“The Boston accent is hard.” — Michael Keaton (and everyone)

While the Spotlight cast is likely taking a moment to bask in the movie’s glory, Michael Keaton stopped by The Tonight Show Monday to discuss some of the hard parts about playing a Bostonian. And to absolutely no one’s surprise, he and Fallon chatted about the accent.

“You have the greatest ear of all ears,” Keaton told Fallon. “It’s uncanny how good your ear is—well, it’s true—but you know that’s a tricky one. That accent is tricky.”

“I don’t mess with the Boston accent,” Fallon said. (Rigggggght.)

Keaton replied, “It can change neighborhood to neighborhood. It can change from, like, block to block.”

“Some people don’t even have accents,” Fallon said. (Which is true—Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch didn’t really have one.) “And some people are like, ‘Wicked pissah. Hey, Fallon!’ And you’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh,’” Fallon added. “If you did that in a drama, they’d be like, ‘What is going on?’”

“When you focus too much on it, you don’t want to screw it up. You want to, like, sew it into the character,” Keaton said. “Robby—Walter Robinson, the guy I played—he doesn’t have one, really. And then when you hang out with him, you hear it come out in certain words, certain sentences, depending on with whom he’s speaking.”

He’s right. You really don’t want to screw it up. Because we all know what happens when you do.

Boston accents in movies, ranked:

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