Hayley Atwell on "Murdering" an American Accent in "Conviction"

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/John MedlandHayley Atwell is the star of a new ABC drama Conviction.

The British actress plays an American lawyer and former first daughter who’s railroaded into taking a job with a Conviction Integrity Unit after she’s busted for cocaine possession.

Her character, Hayes Morrison, is intelligent and brassy, but unlike Peggy Carter — the character Atwell played in ABC’s Agent Carter and several Marvel films — the attorney she plays in Conviction is American, meaning the actress, whose father is from the U.S., had to ditch her native accent. 

It wasn’t a problem, she recalled to ABC Radio — except for one word.

“‘Murderer,” Atwell reveals.  “Because that’s three Rs very close together. And we say ‘ahr’ and your say ‘arr.’ So, it’s very rounded. And unfortunately doing a legal procedural, you know you’re going to have to say it at least once per episode. So it kept on coming out to me as ‘Murdrrderrerr. Murdrrderrerr.’ I felt like I was a Muppet,” she said before replacing “Mahna Mahna” with “Murdrrderrerr” in the catchySesame Street song.

“It was really hard,” the actress laughed. “And quite embarrassing.”

Speaking of Peggy Carter, the character is so beloved that fans have been clamoring for her to show back up in the Marvel movies — or for another network to rescue the now-cancelled ABC series. Considering Captain America: Civil War proved Peggy lived a very long time, there’s still hope for other Agent Carter adventures, Atwell says. “It’s kind of weird to play a character that you know that she lives to, what, 96? Which means, potentially, I could be employed for the rest of my life,” she added with a laugh.  

Conviction airs Monday nights at 10 Eastern time on ABC.

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