Jonathan Melville: Putting the accent on Scottish film roles

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MEL GIBSON’S done it. So has Mike Myers. Christopher Lambert wasn’t even trying. Sean Connery’s made a career out of it.

Putting on a Scottish accent is something of a rite of passage for many Hollywood stars and often has audiences cringing.

The release this week of the trailer for Lockout, a sci-fi action film starring Guy Pearce, revealed at least two of the cast attempting Scottish accents, with varying degrees of success.

While I can forgive Gibson for his Scottish burr in Braveheart and Myers his decision to make Shrek a Scot, actors such as Highlander’s Lambert are painful to listen to.

Other honorary Scots include Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire, Peter Sellers in Edinburgh-set Battle of the Sexes, with a special award going to Johnny Lee Miller for his role as Sick Boy in Trainspotting.

Miller’s Edinburgh accent may not be perfect but, as an unknown actor back in the mid-90s, it’s safe to say he convinced at least a few locals that he was one of us.

The secret of the perfect Scottish accent seems to be to keep it subtle as much as possible, that way you might just get away with it, as if you’ve been away from the home country for a while.

That doesn’t quite work for Connery, whose accent seems stronger now than it was 50 years ago in Dr No.

As for what Russians or Egyptians think of his accents in The Hunt for Red October and Highlander, I dread to think.


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