I made a very deliberate decision to avoid Russian accents because I want the audience to forget that these are Soviet sailorsand simply see them as human beings under tremendous pressure. Both Americans and Soviets were indoctrinated with fear in order to objectify one another. Part of the reason for this was to control and achieve a predictable, dependable outcome which was: When the order was given, you pushed the button that would trigger the end of the world.
It wouldn't be Washington or the Kremlin that would have pushed it -- it would have been ordinary men with families who had everything to lose. Saving the people you love most dearly is an instinct almost impossible to breach. Propaganda, indoctrination, believing a story is true, might just make it psychologically possible to justify your actions.
This is one of the questions at the center of the film. That's what I want the audience to understand. These are ordinary men faced with unthinkable choices with a flawed, manipulated premise (or at a minimum, misunderstanding) informing their decisions.
The intent is for the audience to forget that the characters are Russian so they might project themselves into the story on a personal level, enhancing the stakes, tension, and enjoyment of the story. The actors and I have designed the conversation to be about thesubstance. We didn't want the characters to be dismissed or stigmatized because they have funny accents. We want the audience to participate in the experience rather than bethan be separated from it by something that might feel superficial.
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