In Martin Scorsese's "Hugo", why did all the characters have English accents if the story is set in Paris, France? Wouldn't the characters have French accents?

  • 2
    In college I had a roommate who was born and raised in France, then moved to Canada for school. She spoke English with a British accent, because (according to her) that's how the majority of English language teachers in France speak.
    – Steve-O
    Jan 16, 2019 at 14:37
  • And honestly, having visited Paris multiple times, I can say that LOTS of British-accented people live/work/visit there. French may be dominant, but it doens't mean EVERYONE speaks with a French accent. Many are good at "flexing" or "changing" their accent to sound different too. Jan 18, 2019 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


Why should they have an accent?

By your own logic, they should be speaking French, since that is what Parisian's would commonly speak amongst themselves.

However, translation convention and the fact that the movie is produced by an English speaking production company and targeted at English speaking audiences, the characters speak English.

As for accents - some movies do have the characters speak with accents influenced by their setting, but not all movies do. The problem comes when actors can't properly affect the accent and it can come across as a ridiculous pastiche. Hugo is played by a young English actor who, while quite talented, may not be up to the task of a good French accent.

So, to keep things consistent, get all the characters speaking with English accents.

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