#BostonStrong: Why This New York Transplant Will Always Be a Boston Gal

Hollywood loves Boston. 2007’s Best Picture winner was The Departed, after all. The cops were tough and didn’t take any crap from anybody.  During this past week, I have been visiting my parents in the Boston in suburb which I grew up. Never in a million years would I have thought that two bombings, 4 deaths, nearly 200 injuries, and massive manhunt would happen over the course of the week. It’s only a matter of time before Person of Interest, CSI, or even Boston native, Ben Affleck, condense these events into some sort of Hollywood epic.

However, there is a time and a place for everything. Honestly, it’s going to take time for healing to happen; both for the victims who lost their limbs and those who witnessed the horrific events. Even when we were stuck in our homes yesterday, with our eyes glued to various local news stations, it seemed like an out-of-body experience. It was as if we were watching something unfold as part of movies like this year’s Argo, or Ben Affleck’s other directorial effort, The Town. In fact, having SWAT teams and police officers go door to door in Watertown seemed as if it could have only been written by someone in Hollywood. It was as if Ed Harris’ character from The Truman Show were real and someone behind the scenes was calling the shots.

As we digest the past few days, and go forward into the next few weeks and months, we have to remember that this was in fact, real. Real lives were lost, real people became heroes. That’s one thing that Hollywood can’t duplicate. They will never be able to recreate the spirit of Boston residents, the sheer panic that we felt when it was happening, or the relief that we felt when it was all over . Some situations are best left alone and not tampered with by Hollywood. Allow us time to heal, grieve and yes, even be wicked pissed off that these horrific events have happened on our home turf. I may have moved to New York City six years ago, but my heart and my family are all in Boston. I will ALWAYS be a Boston gal. ALWAYS.  BOSTON STRONG FOREVER.

Hometown Pride: Boston Accents on Film

Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams in “The Fighter” (2010)

I’m a Boston gal at heart. When I moved to the Big Apple nearly 6 years ago, I retained something that could be considered a setback: my accent. I remember the first day of class at Circle in the Square Theatre School and the late K.C. Ligon telling me, “We need to work on that” upon hearing me speak. K.C. was a well-respected speech coach within the industry and I credit her and Ken Schatz with helping me ease up on my native dialect.  Fun Fact: K.C.’s mother was stage actress, Nora Dunfee, famous for her performance alongside Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump as the Elderly Southern Woman on the bench towards the end of the movie.

Being a Boston girl, I am always aware when actors can and cannot do a good “Boston Accent.” Most commonly, people think of the Boston accent as it is when done by Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, or Matt Damon. But, like any accent, there are certain subtleties that set different sections of Massachusetts apart from another in terms of dialects. Katharine Hepburn, for example, had what is known as a Boston Brahmin accent which is more refined and often considered more “upper-class” than my standard, Boston accent. All I need to do to retain my accent is talk to my parents and I automatically revert back to my natural tongue.

On film, it always helps when there are actual Boston natives involved on the screen or behind-the-scenes within the production if set within the Boston area. Amy Ryan is said to have refined her speech from Jill Quigg, a local whom Ben Affleck ended up casting alongside Ryan in Gone Baby Gone (2007.) Quigg went on to appear alongside Christian Bale and fellow Boston native Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter (2010.)

As a person with a native Boston accent, I can tell you right now, that the actors I have found to be the most convincing with the accent (in recent years) are as follows: Christian Bale (The Fighter) Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)  Blake Lively (The Town) Amy Adams & Melissa Leo  (The Fighter.) But, there are those who tend to go overboard with their dialect and it sort of  sounds like they are making fun of us.  Not cool. To illustrate how good these actors do their accents, here are some clips. None of them are natives. Although, in all of these movies, at least one or two native speakers are in the films with them. Also, my acting coach, Ken Schatz, has always said that I need to get rid of my “moshpit” in regards to how I speak. You’ll notice that oftentimes, for as much as we elongate our “A”s and drop our “R”s, we also tend to mumble sometimes. These actors seem to pull of that characteristic well.
Blake Lively (The Town):

Amy Adams & Christian Bale (The Fighter):

Melissa Leo (The Fighter) She is probably the most stereotypical in terms of how people perceive the accent :


Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone):

And for the record, we don’t all swear that much. Well…maybe we do.