Watch: Brian Tyree Henry shares how he nailed his cockney accent for Bullet Train
Though David Leitch’s new movie Bullet Train (in cinemas 3 August) is a stylistic, heightened action thriller, for American actor Brian Tyree Henry there was a commitment to authenticity he wanted to honour.
His character Lemon is from the East End of London, and is the brother of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Tangerine. When speaking to Yahoo, alongside his on-screen sibling, Henry said he used his co-star as a guide when it came to perfecting the tricky cockney accent.
“I listened to him, a lot. I was following his lead,” Henry said.
“There was a brilliant dialect coach for me named Jamison Bryant, she was really great. I trained for a while. I really wanted to get this one right, to make sure he felt authentic. I wanted people to be confused about it, and whether I was English or actually American, and I hope it came off that way.
“I don’t wanna fight anyone in the UK on the street for them coming after my accent, so I tried to do the work.”
In Bullet Train, Lemon and Tangerine are two assassins on the trail of Brad Pitt’s Ladybug, a seasoned but unlucky hitman who has been sent to retrieve a briefcase from a train in Japan.
Read more: Brad Pitt shares love of UK reality show
Dialect coach Bryant was evidently busy on this production, as she was also assigned to LA-born actor Joey King, who plays the character ‘Prince’ in the production.
Watch a trailer for Bullet Train
“Me and my coach Jamison Bryant, who is amazing, presented three different accents to David and he chose the one that he wanted for the movie,” King told Yahoo. Though as she explained, not all words came to her easily.
“How I helped prepare myself was to read the entire script out loud, including stage directions and everything, to my fiancé, as an exercise for myself, and one word that I could not pronounce for the longest time was ‘interior’.
“It’s between every scene, and every time it came up, I didn’t know how to say the word.”
Thankfully for King, it’s not an actual word she had to say while filming, and likewise for Henry, that tongue-twister didn’t see the light of day.
Bullet Train pulls into UK cinemas from 3 August. Watch a clip below.