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What do you think about villains in American media having British accents?

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I've read a few articles documenting that some many villains in American movies, TV shows, video games, etc. have British accents. What do you guys think about this phenomenon?

I think it's an example of "othering", stereotyping people who are not your own. This othering would probably stem from nationalistic pride after Americans drove the British away in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

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As opposed to Arabic, Chinese, or Spanish accents?

I'm all for it. The Brits have done the same thing to American accents many times.

 

(Personally, I think that villains should have Canadian accents, because we're the real threat to the world order. If only you poor suckers knew it. Bwahahah.)

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1 minute ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

As opposed to Arabic, Chinese, or Spanish accents?

I'm all for it. The Brits have done the same thing to American accents many times.

 

(Personally, I think that villains should have Canadian accents, because we're the real threat to the world order. If only you poor suckers knew it. Bwahahah.)

Yes I agree! Those sneaky Canadians!

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Posted (edited)

What accent to the villains in German movies have? Indian? Chinese? Australian? Japanese? I could go on.

ETA:

In the US, there's a chain of Japanese restaurants called Benihana of Tokyo.

In Tokyo, they're named Benihana of New York.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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30 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

(Personally, I think that villains should have Canadian accents, because we're the real threat to the world order. If only you poor suckers knew it. Bwahahah.)

Excerpt from Star Wars A New Hope:

Officer: We've analyzed their attack sir and there is a danger. Should I have your ship standing by?

Governor Tarkin: No way! Those rebels are a bunch of hosers, eh?

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I think you’re way overthinking things.  
I dare say there’s a counter-country example for every bad dude with a British accent.

If anything, I thinks it’s likely because the British accent to most Americans comes across as sophisticated.  For example- that gaudy example of Hollywood excess- 1963s Cleopatra.  Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton?  & Rex Harrison?  All English.  Very posh.  Not very authentic.

& just remember- theY chose the king of breakfast sausage & country music star Jimmy Dean to be the bad guy to the British playboy spy hero James Bond aka 007 in Diamonds are Forever in 1971.  I mean if you want to stereotype Americans as hillbilly hicks.. it can certainly said stereotyping goes both ways.  

Wont even start on the silliness that was Christopher Walker as Zorin in 007s A View to a Kill.

 

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2 minutes ago, Pixie Kobichenko said:

the silliness that was Christopher Walker as Zorin in 007s A View to a Kill

Christopher Walken is always silly.

And always AWESOME.

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6 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Christopher Walken is always silly.

And always AWESOME.

Yes he is 😍 he’s spectacular.  That particular movie tho.  😂

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58 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

 

OMG I LOVE THIS VIDEO!

I love Fatboy Slim generally, but this song, and this video, is just wonderful!

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2 hours ago, Gopi Passiflora said:

 What do you guys think about this phenomenon?

They probably still want to get back at this British film with a villain bearing an American accent. Which is hard to top ( awfully good performance by Kevin Kline )

 

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   It originates from George Sanders voicing Shere Khan in The Jungle Book. The 'Queen's English' isn't just 'British', it's specifically that upper-class kind of 'correct' English, along with the polite demeanor which, apparently, appears untrustworthy and disingenuous.

 

   Perhaps it would be in my best interest to deteriorate my punctuation and start dropping my u's . . . Yo, where might I purchase some-- gas, for my automobile? Winces.

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7 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

OMG I LOVE THIS VIDEO!

I love Fatboy Slim generally, but this song, and this video, is just wonderful!

You'd not seen it?

Look up the video entries for That Old Pair of Jeans. He invited people to create their own videos featuring juggling and other circus skills. This was back before everyone had a video camera on their phones. Some of the entries aren't that impressive but some are spectacular, and even the less breathtaking ones are still part of a wider creative challenge which is just glorious to discover. Great song, too.

For whatever it's worth, Americans love my accent. 

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Pixie and Orwar are probably correct, however, in my opinion it's all payback for THIS abomination! ...and the payback still has a couple of decade's left outstanding!
 

 

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9 hours ago, Gopi Passiflora said:

I've read a few articles documenting that some many villains in American movies, TV shows, video games, etc. have British accents. What do you guys think about this phenomenon?

Hi I'm from Britain and can confirm that we are all quite evil and are constantly scheming up ways to reclaim America and achieve world domination, so that stereotype does in fact ring true. 👍

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2 minutes ago, Dano Seale said:

Pixie and Orwar are probably correct, however, in my opinion it's all payback for THIS abomination! ...and the payback still has a couple of decade's left outstanding!
 

 

I heard that his accent coach was actually Irish? Don't know if it's true. He seems to have invented his own accent in that role, much like Jane Leeves in Frasier. I had to wait until I caught an episode in which they explicitly stated that Daphne was Mancunian because I sure as hell couldn't work out where the frig she was supposed to be from. I guessed northern because of the short vowels but apart from that...

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6 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

I had to wait until I caught an episode in which they explicitly stated that Daphne was Mancunian because I sure as hell couldn't work out where the frig she was supposed to be from.

Always thought us 'Manc's' were as distinctive as cockney's and scouser's tbh. Then again, the term "Northern" encompasses Lancashire and Yorkshire and there's a lot of accents between them with only slight differences, so yeah, it can be awkward when guessing, even for me!
Just finished the TV series 'white lines'. Apart from the Spaniard's, the rest are pure 'Manc's'. Give a go, it'll train you better for guess work!  😆

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3 minutes ago, Dano Seale said:

Always thought us 'Manc's' were as distinctive as cockney's and scouser's tbh. Then again, the term "Northern" encompasses Lancashire and Yorkshire and there's a lot of accents between them with only slight differences, so yeah, it can be awkward when guessing, even for me!
Just finished the TV series 'white lines'. Apart from the Spaniard's, the rest are pure 'Manc's'. Give a go, it'll train you better for guess work!  😆

You are pretty distinctive but Jane Leeves appears to have made you her own! I could not work out where the hell that accent was supposed to come from. Did it sound properly Mancunian to you?

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6 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

Did it sound properly Mancunian to you?

Never seen 'Frasier' tbh, so no idea sorry.

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1 minute ago, Dano Seale said:

Never seen 'Frasier' tbh, so no idea sorry.

Look for some clips on YouTube, the character is called Daphne. She's one of the core cast members so she's in almost every episode. Jane Leeves is beautiful and talented and a stunning dancer, but if that's a Mancunian accent, I'm a Geordie! 

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I’m in a Frasier fan group on Facebook, and more than once, folks from the UK have expressed their displeasure not only with Daphne’s accent, but the portrayal of her family in general- especially Anthony Lapaglia’s performance of her brother Simon.  He did win an Emmy for that role. - I love that show, every episode in my DVR.  

Being an American I am vaguely aware of differences in British accents.  I guess in as much as someone from Texas sounds different from someone from Boston to Minnesota.   Won’t lie, I dig Ciaran Hinds portrayal  of Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre).  Makes me very fan-girl squeely.  Stern & forceful proper voice.  But then he’s very creepy in this movie I watched where he’s this creepy mad scientist who keeps creating clones of his dead wife- killing each one when they become curious about the one door they are told to not open.  But it’s pretty much identical in tone to the Rochester.  🤷‍♀️

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It's an enjoyable accent to listen to..I love British comedy as well, because it's so witty most of the time...

 

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Posted (edited)

I remember watching the very first episode of Sex and the City, and my friends and I knew that actress was not English. She was very good, but the accent was just too forced and hard. We were focusing more on trying to place her than on the plot, but she had only a few minutes of screen time. Eventually, she hit a strange vowel and we all suddenly shouted, "Australian!"

Edited by Amina Sopwith

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