How Does Domhnall Gleeson Learn Accents?

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Actor Domnhall Gleeson

“Oftentimes I’ll find a poem that I think suits the character and that will be my mantra” – Domnhall Gleeson 

You’d be forgiven for not knowing the nationality of actor Domhnall Gleeson because in nearly every film he appears in he seems to use a different voice for his characters. It’s something the Irish Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Ex Machina star has become known for in his roles. Speaking with Business Insider, Gleeson first details why he accepts particular roles and then explains his process for learning accents.

Gleeson explains exactly why he takes the roles that he does, revealing, “If it’s the right filmmaker, I’m willing to do anything. I’ll do two lines, or I’ll do the lead, or I’ll do something which isn’t flattering. Good filmmakers are the reason that I’m an actor at all. It’s because I love good films. So I think I’m also just willing to throw myself into whatever they need me to be for their movie.”

One particular aspect of acting that Gleeson has become known for it using a variety of accents in his projects. When it comes to learning accents, he has developed his own system. He says, “I mean, I didn’t go to drama school or anything like that so it’s my own little system which has developed, but yeah, a lot of exercises in the mornings then I tend to keep the accent up during the day, just so it settles into my mouth and I’m not doing an accent when we start doing a scene. Oftentimes I’ll find a poem that I think suits the character and that will be my mantra that I go to because it puts you in a good state of mind and it gets your mouth in shape for what you’re about to do.”

However, Gleeson doesn’t keep the act going once the working day is over. He continues, “I’ll keep it up on set, but then when they say, ‘cut’ on the last take of the day, I go back to Irish and then I can go home and talk to my friends and not have them hate me. You know? So I can try and be myself again.”

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About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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