Aussie actress nails accents, Queen's English

After watching Abbie Cornish in “Bright Star,” in which she plays proper British gal Fanny Brawne, and in the previous “Stop Loss” and “A Good Year,” in which she portrays a Texan and a Napa Valley oenophile, respectively, it’s almost startling to hear the 27-year-old actress speak in her native Australian accent.

“The sound of the character and the way they express themselves through what is our only musical instrument — this thing we carry with us every day — is so important to what we do as actors,” Cornish says. “I can’t be Fanny Brawne without her voice; I can’t be Michelle from ‘Stop-Loss’ without (lapses into a drawl) goin’ into this. And I kind of like that reminder.”

Cornish’s chameleonic gifts have not gone unnoticed by the critics, but with her turn in “Bright Star,” in which she plays the real-life love interest of poet John Keats, the reviews have been uniformly rhapsodic. And while she found precious little documentation about Brawne to help anchor her character, she found whatever inspiration she needed in Keats’ verse.

“His poems were the biggest insight into something that was a bit more eternal,” she says, “where it said a million things in one line. I utilized his poems to always bring me back whenever I was doubting anything or questioning anything.”

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