The first trailer for Maleficent is here — or, I should say ‘teaser trailer’, since previewing the preview is Hollywood’s new favorite thing — and I thought I was really excited to see it. After all, I was so impressed with the first poster yesterday that I did a whole post obsessing over how amazing Angelina Jolie looks in it.
But then I started watching the trailer, and a funny thing happened. I kept hearing this little British voice in my head, which is weird for two reasons. A. My conscience doesn’t usually speak up at all, and if it does it’s solid Midwestern, and B. I was pretty sure there wasn’t anyone British in a lead role in this movie. “Maybe there’s a narrator,” I thought to myself, “because there’s absolutely no reason they’d ask every American actor in this film to do an English accent just because.”
But guess what? They totally are. In a world where they can’t stop won’t stop asking Emma Watson to bungle an American accent in movies that don’t necessarily require one, they’re also inexplicably requiring Elle Fanning to speak with one as Princess Aurora in Maleficent. Which, considering it’s a reinvention of a classic fairytale, means she could literally sound like anything. And even if they were trying to be true to the source material it still wouldn’t be British, because the Brothers Grimm were German.
I just don’t get why fairytale movies keep doing this. (Remember they had Julia Roberts do a British accent as well for Mirror Mirror? God knows why.) There are all kinds of dialects drifting around this cast — from Australian to Scottish to British to American — so why not just embrace it? It’s either that or cast accordingly if you really want to make the dialects match — why make fifteen-year old Elle focus on one more thing that isn’t her acting?
I sense Dakota Fanning behind all this, trying to make Elle play with a handicap so she can still claim to be the more talented sister. I see through your tricks, Dakota…I just wish it wasn’t working.
Maleficent opens May 30th, 2014, which gives them a little more than five months to polish up those sloppy accents. Godspeed.