poem about that, (changing) or letting the business get the best of you. Dont change for anyone or anything, be true to yourself.

Irving Stanton-VGC

There is always a place for everyone. Even with French accent. As we say in the theatre...D.W.A. Don't Worry About it. lol.

Chauncey Chester

be one else can do it.

Julian Rodriguez

I think that if you can mimic another accent that it would be be helpful. Hugh Laurie actually has a British accent and plays an American. If you have ever watched the movie "Monsters vs. Aliens" he voices the cockroach. that is his real voice, I think that if you can mimic a generic american voice that it could prove helpful.

Mark Ashworth

I'm from Manchester,England Jack, and although I keep my accent when at all possible,I do try at every opportunity try and work on my American accent, In my every day life,in school and workshops,I find these all safe places.Don't ever lose your own accent but be prepared to hide it.The simple reason being it will open up more opportunities and I'm not one to want to miss out as I'm sure you will concur. All the best,Mark A

Silke' Renate Lienhardt

I have been in the USA for 9 years now and I still have an accent. It can work for you or against you and there is no way to know when. I can do an American accent when the character calls for it, but I am never sure how realistic it sounds. I listened to CNN a lot to get the sound of it.

Kristen Tinsley

I think it would be better to lose the accent, but use it when you need it. Even Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Emily Blunt have accents, but you don't hear them in all their movies and there is a reason for that. If a character does not have an accent, then you can't be cast.

Leon Reaper

everybody in the world has a accent when they speak english. >__>

Leonard Benedetto

any accent will severely limit the roles that you are eligible for, so yes, as an actor, you should not necessarily 'lose' the accent, but to learn how to speak with an 'american' accent.

Robert H. Gwinn

As an actor it would be great to work on as many accents as possible. Some people are simply not able to loose the regional accent and that can keep you from getting a lot of specific roles. That said, if you are a strong enough performer emotionally, as a director, I would still ask you to come back in, at which time if you wowed me a second time, we would discuss either a diction coach, or simply look to see if the accent is explainable in the context of the script. In stead of the "all American Girl next door", we ad a line that turns your character into the "foreign exchange girl next door". Work with what you've got, but do it so well they don't see it as a limitation.

Audrey Noone

A French accent is a wonderful asset, but can be a hindrance if that is only way you can speak. I am a speech pathologist, and I have worked with many people to reduce their accents. The goal is not to lose the accent, rather be able to use it only when desired.

Gary Craig

Work on mastering the perfect American dialect. That way, you have 2 ways to go. I can't tell you how many actors are working in television who at will can drop their native accent (Hugh Laurie from House) and go American. It amazes me how there's no trace of their native accent in their delivery.

Jac Davyn

It is really strange actually, yesterday I went to the spa and spoke with the woman (she is from Venezuela). I realized that my way of talking was different. I was not saying the "r" the same way and the music in the sentences was also different. I had already noticed that in French: when I am in Tahiti and I speak with Tahitian, I speak like they do, when I am talking to Quebec people, I change also. But all this seems to come from my subconscious. I guess it is a good sign!

Gary Craig

Simon Baker is another one that has completely mastered an American dialect. He's from down under, and you can't detect even one letter in his vocab that's native.

Peter Van Der Stoep

Hi, In my opinion you don’t have to get rid of the accent. Look at Gerard Depardieu. Great actor, but with an accent. And there are a lot of other great actors with an accent. Just stay true to yourself, your ability to act and your talent. Best regards, Peter van der Stoep © Auteur op bestelling

Joe Michael Phillips

You should never get rid of your accent, because one it'll make you stand out as an actress, your one up above the rest. However; a lot of roles some actresses learn to hid there accent, by practicing others. And I see where your coming from, i'm british and still have a rather distinctive accent so what I did i go into the audition, slate in my normal tone of voice and then do the sides or monologue in the accent the role requires. Which will instantly leave a lasting impression on the casting directors. They'll seem more interested in you and they'll remember you. Well thats what I always hope :)

Adrian Thomas

that choice is completely up to you, but in my opinion i wouldn't. Robert Carlyle has a VERY thick scottish accent and refused to get rid of his accent when he first started out, he just learned how to "tone it down" while on set. i think oyu shouldnt repress your heritage, its what makes you who you are.

Adrian Thomas

*you. sorry for the typo

Tom D'Alimonte

Yeah, I wouldn't either. It DOES make you stand out but its not so thick and heavy to 'get in the way' of getting a gig either.

