Rami Malek won an Oscar for his portrayal of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, despite not actually singing or playing any instruments in the movie. Whether you think that should have disqualified him or not from winning the top acting prize though, there was at least one thing he got absolutely right – Freddie Mercury’s speaking voice. Malek’s ability to talk just like the late singer is one of 17 performances based on real people dialect coach Erik Singer breaks down in his latest video. This continues to be one of the best recurring series on the internet.
In his latest video for Wired, Singer evaluates more performances where actors played real people. Malek’s Freddie Mercury was pitch perfect when it came to dialogue, and Singer illustrates why. He also explains why sometimes not going for an exact impression is the right choice for an actor. Like Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown, for example. Or why capturing a person’s persona can be even more powerful than doing a spot-on recreation. Cameron Britton’s unsettling portrayal as Ed Kemper on Mindhunter is a standout there.
While Singer has analyzed broader accents – both good and bad – before, this is his second time focusing exclusively on idiolects, “one individual person’s way of speaking”. He could make a hundred more of these and we’d watch them all. It’s fascinating to see an expert critique these performances in a way few can. Not only that, but these videos are incredibly informative. We might all be able to recognize certain regional accents, but these videos explain the actual physical movements responsible for them.
We didn’t need an expert to tell us Natalie Portman was amazing as former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie. But we still appreciate getting confirmation from someone who can help explain why. Plus, I for one think Malek deserved his Oscar win. Now we have a dialect coach’s support, and it’s music to my ears. Even if he’s just talking about speaking.
Featured Image: Wired