The Slap: articles

Actors Jonathan LaPaglia and Sophie Lowe in scene from forthcoming ABC-TV drama 'The Slap'.

Jonathan LaPaglia hires Aussie accent coach to iron out the Americanisms

HE HAS carved out a successful small-screen career in the US, but Anthony LaPaglia's little brother says he found himself ill-prepared to make his television debut on home soil — because he couldn't do an Australian accent.

After spending 17 years in the US appearing on shows such as Law and Order, The Sopranos and Bones, Jonathan LaPaglia ruefully admitted he had to hire a dialect coach to reclaim his Aussie twang for new ABC series The Slap.

"I am ashamed, it was weirdly tough. By the end of the day I'd be, like, 'I got it' — and then I'd wake up and be f– –g American again," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

Despite the unexpected accent challenges, LaPaglia said he was thrilled to be finally making his Aussie debut at the age of 42, when The Slap premiered on the ABC last Thursday with an impressive audience of 946,000, making it the fifth-most watched program.

LaPaglia, who plays Hector in the series — about the breakdown of a group of friends after one of them slaps another's child for misbehaving at a barbecue — said he was long overdue for a local gig.

"I kind of did things ass backwards. I wasn't really established as an actor in Australia and most actors establish themselves there and then come to America," he said.

"Five years ago I started thinking about working back in Australia. I'm like most actors, lazy, so I didn't do anything about it and then a couple of years ago I got approached by an agent and we hooked up and [The Slap] came together."

The younger LaPaglia turned to acting after becoming disillusioned with medicine and credits his sibling with providing the motivation to change careers.

"I spent a couple of years working in the emergency room," he said.

"It was halfway through medicine I started to get disillusioned and wanted a creative outlet… my brother was definitely an influence."

By Richard Clune
October 09, 2011
The Sunday Telegraph