Tom D'Alimonte

(hmm, in fact, if I find I need a female voice in one of my videos, I'll let you know! :-)

PJ Edwards

You can still have it naturally but I think you should at least use Standard American English when you are going out for roles. A good example of this Marion Cottliard. She has a big accent naturally but in roles like Inception or the dark knight rises, it is very muted.

Roberto Basilico

Having an accent is definitely a weakness. I have still an italian one and everytime I got a role, directors needs to change the script to adapt it to my accent. You can still get casted, but on avarege of 5 to 10 times less.

Jack Raymond

All you need is a dialect coach, or you can even look up American dialects on YouTube and the web. There are easy tricks to any dialect.

Huseyin Kuday

Yes, lose the accent to increase your chances but don't forget how to speak with it too. It may come handy sometime in the future. In a world where people travel and live everywhere I wouldn't think this would be a huge problem but you never know when it's going to work against you. Good luck.

Jac Davyn

@Tom D'Alimonte. Whenever you need ;) It is funny that none agree. Most of you apparently think it is a + for me and that I should keep it. I love to think that it is a part of who I am. Of course I work on it and still try to speak with a good American accent (or British which I am also working on) but eventually, all the first contact IPs will get with me will be... with me AND my accent! I like the compromise (thanks Joe Michael Phillips ;) ) I think I should post a video with me talking normally and speaking with my rough American accent...

Joe Michael Phillips

Your welcome. This is an important topic. You'll always hear different sides, some will say keep it and some will say get rid of it. But I truly believe that if you are distinct and an unique individual from somewhere outside america and can play an american as well as look the part then you will land the role. And I truly believe that's how it works.

Dena Pech

I think keeping the accent adds to whatever the work is. As a writer, things tend to change when something spontaneous adds to the flare. Actually even vice versa.

Kimberly Lennox

Keep it for conversation. Everyone loves to hear someone talk in a pretty accent. it makes you instantly more interesting. But work on being able to put on an american accent, ( as well as others) so as not to limit yourself at audition time. I know of two brits who hide their accents and they just blend in. Yuck!

Michael "Cap" Caputo

Jack I think if your acting rises above the role the accent becomes the character. That said James Bond will never have a Mexican accent and Napoleon Bonaparte just wouldn't work with a Russian accent.

Edward Zaleski

For English-speaking American actors, I have heard that a neutral accent is the most accommodating to scene work. Personally, I think the idiosyncracies that are brought to characters, our foundation upon which we build new people on film/stage/voice over, only make for a richer experience - and the right director will know what to do with the talented instrument any actor has.

Mithran Maharajan

Learn neutral accent and use French accent as a plus in your profile. I worked with european actors and most of them had a neutral accent and a accent from their region which would work if the script demands it

Julian Vazquez

Hi Jack. the most important skill that you ought to develop is creating a life and spirit for your character. Once that happens, you accent becomes secondary. I saw that in one of my students, an Italian with a heave accent. When he did his monologue, It was very difficult for me to understand what he was saying. The main reason was because he had not created a life for his character. He did not know his character's last name, at the least. His character was talking to his fiancee's father. The student-actor did not create a name for his fiancee nor a name for his fiancee's father....and so on. Once he followed my instruction to how to better prepared, a few weeks later, his monologue was capturing, At the end of the class he commented that he felt like he was in the NYC apartment where the scene takes place. His Italian accent was not a factor. On the other hand, if you are playing a cowgirl in the USA in the 1850s or even now, you ought to develop at American accent, or a cowgirl accent, to be more exact. I played a southerner, using a Southern accent, but the core of the character was the life and spirit that I created. Best to you, Julian

Patrick Meraz

Hey, you shouldn't get rid of it of the accent. Think about it this way: Daniel Craig , Tom Hardy, Emily Blunt (and so on) kept their accent when speaking comfortably on interviews and such. They change their accents for their characters. If anything, learn more accents to succeed!

andrew Nathan

I think we as actors all need to be able to do a variety of accents, So therefore be able to use or lose the accent as required

Mark Ratering

As an actor keep it when asked lose it when asked

Diana Osberg

It's not a question of getting rid of your French accent, but rather, learning how to do a Standard American accent. That's a good one to have in your repertoire.

Silke' Renate Lienhardt

I did not get rid of my accent here in the USA, BUT, I learned to do American dialects: Southern, Midwestern and New York. Bon chance, Jac!

Mark Cabaroy

Yes you should learn american accents, but be yourself I always like it when actors ask me "Would you like me to read this with an american accent?" I never get tired to that...

Tom Hendricks

I agree with Mark it will increase your market and show off your craft.

Dougie Anderson

I totally disagree. Never give up on who you are or where you come from. You can change it to be in character, but never give it up as yourself.

