In the post-War years German was the accent of choice for super-villains. “They had this reputation for brutal efficiency” says Larry, a Hollywood casting director. “Audiences in the 1940s and 50s heard that accent and just knew the hero was in trouble”.
The 1950s and 60s brought the Space Race, and Russian became the accent of choice.
“The Germans started being nice” says Larry, sighing. “They embraced the Green movement, led the way in recycling and generally behaved quite well. Still efficient, just not . . .frightening. So Russian took off.
“But then – disaster! The Berlin Wall came down and we could see how shit Russian cars and apartments were – well, we couldn’t take them seriously either”.
Posh English accents became the accent of choice for Hollywood villains . . . until Boris.
“Boris! Don’t mention that man’s name”, says Larry. “Can you imagine Ernst Blofeld getting stuck on a zipwire? Or ruffling his hair whenever he spots a camera? The man’s a buffoon. If he had a theme tune in Bond movies it would be some fruity woodwind, or possibly the Benny Hill theme”.
Casting directors have scoured the British Isles looking for alternatives. Glaswegian is ‘menacing, but low status. Also, we can’t understand a fucking word’. Welsh is ‘just weird’, and the casting directors thought Geordie was probably a different language altogether. The only British accent to make the cut is Brummie, which will become the accent of choice for comedy characters with low self-esteem.
“Logically, we should go for Middle Eastern, what with all the Islamic terrorism”, says Larry. “But they do all the menial jobs in America, you might as well cast somebody of color. I suppose we could stick with posh English? Everybody in the English-speaking world hates them – including most Brits. And Boris is definitely evil, he just isn’t competent”.