Skip ahead to 10:44 in this clip from Charlie’s Angels, with an Irish jockey (played by the ill-fated John David Carson.) I don’t know any Irish people, but his Irish accent sounds pretty unconvincing and over-the-top (the actor is American.) How realistic is it? What is he doing wrong? Something about it just sounds like the Lucky Charms leprechaun instead of like a real Irish person. What are those little details in the inflection and stuff that make an Irish accent sound either real or fake?
Are there any American, or otherwise non-Irish actors, who can pull off a realistic Irish accent?
Haha, Irish person here (in Ireland). I was all set to listen to that clip but it says
As for non-Irish actors who can put on a convincing Irish accent Daniel Day Lewis was very good in In the Name of the Father and My Left Foot too even though in that his speaking was a little impaired due to characters disabilities, he still sounded right. Cate Blanchett did well at the ‘well-spoken, upper middle class’ Dublin accent in Veronica Guerin I thought and actually Kate Hudson was also so convincing as a ‘south County Dublin princess’ in a small budget film called About Adam that at the time I thought she was Irish! It was the first film I’d ever seen her in and didn’t know who she was. The character she was playing was of a type who have a slight Californian-sounding inflection anyway so that might have made it easier for her. Anjelica Houston in The Dead was very good too.
Can’t think of others right now but I’m sure there are some. Most put-on Irish accents seem really hammy though, but everyone’s more critical when people are trying to do accents you’ve grown up listening to.
OK, You’dNeverGuess, you can see the exact same scene in this same clip on Youtube, at 2:12.
And do all Irish people really say “me” instead of “my?” Like when he goes, “me name’s Ryan, Kevin Ryan” is that realistic, or just more stereotypical lucky-charms B.S.? Or when he talks about “race-haarses?”
Viewing it a second time, the accent really seems ridiculously over the top in that scene. But what do I know? In Blood Diamond, Leonardo Dicaprio’s accent sounded ridiculous to me but then I was told that he actually nailed the South African inflection.
This brings up some interesting thoughts. Daniel Day Lewis is English, so does that already give him a leg up on an Irish accent? It’s not like the Irish and the English never mix. There is proximity there.
Here’s the thing … I’m American and I can do an Irish accent and it probably sucks horribly bad and would never fool anybody. However, as a resident of New England, I can do a southern accent that would probably fool a southerner.
Further, I wonder how an English actor who can do a good American accent would do at different dialects thereof - and vice versa. Like can Christian Bale do a convincing Chicago accent, or is he stuck on WASP? Could Johnny Depp do a decent Welsh accent or is he stuck on Keith Richards (although he did do a pretty good Scottish in Finding Neverland).
I apparently can do some decent American accents. I leave answerphone messages for American phones in fake accents that sometimes fool them. I was told that one of my accents sounds like an “East Georgia” accent.
In the clip the guy says stuff like “opportoonity” that an Irish person wouldn’t say. It’s not the worst accent I’ve ever heard, but it does sound flat in places and also varies a lot. I think part of the problem is that there is a stage Irish “accent” that is a stereotyped, homogenised accent/manner of speaking that belies the rich variety of accents in this fair land.
As for the second part of the OP, Brad Pitt isn’t bad at Irish accents despite what some have said about his voice in The Divil’s Own and his Traveller accent (a specific minority within Ireland/Britain) is great.
I rarely hear decent Irish accents by non-Irish actors. Like I posted above, there’s a stereotypic stage accent that’s taken for Irish though it only barely resembles any accent here. From what I’ve seen of American television as well as the Oirish stage accent it also seems that Scots and Irish accents are interchangeable. There are similarities, especially between the Northeast of Ireland and parts of Scotland but they are generally fairly distinct to natives of either country.
A lot of the time, when I hear Americans or English people (Jonathan Ross, I’m looking at YOU) doing ‘Irish’ accents on the telly, it takes me a while to figure out they think that’s what they’re doing.
It mostly depends on what you’ve heard a lot of - what your ear’s comfortable with, what’s within your library of sounds. I can do a pretty good Standard American, my New York isn’t bad, and I learned a solid East Texas for a show a few years back, but I’m useless at Midwest. I can’t work out how to make those sounds.