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Why Keira Knightley wasn’t allowed to do a Boston accent for ‘Boston Strangler’

Co-stars Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon had a strict veto about using a Boston accent — in a film set in Boston.

Co-stars Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon had a strict veto about using a Boston accent — in a film set in Boston.
Stefanie KeenanGetty Images for ELLE Magazine

Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon, co-stars in the film ‘Boston Strangler’, weren’t allowed to use the distinct Boston accent for their roles. Instead, they were instructed to put on a generic American accent.

‘Boston Strangler’, written and directed by Matt Ruskin, is based on the true story of two female reporters who helped solve a murder mystery related to a string of lethal attacks in Boston between 1962 and 1964, where 13 women were killed.

Knightley leads the cast as the first journalist on the case, Loretta McLaughlin, while Jean Cole, played by Coon, soon joins in to back her up.

‘Boston Strangler’ will be released on Hulu on March 17.

The Boston accent veto

While at the movie’s premiere in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art, the 37-year-old actress said she and Coon weren’t allowed to speak in the famous Boston accent because people are very opinionated about how the distinct regional accent sounds.

“I found out, people are very opinionated about that accent. There’s a lot around it,” said Knightley.

“We did ‘standard American.’ That is all we were allowed. Luckily, it’s written in a Boston rhythm so you get the idea of Boston, but there is no Boston accent for me.”

Who asked they avoid the accent

British-born Knightley and America- born Coon, who was raised in Ohio, were disappointed they wouldn’t have a chance to delve into the challenge of developing the Boston tone of voice.

Coon said that because Ruskin was from Boston himself, he didn’t think it was appropriate for non-Bostonians to speak like a Bostonian.

“Matt Ruskin, our writer/director, is from Boston and very insistent that anybody who is not from Boston was not going to be doing an accent, because he claims he’s from Boston and he doesn’t have an accent,” Coon explained.

“But he does,” she laughed.

Knightley chimed in light-heartedly that though the cast was disappointed about the accents, they submitted to their lovable leader.

“All of the actors were very disappointed,” the ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ star revealed. “We all tried to talk Matt Ruskin, our lovely writer/director, into letting us do the Boston accent, and he was like, ‘Absolutely not.’”

“So we failed, but I kind of hear him, because as I found out, people are very opinionated about that accent.”


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