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ohvaI have tons of friends. They're just all online.
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With Vikings set to return Thursday, February 27, at 10/9c,
we check in with dialogue coach Poll Moussoulides to discuss the art of
perfecting what the Norse raiders would have sounded like.
Question: How did you get involved with working on Vikings?
Poll Moussoulides: I’ve been a voice and dialogue coach for 25 years
and have worked on over 52 feature films and TV series, some previously
with the producers of Vikings. So, I was delighted to be invited to take
responsibility for the actors’ vocal performances.
Q: No one knows what the Vikings actually sounded like. How did you decide what accent to go with?
PM: We know from many sources that Icelandic is the closest existing
language we have to Old Norse. There are some similarities to
contemporary Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, but not as many as you’d
think. For a show that will be watched all over the world we had to find
a balance that ensures as much authenticity as possible, but without
losing vocal clarity for an English speaking global audience.
Q: How did you manage to coordinate the accent with so many actors from so many different countries?
PM: One of the biggest mistakes when teaching an accent to a group of
performers is to assume that everyone must sound exactly the same.
There is no one singular American, German or Irish accent so why would
Vikings from different regions and backgrounds sound the same? I chose
several vowel and consonant sounds that give a solid foundation to the
accent, and then worked with principal cast to help them find their own
character’s voice around these sounds. It is vital to be respectful to
each actor’s creative process and I do whatever it takes to help them
achieve a vocal performance that doesn’t interfere with the
believability of the character that audiences see and hear on screen.
Q: Occasionally, characters speak in Old Norse or Anglo-Saxon,
what is the process for ensuring that the actors speak these ancient
PM: We are fortunate to have two leading experts–historian Justin
Pollard and ancient language specialist Erika Sigurdson who provide us
with the Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon translations. I then coach the actors
as far ahead of shooting as possible. It’s a lot of fun and adds to the
historical precision of the series.
Q: Typically, we associate deep voices with leadership, but
Ragnar’s voice has a higher pitch to it. Was this decision made to make
Ragnar stand out more or is it just the combination of Travis’ native
Australian and Old Norse accent?
PM: Actually it’s none of these. I believe that Travis has made some
really intelligent choices with his voice to reflect the complexity of
Ragnar’s character. Audiences are mesmerized by Ragnar because he always
keeps you guessing. Just when you think you know how he will react, he
surprises us with an alternate decision. Travis and Michael Hirst have
created a character that is curious, playful, cunning, loving and
ruthlessly violent, yet always believable and engaging. When an actor
inhabits their lines with a congruence of vocality and physicality that
enhances our viewing experience, it is hard not to be impressed. It has
been a joy for me to work with Travis and observe how he has
wholeheartedly invested so much thought and skill into bringing Ragnar
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purpleshadow wrote:And this is what appeared on my Facebook. Are they out of their minds???
Viking Facebook Page
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