‘Chicago Fire:’ Eamonn Walker’s ‘Musical’ Ear Helps Him Nail Boden’s Accent

by Taylor Cunningham

Original Chicago Fire star Eamonn Walker looks and sounds just like a man who grew up in The Windy City, but the actor was actually raised in London. And when he’s not playing the street-wise midwesterner, he speaks with a British accent. So how does he nail the accent? He believes he has an ear for it.

While Walker undoubtedly pulls off his northern accent effortlessly, the actor has admitted that it didn’t come without a lot of anxiety and hard work. As he told NBC 10 Philadelphia recently, moving to The States and portraying native characters made him question working in the industry at all.

“When I first arrived [in America] in 1997 … I was petrified that I had to do an American accent in front of Americans and working with Americans,” he said.

Eamonn Walker’s ‘Chicago Fire’ Accent is Based on a Real-Life Windy City Fire Chief

Walker sought help from various voice coaches to help him find a place in the US film industry, and luckily the lessons paid off. While speaking to the publication, he shared that he worked with several coaches in both New York City and Chicago. And while training for his part in Chicago Fire, a teacher in the latter had him listen to recordings of real-life Chicago fire chiefs. That method eventually helped mold his One Chicago persona.

Eamonn Walker went through a few different recordings before landing on someone he identified with. And he went on to base his entire sound on that person. At first, getting into the voice and character took effort. But after a decade of practice, it’s become second nature.

“I can put him on like I’m putting on an old suit,” he admitted.

But Eamonn Walker has a special talent that helped him grasp accents quicker than most, which likely lent him some help with landing his Chicago Fire job.

While chatting with Assignment X about his vocal successes, he shared that he has an entire philosophy about the physical aspects of acting, and an accent is only a part of the equations. But when it comes to voice, he believes that he has a sort of musical ear that has given him an upper hand.

“I have an ear, I guess, for the musicality of the voice,” he shared. “Sometimes an accent is easy and sometimes one isn’t. So it’s much more about building the character, which comes from the piece, rather than doing an accent.”

New episodes of Chicago Fire return to NBC on September 22.