How the True Blood Cast Perfect Their Southern Accents

September 25, 2010 by  

Liz Himelstein, Dialect Coach Extraordinaire, Reveals the Secrets Behind the True Blood Accent

Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton, Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse on HBO red carpetTrue Blood cast members hail from places all around the world, not that you can tell from their perfect Southern accents thanks to Liz Himelstein their dialect coach.

Recently, Himelstein, who has 20 years experience in film and theater under her belt, opened up to CNN about how the cast manages to sound perfectly at home in Bon Temps.

In the interview, Himelstein revealed she had Stephen Moyer, True Blood’s Bill,  listen to propriety recordings of older men from the South to help him develop the antiquated Southern drawl women have fallen in love with.

Anna Paquin, who plays Sookie, listened to poetry from the South. According to Himelstein, Paquin and Moyer took to their accents for the show quickly.

For the show’s pilot, Himelstein was impressed with the cast, who she says had fun working on their accents together.

The secret to how the cast manages to keep their accents going? Alan Ball, creator of the show, who was born in Georgia. Ball writes in Southern dialect, which helps give the cast an idea of how they should sound. According to Himelstein, reading Ball’s writing is like reading a piece of music, if you follow his rhythm, you won’t get lost.

Source: CNN.com — How to talk like a vampire, and anyone else

(Photo Credit: CNN)

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  • Alicia

    Those accents are so fake and ridiculous it’s insulting. That’s how Hollywood think we talk. We do not talk like that. Listen to how Lil Wayne’s ex wife Toya talks. THAT’s how people from New Orleans talk. Those accents are so insulting!

    • Alicia, the show takes place in Northern Louisiana, nowhere near New Orleans. Thus, we have to allow for regional differences in accents. 🙂 I’ve heard lots of people say that the accents are good, and about the same amount of people have said the accents are horrible. We all have to remember that this show is fantasy, and they are allowed to not be 100% accurate.

  • Jjbc

    Not fond of Bill’s accent it grates on my nerves. Alcide has more of a hillbilly accent and just his voice grates on my last nerve. Sookie’s is good, but Ryan does the best job. I was really surprised however in the final episode when Eric said to Alcide “your truck out front” he had a faint southern accent that was excellent, and when Pam said to Eric “Eric, do not bring that thing back inside this bar” she also had a slight southern accent. Listening to the others it must have rubbed off on them. They are both such excellent actors.

  • Cindy

    LOL – the most recent issue of Southern Living magazine stated in an article how wrong the accents are and how people from the south don’t really talk like that.

    • lizzie1701

      Oh well! I still love watching the show, regardless. Even here in OZ, no one speaks the same! lol!

  • lizzie1701

    Thank you Elina. That was interesting. I enjoy the Bill and Sookie accents!

    Yes, I agree, with the statement, that following AB’s writing is like reading a piece of music, if you follow his rhythm, you won’t get lost.