May 01, 2010

The Dialog Coach

i was unemployed in Moscow when a friend called: would I like to be the dialog coach on a movie being made in St. Petersburg? Well, I had sometimes wondered what a dialog coach actually does, now was my chance to find out.

The movie In Tranzit (2008) is based on a true story. At the end of WWII, there was a prison camp in Leningrad for Russian women (“enemies of the state,” “saboteurs,” etc.), run by female NKVD guards. One day, when they were expecting a new delivery of Russian women prisoners, they instead got a delivery of male German POWs. That’s the true bit. The rest of the film fictionally explores what “happened” while the German men were prisoners under the guard of Russian women.

The film is in English, with a British director, Tom Roberts, but the cast was international. The “Germans” were played by German, British and Russian actors. The “Russians” were played by American, Ukrainian, British, Dutch, Lithuanian, Irish and Russian actors and actresses. The range of accents was colossal and I was told to get the “Russians” to sound British and the “Germans” to sound, well, German.

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