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When Julia Garner went out for the “Ozark” role of 19-year-old Ruth Langmore — a no-nonsense local girl who gets mixed up with newcomer and money launderer Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) — the actress had a secret weapon at the ready. She had just used a Missouri accent for her role in the film “Tomato Red” and decided to dust it off to read for the Netflix crime drama. Once she arrived for the audition, however, she had second thoughts.
“When you go to a New York casting office, a lot of them are really tiny, so you can hear the other people that are reading their lines. And I remember there were other people [auditioning] with no accent,” Garner said in an interview with IndieWire. “And I’m like, ‘Oh my god, no one’s having an accent.’ I couldn’t do the lines without the accent because I was so used to doing the accent already. I was like, ‘I’m not going to get the job. Everyone’s doing a regular accent.’ I guess it ended up working.”
Emmys - Consideration - Screening - Panel - Saturday
At an Emmys For Your Consideration screening and panel on Saturday, Garner revealed that once she landed the part, she made sure that sounding like Ruth would become effortless. “I wanted to sound authentic, so a month before doing ‘Ozark,’ I would only speak in the accent,” she said. “I would walk around everywhere [using the accent]. I’d order my food with the accent. You kind of get a sense of the character [that way].”
Once Garner opened her mouth, Bateman — who executive produces, directs, and stars in “Ozark” — knew Ruth was destined to be a breakout character. He said, “As soon as Julia started, we were like, ‘Oh, this is going to be a much bigger character than was even in the [show] bible.’”
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