Wednesday, September 22, 2010

True Blood : How to talk like a vampire, and anyone else

(CNN) -- "You are my miracle, Sookie. For the first time in 140 years, I felt something I thought had been lost to me forever. I love you."

Bill Compton's sexy, antiquated Southern drawl comes through loud and clear when he speaks these words: he says "miracle" as "mir-uh-kal," and drops the "r" in "years" and the "g" in "something" when he tells Sookie Stackhouse that he loves her in "True Blood," which just ended its third season.

But that's not how the show's leads Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin, now married, speak in real life. Paquin comes from New Zealand. Moyer is British. Their speech is nothing like wide-eyed Southern waitress or the vampire of over 170 years from Louisiana.

How do they do it? Behind the scenes of many television shows and movies, dialect coaches are working with actors and actresses to perfect their speech patterns, getting them to sound as close to the director's vision as possible.

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