February 02, 2012

Meryl Streep Accents Dialogue

Meryl Streep is well known for her ability to imitate foreign and domestic accents, from Danish in Out of Africa (1985), to English in Plenty (also 1985) and The Iron Lady (2011), as well as Italian in The Bridges of Madison County (1995), to a Midwestern dialect in A Prairie Home Companion (2006). In A Cry in the Dark (1988) she colored Australian English with New Zealand tonalities, as most critics were impressed with Streep's performance and ability to master an Australian accent.

For her role in the film Sophie's Choice (1982), she took a language course in Polish for four months, so as to interpret a young Pole perfectly. In The Iron Lady, she reproduces the vocal style of Margaret Thatcher, both from her early days before she became Britain's Prime Minister, and later after she had taken elocution lessons to change both the pitch and pronunciation of her delivery. Despite the accolades accorded to her, Streep has responded to praise with the assertion that adopting accents is an element that she simply considers an obvious part of her task in creating characters. When asked whether accents help her get into character, she responded, "I'm always baffled by this question... How could I play that part and talk like me?" When questioned as to how she reproduces different accents, Streep replied, "I listen."