The Wire
The Chris Ashworth Interview

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"Read Between The Lines: I Will Take Your Head Off Your Shoulders"
KD: Let's get back to The Wire: when did they find out that you weren't actually Russian? CA: I was way beyond cast. Some people knew it from the outset, but...I don't remember how long David Simon thought I was Russian.... KD: And a lot of your fans still think you're Russian, right? CA: All the time. At Sundance, it was overwhelming. I mean, I'm all about Southern accents and hospitality, and if you were to describe [the fans who approach me], it's just one word and that's warm. And I think I speak and it's kind of like shell shock: Sergei's so violent and so cold. I try to spend time talking to whomever. It's such an honor and privilege for people to give input on The Wire. It flatters me and keeps me going; it's the gas that fuels my fire. Even if it's bad feedback. [laughs] I mean, I haven't had any, but if anybody's got any... At the Nexflix party at Sundance, I was waiting for my friend to come out of the bathroom, and this guy was just standing across from me, staring at me. I didn't know what he was thinking about or what his motives were, and finally I went over him and said, "Hi, I'm Chris Ashworth." He said, "I know, and it's a huge pleasure to meet you. My family is Russian and I have to tell you that I believed you were Russian and I'm not easily fooled." Turns out he was a producer working on a film in Chicago and asked me about playing a Polish character. He asked me if I could do it, because the accents are similar, and I said I could. I have to alter some things, but that was great, and that was a great idea that may actually take me somewhere, by fooling someone into thinking I was Russian. 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.

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The Wire

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