Keira Knightley Was Banned From Doing A Boston Accent In New Boston-Set Movie

Keira Knightley says she was banned from doing a Boston accent on the set of Boston Strangler. Hulu’s new true crime thriller may be based on the case of the real life Boston Strangler, but the movie focuses less on the killer and more on the two female journalists who broke the story. Knightley plays reporter Loretta McLaughlin, who teams with Carrie Coon’s Jean Cole to tirelessly follow the Strangler case, even in the face of sexism and corruption.


Though Boston Strangler is based on a real-life serial killer story, there’s one detail that was left purposely unrealistic when the film was being shot. As Knightley revealed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Boston Strangler director Matt Ruskin expressly forbade her and her co-stars from trying to do a Boston accent, despite the movie being set in Boston. Check out what Knightley had to say in the space below:

I wanted to do the Boston accent. The director is from Boston. If you weren’t from the street that the character was from in Boston, you were not allowed to do the Boston accent. So every single actor went in going “Boston accent! It’s our time!” But no, we were not allowed. So it’s a standard American accent.

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The Boston Accent Has Defeated A Lot of Very Good Actors

Many critically acclaimed actors have tried to nail the Boston accent in movies and on television, and many have failed. Some particularly notorious examples of bad Boston accents include Julianne Moore on 30 Rock, Tom Hanks in Catch Me if You Can, Kevin Costner in Thirteen Days, Blake Lively in The Town, Diane Lane in The Perfect Storm, Mel Gibson in Edge of Darkness and Michelle Williams in Shutter Island. If there’s one film that best exemplifies everything that can go wrong with the Boston accent, it’s Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which saw Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin and Jack Nicholson all grappling with the accent and all falling short.

Given how brutal Boston residents can be when actors try and fail to do their specific regional accent, it’s probably wise that Boston Strangler director Ruskin elected to avoid the problem altogether. For her part, Knightley seems disappointed that she didn’t get to try her hand on arguably the most perilous of all accents. Despite the lack of authenticity in how its characters speak, Boston Strangler promises a gripping story that takes an unconventional angle on one of America’s most notorious serial killer cases.

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Source: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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