The Sound of Dialogue

SunsetBoulevardfilmposter

I’m reading the screenplay for Sunset Boulevard by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and D. M. Marshman, Jr. and noticed something quite interesting. The dialogue for the protagonist Joe Gillis is pretty much the same pattern of dialogue for Frank Underwood in House of Cards. 

As I read Gillis’ lines I had a tough talking Hollywood detective-type voice in my head. After binge watching House of Cards I had Frank’s voice in my head and found the pattern of dialogue lined up perfectly. Perhaps Beau Willimon, the House of Cards showrunner, was influenced by Sunset Boulevard. I mean, who isn’t?

That got me thinking about how much actors bring to a role. You may have one voice in your head for your characters but others may have something completely different. It’s something to be aware of when writing characters as it may help in building much more relatable ones.

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