When audiences think about actorly transformations, their first thoughts are often of weight lost or gained, hair grown or sheared, and mannerisms shed or adopted. But even if their silhouette doesn’t quite match a level of physical deterioration commensurate with their character’s malady, or their demeanor isn’t quite befitting of, say, an 18th century courtesan, an actor’s voice can be tremendously persuasive in convincing viewers that they are believably inhabiting a specific time or place.
“It all starts with the voice,” says Bradley Cooper
, whose gruff delivery as Jackson Maine in “A Star Is Born
” has earned him multiple lead actor nominations from critics groups across the globe. “That’s your way in because you can hear yourself as you’re talking, and it’s the best way to believe an imaginary circumstance.”
Actors often prepare exhaustively to learn and approximate the speaking rhythms of a specific time period,