Anyone watching the new ITVX drama Litvinenko will hear something very strange. Something very disturbing: David Tennant’s Russian accent.
In the show, Tennant plays Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy who claimed his murder (by a poisoned green tea in a London hotel) was ordered by Vladimir Putin in 2006.
Litvinenko’s death sparked an investigation into a chemical weapons attack in the British capital and a decade-long investigation between Britain and Russia to seek justice for his killing.
With this role, Tennant joins the long list of actors we’ve seen playing international characters while speaking English with different accents. For some reason, TV and film makers still don’t believe that viewers can break the 2.5 cm barrier of subtitles parasite Director Bong Joon-ho put it so perfectly.
But when Jared Leto’s Italian accent comes into play House Gucci wasn’t surreal enough, then Tennant’s new vocals make this show worth checking out.
People on social media have said they were “blown away” by the accent. The guard‘s Joel Goelby wrote: “He only plays José Mourinho’s voice.”
I have no idea if the accent is any good or not — Litvinenko’s real-life wife Marina gave it her seal of approval — but what I do know is that the actor’s Scottish accent draws numerous surprise appearances. And any good accent coach would give you a slap on the hand for that. There’s one particularly gratifying moment when Tennant tries to use the name of a KGB expert, Mario Scaramella, without sounding like he’s from around Glasgow.
I have to applaud Tennant for actually choosing that accent, but unfortunately for me the overall effect is that it completely distracts from one of the most shocking stories of our time.
Read The Independent‘s review of the series here and our interview with Margarita Levieva, who plays Marina, here.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/david-tennant-russian-accent-litvinenko-b2246476.html David Tennant’s Russian accent in Litvinenko is… something special