Why can’t Hollywood get the Strayan accent right?

Hearing an Australian accent on the big screen is often a really cringe-worthy experience. Actors and actresses from down under who move to Hollywood usually drop their mother tongue (can you imagine Hugh Jackman as an Aussie wolverine?), so it’s not often that we hear an authentic one. For those who are brave enough to attempt it, drawn-out vowels and overused slang immediately make the ‘Aussie’ character in a movie the laughing stock of any native viewer. And there are plenty of examples – think Meryl Streep as Lindy Chamberlain in Evil Angels, Daniel Radcliffe in December Boys, or Quentin Tarantino in Django Unchained. Why is it that hardly anyone can get it right?

We chatted to Dr Liz Giuffre, senior lecturer in Communications at UTS and expert in Television Studies, about what makes the Australian accent so hard to imitate, and why it just sounds so out of place on the big screen.

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