"STATELESS": Co-produced/created by Cate Blanchett
Part of my job as the Dialect Coach was coaching Yvonne Strahovski for her leading role as Sofie Werner. Yvonne and I have known each other for 20 years since I was her dialect tutor at drama school so it was an utter joy to work together again.
CHARACTER & DIALECT BACKGROUND
As some background, "Stateless" is based on true stories and Yvonne's character Sofie is inspired by the real-life story of Cornelia Rau. Rau was a German-born citizen and permanent Australian resident from early childhood who suffered with a mental illness. Her story came to the public eye when it was discovered she had been unlawfully detained in a detention centre after discharging herself from an Australian hospital and identifying herself as a German tourist who had lost her passport.
The role of Sofie echoes that story, showing her trying to escape from her struggles with mental health by running away from family, work pressures and the traumas of a cult she became involved with. Sofie is stopped for questioning and passes herself off as a German backpacker named Eva Hoffman who has lost her passport.
In pre-production, we had access to watch an investigation documentary into the detention centre system which featured footage of Rau. Her accent was inconsistent and went in and out of her 'put on German accent' and her real Australian voice, particularly when she became emotional and distressed.
Several people have asked me about Sofie/Eva's accent so this post is to help clarify those interests.
I hope this helps to clarify Yvonne’s dialect as Eva for those curious about it. It was designed both in coaching and performance to echo Sofie Werner’s true state ... that of an Australian woman with a mental illness who has German parents but does not speak the language fluently so her Australian vocal traits creep in when emotional or distressed. These echo the story and footage of Cornelia Rau.
J E N N I F E R W H I T E
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Dialect & Voice Coach