By Maureen Lee Lenker
September 08, 2019 at 03:35 PM EDT

Allison Janney has quite the distinctive voice — but it’s about to get a Long Island brush-up in forthcoming film Bad Education. 

While sitting down at EW and People’s video suite at the Toronto International Film Festival where the film premiered, Janney revealed the various sources of inspiration and instruction for the distinct New York dialect.

“I spent a lot of time in Long Island because my grandparents are from there and I used to be obsessed with the way my friends in Long Island would say ‘very,'” Janney says. “Very early on, I adapted a little Long Island accent, little pieces of it. I don’t why I thought ‘very’ was so cool.”

Courtesy of TIFF

Bad Education calls upon the Oscar-winning Janney to portray Pam Gluckin, an assistant superintendent for business in Long Island’s Roslyn School District. The comedic film is inspired by the true story of one of the most egregious financial crimes in the history of the U.S. school system.

For Janney, the best way to nail her accent for the film was an unlikely source — her assistant’s mother. “I worked with a dialect coach and my assistant’s mother is from Long Island. She has a perfect [accent],” the actress explains. “I was like ‘Call your mother, I need to talk to her,’ and just listen to her…I love doing accents, as challenging [as they can be], it’s a lot of fun.”

With a script from Mike Makowsky and directed by Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds), Bad Education made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday. A release date is still to be determined.

Watch the clip above for more.

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