Bill Nighy on his ‘Pirates’ Accent: “I wanted something that didn’t repeat anything anyone else had done”

Bill Nighy might be currently seen at the movies in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but in an interview for NPR he’s dropped some interesting points about his role as Davy Jones in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  In particular, Nighy focuses on how he developed the Scottish accent for his character in the popular film series.

Nighy certainly had a unique accent in the Pirates films, and he reveals that finding a unique “voice” for his character was his intention.  He explains, “I wanted something that was unlike anyone else in the movie. They’d already done Pirates one and I was in two and three. I wanted something that didn’t repeat anything anyone else had done. There were lots of Irishmen in the movie. There were west country English burrs and I wanted something that could be powerful and spooky, you know, something scary and that particular accent – I met a guy on a train once, a very old guy and it was kind of, not entirely, but it was more or less based on him, an old Scotsman.”

Nighy admits that sometimes he does draw on the accents of people he meets in order to shape his accents for his roles.  He points out, “I do like to fool around with accents sometimes and some of it is subliminal. You meet so many people and then you’re working on a part and something pops up and you speak in a way that must be – it’s something that you heard sometime and you’ve kind of forgotten it, but it’s remained in your mind in some way.”

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