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Cool Runnings’ director Jon Turteltaub feared people wouldn’t understand Jamaican accents

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Cool Runnings director worried audiences 'wouldn't understand' cast's accents

Jon Turteltaub worried viewers would struggle to understand the accents of the cast (Picture: Picture Perfect/REX)

The director of Cool Runnings tried to get the cast to tone down their accents after worrying viewers might not be able to understand them.

Jon Turteltaub, 57, helmed the 1993 hit, which was loosely based on the true story of the Jamaican national bobsleigh team’s debut during the 1988 Winter Olympics.

The film starred John Candy along with Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle Lewis and Malik Yoba, but bosses were worried the Jamaican accents would be difficult for viewers to understand.

Jon told The Guardian: ‘The lead actors had such perfect Jamaican accents that there was a fear non-Jamaicans wouldn’t understand them. Jeffrey Katzenberg, then chairman of Walt Disney Studios, was getting very frustrated.’

He revealed that he had a rather unique way of asking the cast to lessen their accents, adding: ‘I began to worry he’d fire me if I couldn’t get them to speak the way Sebastian the crab did in The Little Mermaid.

‘But instead of coming up with some fancy, directorial reason why they should lessen the accent while representing the dignity of their Caribbean heritage, I just mumbled: “I’m going to get fired if you don’t sound like Sebastian”. They laughed and saved my job.’

Cool Runnings director worried audiences 'wouldn't understand' cast's accents

The film became a hit (Picture: Walt Disney )

The film ended up grossing $155million (£120million) at the worldwide box office and was distributed all over the world.

Along with the international releases came some variations on the title depending on the country, which Jon found hilarious.

He added: ‘The movie had some great titles as it travelled the world. It was released as Cold Buttock’ in Norway, and Rasta Rockett in Sweden.

‘My favourite was the Italian translation: Four Below Zero, or Quattro Sottozero.’

The film was also well received in Jamaica, something which the director is hugely proud of.

Jon explained: ‘It meant so much to me that the film was loved in Jamaica. I felt I had given the people there something to be really proud of, and laugh about at the same time.’

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Credit: Original article published here.

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