Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Isabella Rossellini On Her Unique Accent & American TV - "Late Night With Conan O'Brien"

Difficulty: 0

Thanks very much for coming again.

You look fantastic. Oh thank you.

I've only said you're the most beautiful woman

in the world a few times. I heard that.

Is that difficult to hear over and over again?

Oh so difficult, I cannot tell you.


'Cause I can't stand it when I get it

but it's very, please, you know,

but no you do look fantastic. Thank you, thank you.

It's very nice to have you back here.

And you've got a movie out "The Innocent"?

Yes, yes, tomorrow, Friday.

We just saw this clip here and we heard you a little bit.

You're doing is that, you're doing a German accent?

German accent, yes.

This time I'm playing German.

Last time I played Hungarian.

When we were here, then I played Russian, French.

I got an accent,

so I have to camouflage it with other accents so-

So, is it hard?

Is it hard to do a German accent, was it?

Yes you know German accent was, you know why it was hard?

Because I think all of us,

when we want to do something cruel,

we go with the little accent

and we make a little Nazi immediately.

And that was the problem I had-

German accent equals cruel,

that's what you're saying? Exactly!

I know it's a stereotype and I know it's awful.

It kinda does though, I mean yeah.

It does, we do it always when we were kids.

So when I had to play this wonderful, warm woman from Berlin

a bit, you know, strange

but very warm and it took me so much, you know

to try to be warm and speak with that accent,

you know to try to do- Right, right.

'Cause it, 'cause when you speak German,

you sort of, you know, you want to be-

I get cruel, I get cruel. You wanna go into that.

You want to wear a monocle, you know you sort of-

Exactly, immediately and a fake arm

and cruelty, cruelty, you know?

(audience chuckling)

No it's awful, I shouldn't be saying it

because it's a stereotype. But stereotypes are fun.

All right now- (audience laughing)

Now they're wrong but they're fun.

Now, your accent is, tell us about your accent.

You've got this fantastic accent.

It is part French, is that correct?

I grew up in French and Italian, bilingual.

Because my mother lived in France

and my father lived in Italy, but my mother is Swedish.

So I learned English.

I actually learned English in Sweden

because everybody speaks English in Sweden.

You must have been a mess.

You really have a piece of these three accents?

Yes, yes but I don't speak English,

I don't speak Swedish very well.

You know, when I was a kid a little bit

but now I forgot it.

Though I learned it there,

so because sometime people say, oh, I can hear the Italian

but then you hear the Swedish.

Maybe the Swedish is because I've learned it there?

Well, it worked out very well.

I mean it, you know, it could have,

you could have combined all these different accents

and come out with something that sounded like lower Bronx

or something, you know, this worked out nicely.

You know, it's such a great voice.

I think people that, you know, I come from Boston

and I grew up just hating mine,

because everybody in Boston has this,

you know, sort of twang.

And I think American people just,

I think a lot of them, sometimes I hear-


I thought like in Boston

you had like an aristocratic accent, that's why-

Not where I was, no. Oh.

(audience laughing)

Oh, you got a twang. Not really no,

a lot of people talking about Carl Yastrzemski, you know?

It's not really that aristocratic

but, actually that does sound very nice.

But and go Yaz,

they used to say at Fenway Park.

You see?

You'd flee the country

if you heard someone talking like that, you'd get out.

Do you know how we do it in Europe

when we do an imitation of an American accent?

People, they don't open their mouth.

(Isabella mumbling)

Whenever you have to imitate an American,

that's how you go. (Isabella mumbling)

That's how it sounds to a foreigner.

That sounds like the teacher on Charlie Brown actually

doesn't it? (audience laughing)

It does! (audience clapping)

Well that's how it sounds to a foreigner.

Listen, hang on one second because

we wanna talk a little bit more about the movie

and a lot of other things too,

can you hang on for a minute? Yes.

We're gonna do a commercial.

We'll have more with Isabella Rossallini.

In the last segment actually, I brought up Charlie Brown.

How well do you know American TV?

Do you know American TV at all?

Well when I grew up in Italy and France

we saw "Rin Tin Tin" and-

[Conan] All the great American shows.

Really, "Rin Tin Tin"?

There was another one that nobody remembers, I loved it,

it was called "Gawky the Boy From the Circus"

a name like that, do you remember-

That's a huge hit here, yeah.

(audience laughing)

It was a huge hit in Europe.

Gorky the Boy From the Circus?

Is he okay, Gorky or is he kind of weird?

How is Gorky?

No, Gorky had an elephant and you know he ride,

I love that thing.

And then in America I would always say,

Oh Gorky, I would love to meet Gorky, where is Gorky?

And it wasn't a success here. (Conan chuckling)

And how would people respond?

