Harley Quinn showrunners Patrick Schumacker and David Halpern revealed why exactly Kaley Cuoco’s version of Harley does not have the character’s distinct, Brooklyn-esque accent in the DC Universe animated series.
“She doesn’t do the accent in the show,” Halpern told Entertainment Weekly. “When we were first starting out, we were torn because it’s so iconic, it’s a huge part of the character.” Originally, Halpern and Schumacker anticipated Cuoco would do her own version of the accent, though this was not to be. As Halpern recalls, “We sat with Kaley and talked to her about it and she was like, ‘Look, I want to bring a different take to this. I don’t want to sound like I’m doing a bad version of someone else’s take on it.’ Ultimately she felt like she could hit all of the notes better in the way she did it.”
“Despite not ultimately doing the accent, with the exception of the “Bensonhurst’ episode when the accent slips back in when she’s around her parents, she still managed to capture the spirit of the character,” Schumacker said. “She’s so enthusiastic about this character. It was a cool departure from the stuff she had been doing for 12 years,” he added, referring to Cuoco’s tenure on The Big Bang Theory. “As great as that was, 12 years is a long time, and this was a chance to pivot to something different, and I think she really seized that opportunity.” Halpern agreed, saying, “It was one of those things where she was excited to show people what she could do outside this character she’d been playing for such a long time.”
Harley’s accent started with Arleen Sorkin, who became the first voice actor to ever play Harley when the character was introduced to the world via Batman: The Animated Series. She brought to the character an exaggerated version of the old, working class New York accent that has gone on to become associated with the Brooklyn borough in particular. Notably, the character of Dr. Harleen Quinzel canonically grew up in Brooklyn.
DC Universe’s Harley Quinn stars Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Diedrich Bader, Alan Tudyk, Rahul Kohli, Christopher Meloni, Tony Hale, Ron Funches, Wanda Sykes, Natalie Morales, Jim Rash, Giancarlo Esposito, Jason Alexander and J.B. Smoove. New episodes air on Fridays.
David Halpern and Patrick Schumacker revealed why Kaley Cuoco's Harley Quinn eschews the character's iconic Brooklyn accent.