I've seen 3 ways to handle this problem:

Actually, some movies are in a language none of the actors speak. An example would be the recent Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which was in Mandarin. However, only one of the actors spoke Mandarin, so the remaining actors had to learn Mandarin. And they did. Thus, there is a 4th, very long and hard way to get around the problem.



Update: A reader informed me that the accents the actors use are, apparently, hysterically bad. Still, it's impressive anyways...

I'm reluctant to call this the 5th way, since it's closer to the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon dilemma, but it's worth noting. A director can always cast the foreign character as a native mental deficent. I guess the best example of this is The City of Lost Children with New Yorker Ron Perlman, where the filmmakers had him speak in rather broken French. As an aside, it's always oddly easier for English language filmmakers to put non-English speaking actors/characters in their movies.

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