Oh good, I'm in America.

And the first thing that comes to mind is Gorky.

I must see Gorky.

Did you ever watch the old Batman series?

Because Robin, Burt Ward, he's in the building

he's actually here and he's gonna be coming out.

Is he? Yeah.

But I've never seen his show.

You never saw that show? No.

Well, of course, 'cause you know, Gorky.

Who cares about Batman when you got Gorky?

Exactly. Right, that's a hoot.

Now when you see shows in Italy of course,

they put other voices on it.

Do you know that nobody had heard the voice

of Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, everything is looped.

But everything is looped all over the world.

Yeah, it's very strange

'cause when you're American and you're visiting,

it's very weird to see American TV because it sounds to us

like it's all the same voice, a very deep voiced guy.

Like, I remember watching the "Cosby Show"

and it was just this, you know,

I think I was in Spain or something

and he was just, "Hola, yo creo que was muy importante".

Tio, tio, tio, via tu casa.

I did a small part in an Italian movie

and the man that looped in Italian,

"Forrest Gump", got so many compliments

because it want so many Academy Awards.

You know, we were on the set

and people went and say, congratulations, you know?

And he said, thank you very much.

You know, he never met anybody probably.

But did he also, he probably gave it a really deep voice?

Yeah well probably, the people that loop-

Life is like a box of chocolates.

(audience laughing)

It all depends on what you get.

It's probably, it sounded like that, didn't it?

Oh well probably, they star looper there,

they loop all the actors you know, all the lead actors.

You know it's done by two or three guys

that are just, they excel at looping.

And they do the women too- (Conan whooping)

It's very cheap, they should spend more money on that.

You were actually, didn't you translate for a while?

You were translating weren't you?

Yes, well, I translate for my life you know,

because I've always, I'm always in Europe with somebody

who's American, doesn't speak the language-

(Isabella grumbling)

So, that's how I was a translator, I worked,

you know, before I was a model and then became an actress,

before all that, I worked for television doing a little bit,

this kind of shows.

And since I will sent all over the world-

So I can look forward to modeling after this?

Yes, that's what I'm saying.

(Isabella laughing) I can't wait.

So basically since I traveled everywhere

because they sent me there because I knew languages.

Then I always ended up translating

for the producer and the other people and helping.

So, I did a lot of translations in my life.

Yeah you've got a lot of experience with that.

And also you've been with Lancome now for?

I've been for Lancome for 14 years.

You've been the face of Lancome for 14 years>

That's really incredible. Yes it is.

Now sometimes, do you ever think about when you move on,

someone else is going to have to replace you?

That's intimidating. Yes!

When finished working together last January,

now they, you will see probably photo of mine

for about another year, year and a half

because the campaign was distributed in 140 countries

for 14 years so it takes them, it will take them

about a year and a half to clean up the market.

That's the technical word,

to pull all of my photos away from airplane,

airports, you know, wherever.

[Conan] That's not a nice term for it.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

But I would think it would be,

it's gonna be strange for you when you're done with it.

You've been doing this for 14 years.

You have been the face associated with all Lancome products.

Yes, yes.

When you move on and you know, Beatrice is in or whoever,

I don't know, someone, there's another face there.

And I hope it is Beatrice, she's very good.

When someone else is, is it gonna be strange for you

to look at that woman,

you think you'd be a little critical or?

You know- Her teeth are crooked.

Mine too. (audience laughing)

Yeah my broken one, don't talk about teeth.

How'd you break your tooth?

My brother broke it, he threw the telephone at me.

Where is he, I'll take care of it, what happened?

Is this a long, long time ago?

Yes, I was 11 and he threw a telephone at me.

Boom, it hit me.

He threw a telephone at you?

Yeah. You're kidding!

I thought it was gonna be something simple,

you know, fall on the playground or something like that.

He threw a phone at you?

Wow, any reason?

Were you asking for it or no?

No, he was, my girlfriends were calling

and he would pick up the phone and insult them.

(Conan laughing) So, I told him to stop

and we got into a fight- Kids everywhere are the same

that's terrific, all right.

Now, we have my brother, Luke and I once

through our brother Neil off the staircase in our house,

broke his wrist and yeah,

Actually, yeah, this is like a year ago.

(audience laughing)


We were, I was a kid!

People are happy about that, oh good,

now we known Conan is violent and deeply disturbed.

All right, well, the movie is, "The Innocent"

and it opens Friday. Yes.

And it's everywhere and people should go see it.

And it's really a thrill to have you back again.

Thank you very much for coming.

Thank you so much- (audience clapping)

Isabella Rossallini everybody,

we'll take a break and be right back-

The Description of Isabella Rossellini On Her Unique Accent & American TV - "Late Night With Conan O'Brien"