The creative team behind Chernobyl has explained why the cast never spoke with Russian accents.
Series director Johan Renck and creator Craig Mazin said they think it is “tremendously stupid” and detailed why they let their actors keep their own accents.
“Accents in film is tremendously stupid,” Renck explained on a recent BAFTA panel. “It is not a hard question, it is ridiculous. Are we supposed to feel they are more Russian because they are speaking bad English? No.”
Mazin added: “The people that are most pleased about our choice with the accents are Russian speakers, I didn’t hear a complaint. (They say) ‘That is not how we talk, stop doing that’.
“And also, the Soviet Union was a collection of many countries and countless amounts of ethnicities. So what we said to our cast was, take your accent that you normally have, whatever it is. If it is really strong, take the edge off of it, so it doesn’t seem like you are forcing the accent.”
On specific actors, Mazin explained what went into the preparation for Stellan Skarsgard’s character. “Swedish English sounds very American, not British so we said, ‘You sound too American, just pretend you are not good at speaking English, more of a Swedish accent.’”
He continued: “That is how we proceeded and why we have people who sound like they’re Danish and Swedish and all varying kinds of British and Irish, because that’s how we just approached it, it is multicultural as the Soviet Union was.”