Poll: What would you most like to see RA improve his skills/techniques?


As we anticipate Richard’s career and the greater number of opportunities that most likely await him in the wake of The Hobbit, we have all discussed what’s next. We’ve talked about the sorts of roles we’d like to see RA appear in, movies versus television shows, remakes of favorites from the past, potential co-stars and so forth.

Now, for most of us here, Richard is one of the best–if not the best overall–actors we’ve ever experienced.  But (in spite of certain evidence to the contrary–those elfin ears, anyone?) he is only human, after all, and within Richard there is room for improvement and growth as an actor. He has always strived to move “from strength to strength” and I don’t think that will change. So, here is a poll over some possible areas in which we might say RA has room for improvement.  Perhaps you have another suggestion; perhaps you think “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” BTW, the choices are based on comments I have heard at various times and do not necessarily coincide with the views of the management.



About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

44 responses »

  1. Richard always does his homework for the roles he plays. If he were to play Atticus Finch, for example, I think he’d go to a voice/language coach, the way he did for the Russian dialogue in Spooks. If he had another role which required different or stronger equestrian skills, such as for the Richard III project, he’d be on a horse every day. I’ve noticed that some of the facial mannerisms are strongly tied to certain characters, and don’t seem to be repetitive.

  2. Accents, definitely 🙂 It reminds me of an interview where he explained that during a casting in the US, after a screen test with his finest American accent, he was asked to redo the scene but with an American accent this time: ) Poor Richard ! Just goes there’s still room for improvement!

  3. American accent has to be on top of the list. I would be happy if he would only ever get roles that require his natural accent in international productions but if he is not able to do a credible American accent he will seriously limit himself as most roles happens to be Americans in American productions. Besides, if he would try and fail, his fans would notice and point it out, as they did with the poem he read in a radio show. And I’m afraid, just an okay accent won’t do, it has to be perfect, everything else would be an embarrassment for someone who is known to pay attention to detail and is usually very good with accents. I’d much rather see him spending his free time in NZ with a language coach than in the gym.

    • I think the accent is the biggest hurdle for him. As mentioned, his previous attempt at an American accent when in LA apparently needed a lot of work. I look at a lot of the British actors who have succeeded in film and television here and their capacity to do an American accent plays a part in getting at fair number of those roles. Now, I do love his own natural accent and all the various UK dialects he does and personally would be content to hear those the rest of his career. But I do think that would limit him on the international level and inhibit his goal to continue to raise his profile.

  4. Before I even read the comments, I thought American Accent! He does very well with British accents but his American one is awful. Last year, I heard him do a voice over to a symphony on, I think, BBC radio. He had to do an American accent. It was pretty bad! I cringed when I heard it. What did sound American was done in a New York mafia don accent. If he can’t overcome this obstacle, he may only be able to play Brits. I hate saying this, it almost hurts me to, but there you go!

    • Yes, I have to say when I listened to that “Words and Music” recording and they got to the part with the American accent, I cringed a bit, too. I thought his CA American accent when he was undercover was better, but still not what it should be.

      • Well my English friend said that Hugh Laurie’s American accent isn’t all that great in House M.D. and yet look how far it got him.. Admittedly, that came from an English person not an American so I’m not sure whether his opinion counts for much! 🙂

        • I think it’s a pretty decent American accent, actually, but I have heard some criticsm of it and he slips now and again. The problem with a lot of English actors doing American accents is they end up sounding Canadian (and yes, you Canadian sisters and brothers have some distinctive vowel sounds that are different from ours. That “hoos” and “aboot” thing. 😉 )

        • I thought Hugh Laurie’s accent is so good that they didn’t knew he was British when he auditioned and they hired him? Obviously I cannot tell if an American accent is good or bad, I just know that I don’t like the sound of it and it often prevents me from watching an American show in the original version. But getting that right is a basic technical requirement and if he doesn’t it won’t be a case of “poor Richard” but “stupid Richard”.

          • I have to say I was really surprised to read some of the criticism of Hugh’s American accent (someone called it “crap”) and while, as I said, it isn’t perfect, it is much better than what I’ve heard from some other UK actors (thinking of GOR as Sarah Caulfield, for example). Someone who had me completely fooled–and usually I can tell when a Brit whose work I haven’t seen before is playing an American because I have a good ear for accents–was Damian Lewis in Band of Brothers. I assumed he was American initially. Now he’s playing another American soldier in the critically acclaimed Heartland along with David Harewood (who was in RH and Strike Back with Richard).

            I confess I don’t particularly New York/New Jersey accents (sorry if any of you hail from that area!). They grate on my ears. There was an English girl that took French classes with me in college and she said she much preferred southern accents to those from the east coast. Me, too.
            I have noticed British actors generally being pretty successful with southern American accents. Albert Finney, Alan Rickman, to name a couple.