Danny Kelly

Well said Dougie! it is better to remain rooted in who we are in order to be able to change who we become from role to role.

Sylvie Cohen

Bonjour Jackie! Je suis Francaise aussi! Hi Jackie I'm french too and I have to say that at the beginning while everybody thought my accent was cute, myself I thought it was an handicap! I was always thinking about what people were going to think when suddenly I will start my audition speaking with a french accent? If I was cast I was feeling also a little frustrated when people were telling me:" So they cast you because you have a French accent?" Well chances are very little that someone is looking for a character with a French accent specially in AZ! One day I found an audition with an interesting character breakdown for a genderless lady,homeless type, not really the way I look everyday! But I decided that I was going to show the world lol! but mostly myself that I could get cast because of my acting an not because of my accent! And I did! The Director and casting Director loved it! I heard that the Director was surprised at first when the casting director told him that I have a French accent! He didn't plan to have this character with a French accent! I brought something to the character because of me not only because of the accent. It was clear to me after that, everybody has a chance no matter the look, the color, the size, the accent, anything can be changed in a positive way if we see it as an advantage! People asked me often "How do you do with your American accent?' Well my goal is to work more on the reduction of the accent, to turn it down but not to loose it rather than taking the American accent because there is nothing worse than a bad imitation of an accent! People compare a lot with English actors or Australian actors who are speaking with the American accent but they forget that their native language is English! It's different for someone who has latin origine see actresses like Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Sofia Vergara they still have a strong Hispanic accent! So my advise and my coach too, reduce it by learning the standard of the American accent but don't loose it! Everybody is unique for something! Now if anybody reading this need actresses with a French accent you know where to find us!

Marysia Trembecka

I think it is good to have your original accent but also to learn where else you may be cast. I have a Polish name as my father is Polish but was raised in England. I ended up learning how to d a Polish and a Russian accent as I am often cast in the assassin/mercenary/Polish mother roles, largely I am sure because of my name and my height 5'10 ;-) I also though play very English eg I just did a Victorian period drama as I can speak RP (basically Posh English!)

Stewart Brodian

Sometimes, an accent can be to your advantage. Advertisers sometimes look for an 'exotic' sound for voiceovers. Are you familiar with

Ian Furey-King

Never lose the accent, it is part of you and casting directors love real accents.

Stephen Ossias

You'll never really lose it. But be able to adapt to other accents to broaden your appeal, to expand your versatility.

Art DiVittis

Stephen has hit the nail on the head. Your accent will make the casting directors remember you. Being able to speak without it or with different accents will be a great asset.

Patrick Opitz

Of course the more accents you can do the more doors you open for yourself, But it is important to hang onto your own accent because that is part of your overall package.

Richard Wilt

Good question--there is a popular opinion "lose it so you can use it"--meaning if you learn to speak without it, then you can use it when needed as well as using other accents. Maybe work on it but at the same time keep auditioning with it -- you can only bring what you have--and many times that is exactly what they are looking for.

Bill Clarke

hey what do I know? I'm just a designer. but I think it'd be crazy and sad to get rid of your beautiful French accent.

Roberto Basilico

Well, learning an accent doesn't mean loosing another one. Good actors and Actress are able to speak with different accent despite the role. I would say, learn the general american accent period, it is not even a question.

Andrew D Ford

What would all the successful foreign actors be without an accent...look at Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Kris Kemp

Those accent reduction classes are a huge rip off. Keep your accent. Continue doing independent films where you get speaking parts to show your acting skills. Continue working.

Harry Edward Saffold Jr.

I agree with Kris, it is cute, however, if you could create and establish some balance, where you could do either, you would have an advantage.

Diana Osberg

It's best not to think about "losing" an accent, but rather, to learn how to do a Standard American dialect. It makes an actor in the American system more marketable.

Kim Gelvin (Gelvin-Wilks, Gelvin-Melville)

Do what suits you best but i suggest keep true to yourself and learn more accents . the more you know the more work you can apply for.

Kim Gelvin (Gelvin-Wilks, Gelvin-Melville)

Meaning don't loss that accent but add more to your rep

Linda McIntyre

I agree with all these comments. There are so many great actors/actresses that always use their natural accents, and some who use a different one with every role. I think that it comes down to the role, and what you are able and willing to sustain over multiple shooting days that sounds consistent and natural. Your accent can make you stand out in a positive way, where a fake one can sink you fast if you aren't careful.

Riyo David Innocent

Please don't loose your accent,just learn others esp if you must be versatile

James Brunhuber Sr

Keep the accent. It is what makes you. Friend request me on Facebook; James Brunhuber Sr Look forward to hearing from you.

