…the show has always had one big, scenery-chewing constant: Kevin Spacey’s Southern accent… is Spacey’s accent accurate at all? … Spacey is hitting certain features very well, some distinct sounds are being ignored… Frank Underwood sounds like a Southerner born before World War II…
I’ve noticed a few interesting things about people’s accents – especially the accents of people who have migrated from one country or region to another – in the nearly two decades that I’ve been listening to them carefully. One is that people who are consciously using a “prestige” accent can be very convincing for short periods, and when they aren’t under stress, but that when they need to speak at length and don’t have prepared remarks, or when they are in difficult or stressful situations, they’ll frequently revert to their more “natural” accents.
In the first two seasons of House of Cards, I observed quite the opposite from Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood. During normal conversation or soliloquy, he used the simulated “South Carolina” accent described by Vox, but when his character was under pressure, the accent got milder or disappeared altogether.
This is the opposite of what I’d expect: after a long political career in Washington DC, Frank Underwood’s “South Carolina” accent should be almost completely neutralized. But the longer he speaks at any given time, or the more strain that’s being put on him, the more evident his character’s roots should be.
I’m surprised at Kevin Spacey’s oversight on this matter.