Actor Robert Pattinson explains how he settled on his divisive French accent in 2019’s The King. The King tells the tale of young Hal (Timothée Chalamet) as he is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. The film was released on Netflix in 2019 and was helmed by David Michod, who co-wrote The King along with Joel Edgerton. The film received critical and audience praise upon it’s release.
One of the more divisive elements of The King is Pattinson’s performance as the Dauphin. Pattinson appears in only about five minutes of the film, yet managed to raise the eyebrows of viewers who otherwise enjoyed it. He plays a character meant to be a somewhat dark antagonist for Hal, yet he decided to go a uniquely campy route with it. Pattinson injected the character with a strange sense of humor, which juxtaposes oddly with his morbid dialogue, and opted for a French accent that sounds at times like a parody. While many found his performance delightful and inspired, others have likened it to the depiction of French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
In a recent interview with GQ, Pattinson reveals that his accent in The King was a deliberate choice, rather than just his best attempt. He states that he was originally “trying to do it seriously” until he spoke to someone at Dior, after which he “started mimicking them and doing it in this funnier way.” Pattinson goes on to explain that he was initially doing it as a joke, however, after filming himself performing his lines in the accent, he thought “this actually kinda works.” See his full quote below:
I’d been trying to do it seriously, but then I was talking to someone at Dior and I started mimicking them and doing it in this funnier way. I started doing it as a joke at first, but then I filmed myself and watched it back, and thought this actually kinda works.
Pattinson has somewhat made a habit of putting funny spins on characters that wouldn’t typically be comedic since his role in The King. In Netflix’s The Devil All The Time, Pattinson plays a Southern preacher who seduces young parishioners, then proceeds to gaslight them. While this would not typically read as a character who could be funny in any way, Pattinson claims that he “thought that one was supposed to be a comedy.” Due to the extremely monstrous characters the film involves, Pattinson couldn’t believe it could be played straight.
Whatever viewers may think of Pattinson’s interpretations of his more outlandish characters, it can’t be denied that his performances are unique and memorable. This certainly works for the star, as his name still obviously draw audiences to theatres. It does make one wonder how Pattinson will have decided to interpret the Caped Crusader in his upcoming film, The Batman. However, when it comes to his performance in The King, fans will just have to watch the film on Netflix and draw their own conclusion.
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