List of films for learning an Alabama accent.

Dear Folks: The title says much of it. I’m doing a piece(“Regina”, based on Lillian Hellman’s “Little Foxes”. set in small town Alabama circa 1900. None of our Americans nor Canadians are from there, nor have they been there for long enough to work on it. So, I’m trying to make up a list of Hollywood films where the actors’ accents are either genuine, or so well done that they would pass for a Southerner. Even if only one actor nails it, that’s useful. Any Alabama linguists are welcome to give their opinions, also.

Best wishes,

Le Ministre

I know there ought to be some, but at the moment I’m drawing a blank. Sampiro might be of some help.

Does someone who might know know how close any of the characters in the movie To Kill A Mockingbird were?

How about Sling Blade? Although I can’t remember right at the moment in which state that movie is set.

From Wikipedia:

Forest Gump
Big Fish
Sweet Home Alabama, natch
Fried Green Tomatoes
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Long Walk Home
My Cousin Vinny
The Phenix City Story

That was Arkansas.
And please, for the love of God, ignore Wee Bairn’s list. Not a knock on Wee Bairn, but none of those movies have anything resembling an authentic Alabama accent, or even a remotely authentic Southern accent (maybe “The Phenix City Story”. I haven’t seen that one.) The Southern accent is routinely mangled and distorted to the point that everybody thinks that a wildly exaggerated Virginia Tidewater accent is spoken throughout the Southeast.

Pet peeve of mine. Sorry. I’ll try to come up with a movie with a decent Southern accent, but it might take me a while.

Not very, which is unfortunate. Mary Badham is from Birmingham, AL, so should have had a great accent, but I believe she was forced by “accent coaches” to broaden her accent. The result is a mess that’s hard for me to listen to, and IMHO, is a real stain on an otherwise great movie.

To continue my string of disjointed posts, come to think of it, Sling Blade isn’t bad. I seem to recall that Dwight Yoakam (of course!) has a pretty good accent.

And to the OP: kudos for trying to get it right, rather than settle for the easy Steel Magnolias way out.

Sling Blade has the most authentic Southern accents of any Hollywood film. (Yeah, it’s set in Arkansas, but there’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between the accents in that film and the ones you’ll hear in Alabama). In particular listen to the accent of Natalie Canerday, who plays the mother. Her accent is the genuine article. Seek out her other movies, too.

Foghorn Leghorn does a mean Georgia accent…

But, no, spoke is right, the woman in Sling Blade has an authentic southern accent, and Dwight Yoakam has a slight one, but as far south as Alabama, it’s usually a little thicker than that. (Dwight’s)

You can hear authentic Alabama (and other) accents here:

Wow, that’s an awesome site.

I understand Tom Hanks (or his coach, or both) patterned his Forrest Gump accent after that of young a boy he heard speaking in Alabama. May be urban legend, I dunno.

And one other resource: The Oxford American has an annual Southern Movie issue, which includes a DVD with all kinds of samples, interviews, etc. It’s well worth the time to check out (and the Oxford American is a fantastic magazine anyway.)

Back issues can be ordered here.

Gah! Tom Hanks is the single worst actor in Hollywood at doing Southern accents. And yet, inexplicably, he keeps getting roles that call for Southern accents.

Thanks! :slight_smile: Speaking of Sling Blade, by the way, Lucas Black is in that movie, and his accent is authentic Alabama. He sounds a lot like Alabama #7 from the IDEA site.

Absolute truth.

True, but his accent is not what I’d call an “average” Alabama accent. It’s very (very!) thick and broad. Most folks here don’t really sound like that. I find “Alabama 10”, the woman from Lanett, to be much more representative of a white Alabama accent as you’d hear it in the grocery store.

Never mind… :smack:

Oh, that’s smooth. A delicious sound. :slight_smile:

Yeah, she has a pretty voice. :slight_smile:

Re: Big Fish: Ewan MacGregor’s accent is awful, awful, awful. Albert Finney’s is a bit better (I think Finney is a genius anyway), but it’s still pretty Hollywoodized.