Last Friday, the new Netflix original movie The Devil All The Time dropped, based off the same-named book by Donald Ray Pollock (who also served as the movie’s narrator). Among the movie’s cast is Robert Pattinson, who plays Preston Teagardin, a detestable Southern pastor. So naturally rather than using his natural British accent, Pattinson decided to deliver his own take on a Southern accent, and well… let’s just say the internet had some thoughts about it.
As it turns out though, Robert Pattinson didn’t even share how his accent would sound to The Devil All The Time’s cast and crew, including director Antonio Campos, until his very first day of shooting, in a scene where Preston Teagardin seduces Lenora Laferty, the adopted step-sister of Tom Holland’s Arvin Russell. As Campos put it:
That was the first time I heard his voice and saw the character in person.
While speaking with Insider, Antonio Campos explained how as production neared on The Devil All The Time, the other actors had sent him recordings on the voices they were working on with dialect coaches. Not only did Pattinson not send his own recording, but he didn’t even work with a dialect coach, as he was “adamant about figuring it out on his own.” All Campos knew was that Pattinson wouldn’t sound like his usual British self, and when the filmmaker asked the actor how the accent work was coming along, the latter was quite vague.
However, Antonio Camps also clarified in the interview that he wasn’t worried about how Robert Pattinson would sound in The Devil All The Time, saying he doesn’t “get worried about those things.” The director continued:
There was no way in my mind that he wasn't going to come on set with something bad. I might not have dug it, but it wasn't going to be bad. I'd rather have someone come with something weird that's a choice than something that isn't thought out. So I knew he would come with something interesting.
As far as the general public is concerned, reaction towards Robert Pattinson’s accent in The Devil All The Time is decidedly mixed, with some feeling he didn’t deliver the goods, while others feel that Pattinson’s performance is among the movie’s highlights. One thing is certain: the way Preston Teagardin speaks grabs one’s attention, just like when Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc spoke in Knives Out.
Of course, Robert Pattinson is no stranger to unusual accents, having donned one for another Netflix movie he did, The King. Throw in all the different types of movies he’s performed in over the years, from major fare like Twilight and Tenet, to smaller projects like Good Time and The Lighthouse, and Pattinson definitely doesn’t come across as an actor who likes to play it safe.
Now that The Devil All The Time is out, the next time we’ll see Robert Pattinson is in The Batman, which swoops into theaters on October 1, 2021, and sees him speaking like an America. The DC movie’s first trailer didn’t include much dialogue from Pattinson, but going off what little we heard, it doesn’t sound like he’ll sound anywhere near as kooky as he did in his latest cinematic offering.