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I've seen two examples of actors rehearsing a scene, but in different accents to their own.

In Shaun of the Dead Simon Pegg and Peter Serafinowicz pretend to be John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

And in Star Trek, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto rehearse in a German and Irish accent, respectively:

I imagine it's a way to let off steam or make a long day of filming entertaining, but is there a specific term for what's seen above?

For example, does the director say: "One more take, but this time let's do [term]", or is it more likely an idea that springs up on set?

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From the Merriam-Webster, the technical term would be:

Impersonation

to assume or act the character of

IMPERSONATE, PLAY, and ACT mean to pretend to be somebody else. IMPERSONATE is used when someone tries to look and sound like another person as much as possible. You're good at impersonating celebrities. PLAY is used when someone takes a part in a play, movie, or TV show. You can play the part of the spy. ACT may be used in situations other than performing in a drama or pretending to be a person. Act like you're a dog.

So the director could say "One more take, this time act as John Lennon" or "do it with a German accent". I'm not sure anyone would ask "impersonate a german", it's quite clear that do as means impersonate.

The term is more commonly used when referring to someone in the 3rd person, "he was a John Lennon impersonator".

Also from the same dictionary:

Impression

an imitation or representation of salient features in an artistic or theatrical medium
especially : an imitation in caricature of a noted personality as a form of theatrical entertainment

More sources: https://www.wikihow.com/Do-Impressions-of-Famous-People

  • Trying out a different accent is would not be considered equal to being another person, right? It can be a part of impersonation. – Ankit Kante Dec 3 at 7:16
  • @AnkitKante I don't understand the downvote, read my answer: "t's quite clear that do as means impersonate." So I did say doing accents is also impersonation. It's voice impersonation. – Luciano Dec 3 at 9:14
  • I just shared my opinion. I did not downvote your answer. – Ankit Kante Dec 3 at 9:22

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