Daniel Berkey

I had a very pronounced regional accent. I'm from Minnesota, and I sought to neutralize it, not destroy it. I think it's an asset to maintain your natural accent while finding a place of neutrality of speech so you can go anywhere with your voice. I found a good teacher who used the Edith Skinner speech notes. It took a lot of work, but it was worth it. Mastering accents is not easy; some actors have a true gift for it. Still, it's a challenge to get it right, to be accurate. For instance, there are over a hundred distinct accents from the UK, almost 35 from London alone. How many times have you heard a British accent done poorly? It's so easy to be mediocre and quite challenging to be good.

Daniel Berkey

If anyone is interested in seeking good accent renditions, there's a site known as IDEA (International Dialects of English Archive). I've found it an invaluable resource.

Daniel Berkey

Interesting and valuable points, Corinne. Speaking personally I don't take to different accents easily, but I've been called on occasionally to take one on. This may be somewhat extreme, and I'm not suggesting it as necessary at all, but for me, to understand and fully realize a very specific Dublin accent I went to a community in CT, of all places, where quite a few families from Dublin took root after immigrating. Now, exactly why I went there is a long story that would digress too far. Suffice to say, by living and speaking, consciously aware of modifying my own accent to don their own took over a week, but I finally forgot about trying to talk 'Dublin' and just talked that way. It was for a highly vetted film called Plague Town. I played the priest right at the top of the film who has about 6 minutes screen time. I need to immerse myself in the accent, find indigenous speakers and live amongst them. In lieu of that, I've found IDEA a terrific boon.

Patrick Opitz

Awesome! Thanks Daniel.

Daniel Berkey

You're very welcome, Patrick!

Daniel Berkey

Very well stated, Corinne. These elements you cited....the vocabulary, rhythm, word usage, phrase and sentence structure, body language, etc. are all vital components in creating an authentic accent.

Michelle Jeanmard

Learn many

JD Oppen, Mpse

Play off it, seek work that may require it, but at the same time, absolutely you should learn to act without it as well, as it opens up more opportunity for you :-)

JD Oppen, Mpse

Any films produced?

Douglas Olsson

I agree, learn american neutral first, you will always have your french accent. I work with a dialect coach to learn, russsian, Boston, NY, and Southern. More tools.

Daniel Berkey

Absolutely, Douglas. Establishing a neutral base allows you freedom to go anywhere.

James David Sullivan

"Here's listening to you, Kid!" ;-)

Kenneth David Swenson

It depends....what I'm writing now has a lot of French characters in it. I would rather (if it got to screen) have a person from France speaking the lines than someone who would be using an approximation of a proper accent and pronunciation.

Jack Raymond

Look at it this way. If you can learn an English accent, that gives you two accents to offer instead of one.

Pamela Vanderway

Wondering what you decided on this! (And hoping you have not only kept your own French accented English, but have added other accents within English in order to increase your casting opportunities.)

Robert J Scott

Like Jon Raymond said if you can learn one or two English accents, such as an UK accent and an American accent, it will open more doors for you.

Rosalind Winton

I think that is important NOT to get rid of any accent you might have, you've got to maintain your own originality, it might be an idea to learn other accents to give you a better repertoire, but if you got rid of your accent, you wouldn't be 'you' and it would be kind of denying your roots as well, which is a shame. Look at actors like Antonio Bandaros, a very successful Spanish actor who never got rid of his accent. You also have to remember that your accent is endearing to others and I think actually gives you an edge.

Andrew D Ford

Get rid of that highly marketable outrageous accent...suck le bleewh!

Stephen Foster

I'd say use your accent as your calling card. I was told to get rid of my southern accent and it's been my greatest asset to book roles. it all depends on the type of acting you want to do. there are no hard and fast rules for this.

Rob Ewing

I don't think its something you need to get rid of necessarily, especially if it adds to your overall "likability." Don't change who you are. I do, however, think it might be useful if you had some variety in your stable, and were not solely dependent on that one accent for work.

Douglas Olsson

Guys, she won't "lose" her accent but have the ability to turn it on or off. That opens up roles. I've played Italian, Southern, Armenian, Russian and Spanish. It takes work but it can be done.

Raymond Zachariasse

I think in Hollywood you should, but as a person I think you should not. However, with an accent you do get type cast. I know with Dutch (I am one) you will get German roles. Only when you are really good in hiding your accent (Ruther Hauer, Carice van Houten and Famke Jansen) you get the bigger parts. It really depends on what your wishes are, I think.

Steve James

Aren't you working in France?

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