Actors often try to adopt accents that don’t suit them at all. Normally this is an American trying to pretend they’re sophisticated like say, Elijah Wood in the Lord of the Rings (annoying), Ben Affleck in Shakespeare in Love (awful), or Keanu Reeves in Bram Stroker’s Dracula (dear God no).
On the flipside however, foreign actors often have to sound like they were American born and bred, and often, they do a much better job of it. Sometimes the cover-up is so good, that you might not have known that they were foreign at all. Here are eight great examples to examine:
1. Hugh Laurie
This one catches most people so off guard, it was actually the topic of debate at the Emmys recently (second video).
Sounding American – A compilation of the best House/Wilson moments
Being English – At the Emmys with Zack Braff
2. Colin Farrell
Most people do know Farrell is Irish, and he only drops his accent in a few select roles.
Sounding American (New Yawkish to be exact) – A deleted scene from Phone Booth with Jared Leto
Being Irish – Getting interviewed about Pride and Glory
3. Jamie Bamber
This one really threw me for a loop, I had no idea that Apollo from BSG was really flying for the Queen.
Sounding American – Sparring with Dad on Battlestar Galactica
Being English – Men’s Fitness interview
4. Daniel Day Lewis
He sounds so meek and mild mannered in real life. Compare and contrast that with most of his movie roles.
Sounding American (or something like it) – Talking about milkshakes
Being English – Accepting his SAG award
5. Alan Dale
He’s been in everything from Lost to The OC to Ugly Betty to Entourage. He’s usually playing a rich American bastard, but he’s just a rich Kiwi bastard in real life. Just kidding, he seems cool.
Sounding American – About to get married on Ugly Betty
Being New Zealand-ish – BBC interview
6. Russell Crowe
Born in New Zealand, but raised in Australia, he only conceals his accent for a few select roles. Most recently he hillbillied it up for Body of Lies.
Sounding American (a good ol boy) – The Body of Lies trailer
Being Australian – On Inside the Actors Studio
7. James McAvoy
I mean, he was the star of The Last King of Scotland for godssake so you know he’s Scottish. But he proved he could fake it realistically this past summer in Wanted.
Sounding American – The infamous Wanted chase
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Deml0Q6EHHA (wanted chase)
Being Scottish – Co-hosting with Craig Ferguson
8. Hugh Jackman
He gets to unleash his inner Aussie in Australia with Nicole Kidman soon, but he’s best known for his turn as the quintessential American (well, Canadian) hero Wolverine.
Sounding American – Getting shot in the head during X-Men 2
Being Australian – Showing up at Comic Con to promote Wolverine much to everyone’s delight