          • As I said Jane, it was just one person’s opinion, I’m not a good judge of American accents myself not being a native speaker. 🙂 You don’t necessarily have to have an American accent to play a lead in a US show though, Tim Roth played an Englishman in “Lie to Me”.. And take the career of Hugh Grant- I don’t think the man could do a decent American accent to save his life (has he ever played an American?), yet he had a pretty successful career in Hollywood, albeit with a limited range of roles. 🙂

            • Hugh played a British guy trying to sound American in Mickey Blue Eyes. He wasn’t too convincing, but then again it was a comedy. He’s a charming guy and I have enjoyed many of his movies, but talk about someone relying on a lot of the same mannerisms. The fluttering eyelids, the stammer. Even he’s admitted to being a limited talent, and in his case, I don’t think it is false modesty.

              • Yes that scene in the car with James Caan in Mickey…. Every time I watch it, I laugh until I cry! One of the best comedy scenes ever. “Forged aboud id!” 😀 I wasn’t sure whether HG was acting in that scene actually or whether he really was that hopeless at the American maffia accent! 🙂 (Now imagine that scene dubbed into German or any other language. It wouldn’t work, would it??) I enjoyed a lot of HG’s films too, “About a Boy” and “Music and Lyrics” are my two favourites, but he does have a limited range. I like that he acknowledges it and is honest about it.

              • Yeah, it’s always refreshing to see an actor who know his limitations and accepts them and simply tries to make the most of what he does have. I have seen him on chat shows and you can’t help but like him.

  5. It’s not just that his American accent is “a bit off” or “needs work”, but his voice without his natural accent just loses so much! I can’t even define it, but I hope he always gets to sound British. I love British accents and his is the best, so I’m happy to leave fabulous alone. Where I think he needs work is in some of his mannerisms. Maybe it’s just that we watch him too much but, I think he needs a few more tricks in his bag. (However I am confident he will continue to improve, without any outside urging. I am sure he is his best critic and I am content to just keep ogling!)

      • Don’t get me wrong; I love his natural accent and his varied UK accents. But I would hate to see him lose out on some really good role simply because he cannot master the appropriate accent. And he would hate that, I think.

        • I’m sure if he’s given enough time to prepare and hires a good dialect coach he could master any accent. Even an American one! 🙂

          • If he ends up spending enough time in the States working, he might develop that generic (for want of a better word) trans-Atlantic accent. I’m thinking of the likes of Pierce Brosnan here, not too British, but not real American-sounding either. I was also thinking of Sean Connery, and trying to place his accent the last time I heard him in a movie. Did he ever adopt an American accent?
            It would be a shame though. I hope Richard never loses his British accent.

            • I really don’t think he will ever lose his natural accent, just adapt it as needed for roles. Mezz, there is a running joke that Sean Connery–not matter what the role–always sounded Scottish. I saw him play an Arab chieftan in The Wind and the Lion when I was a teenager and he looked the part. But he still had that Scottish accent! 😉

              • There you go then, problem solved! All Richard has to do is become as famous and sought after as Sir Sean and he can keep his accent whatever the role. 😉

    • Absolutely Phylly! 🙂
      IMHO his shyness and lack of the chutzpah(arrogance?audacity?impudence?) prevent him from imitating the American accent. I suspect that he is afraid of ridicule, so..one or two glass of Russian vodka in hand and to work Richard! 😉

  6. As a Brit I thought his Russian sounded credible but I do remember a Russian girl saying she had no idea what he was saying………..but I believe he had to learn it phonetically. I wonder why it is that some actors are forgiven for their bad ‘accents’ and others are ridiculed?

    • That’s interesting sapphire, because I studied Russian at school for 8 years (I should say I was taught Russian), have to say not a lot stuck with me from it but I do remember some words and I did understand some of Richard’s Russian lines in Spooks. His Russian sounded perfectly fine to me! 🙂

      • It was 8 years of stuggle with unwanted lessons,right Judit? 😉 Richard’s Russian accent sounds fine to me, too. I dimly remember that Lukas said something about buying mushrooms from ..the Black Sea?;)

        • Joanna, yes, it was definitely a struggle trying to learn Russian! It’s a damned difficult language (especially for us Hungarians as ours is not a Slavic language) with very, very complicated grammar! I can still recite some of the poems we had to learn by heart about Comrade Lenin though… 🙂

      • Is it possible that it was a different dialect than they were accustomed to and that’s why they couldn’t understand it? Just taking a stab. I know Americans from certain parts of the country have difficulty understanding Americans from other parts . . .

    • Perhaps it is because those actors aren’t being judged on the same level as Richard. Nobody expects Tom Cruise to be any good at accents. The only time he tried (in Far and Away) he got panned, and he has never tried it again. RA works so hard on getting all the details right, I think many assume he will also get the accent letter-perfect.

      • Oh..Angie!”Far and Away”- I really like this film and there was the time when I had a soft spot for Tom(before..let,s just say..he became to known more…emm…personally) 😉

        • I only saw part of it, Joanna, I just remember a lot of critics here didn’t think he did a great job with that Irish accent. And I really used to like him, too–and then he started jumping on couches and lecturing women, telling them there was no such thing as post-partum depression (really, Mr. Cruise? How many babies have you had??) and getting all Scientologized. Now I think he’s a nut.

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