Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Does Daniel Day-Lewis Sound Like Lincoln? By Forrest Wickman | Posted Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, at 8:30 AM ET (SLATE)
When Steven Spielberg debuted the long-anticipated trailer for Lincoln last Thursday, all eyes were on Daniel Day-Lewis: Could the British-Irish actor really fill out the 16th president’s stovepipe hat?
But what really made headlines was Day-Lewis’ voice. Instead of the booming baritones we associate with our greatest orators (not to mention the most memorable Day-Lewis characters), Day-Lewis’s voice was surprisingly high, folksy, even meek. Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffrey Wells was quick to disapprove, complaining, “It’s hard to describe what I was looking to hear, but this isn’t it.” Cinema Blend ran a poll, asking “Do you think Daniel Day-Lewis’s Lincoln voice sounds weird?” Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon responded in his own way: by replacing Day-Lewis’ voice with the sound of Pee-wee Herman’s.
However, as some hastened to explain, historians have long known that Lincoln’s voice was a bit higher than those of his more thundering contemporaries. So we decided to turn to leading Lincoln expert Harold Holzer. (As Smithsonian magazine wrote, “If anyone had an educated guess as to how it sounded … it would be Holzer.”) How does Day-Lewis’ Lincoln sound to the trained ear of a scholar?
“Uncanny, convincing, and historically right,” Holzer told me. How so? Holzer pointed specifically to “the combined Kentucky-Hoosier twang” and, again, “the surprisingly high-pitched voice.” After all, as Holzer reaffirmed, “Lincoln didn’t growl—in fact some people said he whined!”
READ MORE: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/09/18/lincoln_s_voice_was_it_as_whiny_as_daniel_day_lewis_s_in_the_lincoln_trailer_.html