It’s been a month or two since my last Top 5, so I thought I’d have a bit of fun. Obviously, we all know that film is a very visual art form, and even if you take away the explosions and special effects we have countless pretty actors to gaze at. But what about if looks wasn’t an issue and like the old days of radio, people were hired for the sound of their voice? Who’d be top dog? Here’s my thought’s on who’s got the best voice in modern cinema.
5. Christopher Walken
The oldest member of this list, Walken has been in the game for over 35 years, becoming one of the most recognisable faces in Hollywood. But it’s not his face I’m bothered about. The fact is, Christopher Walken has been blessed with one of the most interesting voices in cinema history. What’s strange about it however is that it’s not necessarily his speaking voice that grabs you – although that is still pretty great – it’s the rhythm of his voice that’s key. Its the unique way he delivers a line, more than a tad peculiar with shifts in speed and pitch, is the element that keeps him the enigmatic character he is.
A favourite subject for impersonation by other actors including Kevin Pollack, Kevin Spacey and Jay Mohr, Walken’s voice may be the butt of a few jokes although, to me, he’s still the badass in True Romance who hadn’t killed a man since 1984.
4. Kathleen Turner
I honestly think Kathleen Turner has the unfortunate thing of being born 40 years too late. If she was in her 20s at the height of noir she would have been the perfect femme fatale. Stunningly beautiful in her youth, her long flowing blonde hair cascading down her back, and then, THAT voice. Deep, comforting and with a slight tinge of masculinity that didn’t affect its inherent sexiness. You can see her in a black dress at some bar, cigarette in hand, as someone like Robert Mitchum tries to smooth-talk her.
Of course, she did get her chance – although only in animation – as Jessica Rabbit in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, giving men around the world the strange feeling of lusting over a cartoon with that famous line ‘I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way’.
3. Matthew McConaughey
2012 has been McConaughey’s year, a sort of homecoming to the Hollywood elite and I’m sure, if he ever reads this, he’ll agree that being no.3 on this list is his greatest achievement to date. Texan born and bred, McConaughey’s southern charm is soothing enough to make any female weak at the knees. But the fact that this year he’s been given some greats roles, and even better words, to play with, that Texas drawl has never sounded sweeter. Also, the way he sometimes whistles the beginnings of words that start with ‘s’ just adds to his overall homely quality.
The opening monologue of Magic Mike is the perfect example of this, perfectly written for him and just as aptly performed. I can’t wait to see what role the man tackles next.
2. Christian Slater
I don’t know what quality it is about Christian Slater, but he’s always been an actor that I’ve loved. His voice has long been something I’ve noticed about him. It’s gravelly and raspy but still silky, which makes it so easy for the actor to play either end of vulnerable and insane with ease. Actually, let’s just boil it down to this simple thing – Christian Slater is fucking cool and you know it.
1. Werner Herzog
There was only ever going to be one person crowned ‘The Best Voice’ and of course, it’s Werner Herzog. Anybody who has heard the director narrate one of his documentaries knows exactly what I’m talking about. Like a warm drop water trickling down your spine, Herzog’s German accent creates a warm and relaxing sensation. With English being his second language, the effort he puts into the pronunciation of some words makes them sound better than anyone who’s been speaking the language all their lives.
There’s a hypnotic quality to his voice that almost indescribable, but it adds an incredible about of gravitas to anything he’s speaking about. Which is normally something deep and meaningful although I’m sure he’d make even the most mundane subject gripping.
There you have it. Werner Herzog – King of the Voices!