"Read Between The Lines: I Will Take Your Head Off Your Shoulders"
KD: You really do have the accent down. Did you do any kind of training to prepare for The Wire?
CA: I should say thank you. I grew up mimicking accents; I never had any dialect coaching or classes. I had a couple of private sessions with a guy to help neutralize my accent if I need to. So changing my "win" to "when" and my "Whinsdays" to "Wednesdays" is as far as we went. I never had any coaching with it. I have no idea where I picked that up.
KD: So you had no basis? Did you hear it in your head or watch old movies or what? How did you know how to do a Russian accent?
CA: I had it in my head. I many have rented a movie with a Russian accent the more I think about it. I haven't thought about it in a long time, and I've been asked that so many times. Maybe I did rent a movie with Harrison Ford, thought I don't think the accent was very good.
KD: If you're taking about The Hunt for Red October, you're right. The accent was not very good. ["In fact, it was non-existent. That was Sean Connery doing a bad Russian accent; Harrison Ford's was in K-19: The Widowmaker." -- KD]
CA: I had it in my head somewhere: maybe I heard it in New York. In the ears of American audiences, all the accents are going to be similar -- Armenian, Russian.... To actual Russian audiences, some of them thought I was Russian, which is the biggest compliment I can receive.
KD: So how were you cast?
CA: I was cast in 2003. I had spent four years going back and forth to DC and Baltimore for projects, and that's how I met Pat Moran. I was working on The Replacements, the Keanu Reeves movie. I played one of his teammates. I didn't have any lines -- I was cut from the film -- but some of the people who had been there for a few months were going to go to her office. I had never heard of her. They asked me if I would like to go, too, and I went. It was the most worthwhile experience. I was tired, but someone said I should go, and I went and introduced myself. When the time came to do The Wire, she remembered that my résumé said I could do accents, and she gave me a call.