Ethan and my South African English accent

Here I’m playing a doctor in a corporate piece for South Africa – sporting a burly beard and doing my native South African English accent.  The man on the phone at the beginning is doing an Afrikaans accent – the one stereotypically associated with the country.

Go behind-the-scenes on the Barksy website.

Fake accents

screengrab: observer_'allo 'allo?

I saw a few casting directors tweeting the above article about a shift in the casting of speaking roles.  It highlights how actors are increasingly expected to be culturally aligned with the characters they play.  It has a lot to do with ‘cultural appropriation‘ – a contentious topic.

“An actor’s automatic licence to fake an accent is now increasingly in doubt.” – Vanessa Thorpe

As a South African actor, I’m aware that mainstream South African roles are almost exclusively played by non-South Africans who for the most part fail to accurately deliver the accent.  Even so, they’re working with recognised names, are handsomely rewarded and in a position to elevate their careers.

If they weren’t allowed to play those parts, would it also mean I could only ever play South Africans?  Bit of a double-edged sword that one.