Francie Brown ’82, a dialect coach for 29 years, recently worked with actress
Rosamund Pike in her Golden Globe-nominated role as journalist Maria Colvin in A Private War. The film relates Colvin’s career as a war correspondent and her death while covering the siege of Homs in Syria.
Brown worked with the actress to transform her British accent into Colvin’s raspy, Long Island-raised voice.
War photographer Paul Conroy worked with Colvin in Syria and told the Hollywood Reporter that when he visited the set he was amazed at Pike’s transformation. “Rosamund was gone, transformed into someone I had known and loved for many years, and
my reaction was intensely physical, the hairs on my arms and neck rose, the tears welled in my eyes. Every note in her gravelly voice, the cadence, the rhythm of her American drawl, brought Marie back to me in ways too intangible for mere words to
Brown graduated from IUP in 1982 with a degree from the Journalism and Public Relations Department and then attended the University
of California Irvine, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree and learned phonetics, the study of dialects, and the physiology of speech and vocal anatomy, which are extremely important in her career as a dialect coach.
Brown, whose coaching credits include Memoirs of a Geisha, The Fighter, American Hustle, and The
Blind Side, said she uses “a library of thousands of samples from various sources,” as well as gathering dialect samples through audio files on the Internet or by visiting the settings of the films.
Regarding her work with Pike in A Private War, Brown said, “I’m proud in every way to have been a part of this film.”