What you say and what I hear

Have you ever seen a foreign film? No, I don’t mean an independent film, but just a film that was supposed to be set in a different country. Why do all the actors in foreign set films speak with a British accent? I recently watched Anna Karenina. Great film. But they are in Russia! Do we all assume that people in foreign countries speak in British accents? Is that what we think is going on? Do we assume they are speaking Russian with a British accent?
And what about people in England? Do they watch their foreign set films with American actors? Do they think Russians sound like Julia Roberts?
Has anyone actually heard Russians speak? Or French people? Or Polish? Wouldn’t it be more authentic to have the actors take up the national accent they are portraying? Sure, speak English. I want to be able to understand you. But do it with a Russian accent. No? Alright, let’s compromise. Set your movie in Russia, hire English speaking actors, and have them read their lines with a French accent. Everyone wins.

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