It might surprise some fans to learn that star Julia Schlaepfer is not actually British. The 27-year-old actor hails from Bellevue, Washington, and she hadn’t even seen when she first auditioned for the prequel series.
“My parents loved and . I have never seen either of them, and they would pester me and my brothers to watch all the time,” Schlaepfer joked to Deadline while explaining how she was cast in .
“I got the audition, read the script, and just fell in love with the story and character, of course,” the actor continued. “When I got a callback, Taylor Sheridan flew me out to Jackson Hole to screen test. I read with Taylor as Spencer for the role. By the end of the audition, we were all crying in the audition room together.” The next morning, Shclapefer found out that she had landed the role.
When Spencer Dutton first meets Alexandra, she is engaged to another man. Alex comes from a wealthy British family, and though her fiancé is kind, their future marriage isn’t much more than a business transaction. Alex fears her days of adventure are over, prompting her to run away with Spencer Dutton.
Alex’s proper way of speaking contrasts sharply with Spencer’s speech. Julia Schlaepfer auditioned for using a British accent, so she knew right away that it would be a requirement for the role. “I studied accents at NYU, so I had a base level of an accent going on,” the actor told Deadline.
However, Schlaepfer also had to refine her accent to match the decade, as well as her character’s posh upbringing. “They got me this amazing dialect coach who helped me specify it to the 1920s royalty that she is,” Schlaepfer continued. “I was doing a modern British accent when I went in for my audition. We honed it into this Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth-type of accent.”
Julia Schlaepfer isn’t the only actor to adopt a different accent for . Dame Helen Mirren plays Cara Dutton, an Irish immigrant and the wife of Jacob Dutton. Mirren is originally from London, but it was important to her that she adopts an Irish accent for the series.
“One of the things I very strongly wanted was that she would speak with an Irish accent, not with an American accent,” the actor told Vanity Fair. “It’s always slightly annoyed me with Westerns that you have all these people speaking with modern American accents when in fact, so many of them were fairly recent immigrants.”