Eight Foreign Actors with Great American Accents

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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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p8Hr9dA_Ts

Being English – At the Emmys with Zack Braff

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3arfPGysRQ

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qztUxLlckos

Being Irish – Getting interviewed about Pride and Glory

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxEIKKDi3tw

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T90pgyAtl54

Being EnglishMen’s Fitness interview

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0lfNv7Cho0

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDVzmbtVZ6s

Being English – Accepting his SAG award

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxr8mbvaB2E

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v_gDHAf_EI

Being New Zealand-ish – BBC interview

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8YI_VMe_js

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXiaz83CD2M

Being Australian – On Inside the Actors Studio

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuqM4XBaWTk

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRrk3zZmksE

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9v-a5cZGec

Being Australian – Showing up at Comic Con to promote Wolverine much to everyone’s delight

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNc7XDUcFko