Crossing The Pond of Accents for Parts

The other day I sat down to watch TV for the first time in ages.  I was flicking through some dramas available on series view and as I looked at clips and casts I noticed a trend that seems to be growing more and more lately…..  Brits playing Americans in big US shows.

Now then, Britain is only a little island compared to the vastness and population of the States. Surely they can’t be running out of population to play roles in their own twang?  Well I did some looking into why and found that the answer is simple, it’s cheaper labour.  Why pay the high demands of a well known American actor when a Brit or Aussie etc can be paid at a much cheaper rate and all they have to do is use their skills to practice an accent.  What is great is that many are going down a storm, Robert Pattinson (pic) comes to mind.

Most are already famous on their own side of the pond before making the transition, like for instance Hugh Laurie (House), very very well known alongside Stephen Fry and Blackadder on British screens. Jason Statham has come a long way from Lock stock and Two Smoking Barrells too hasn’t he? Others like Tim Roth started over the pond and Tarantino has him using both his English and American accents.  Mr Orange in Reservoir Dogs and the opening scene of Pulp Fiction as the Cafe Robber he has his London accent.

Which is the biggest change for me? Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) her real accent is mine, ee bye gum!

Thats not to say that Americans haven’t tried their hand at a leading English role.  Some great, some forgettable, some erm.. well.. chim chim-en-ey 😉

I have put together a montage below to show just a ‘few’ examples going either way.  Sorry Mr Costner I didn’t include you as we can’t decide if you tried.

(Clips from youtube)

Written by Paul Steele

Paul is the founder and Editor of the site. An avid hiker and trekker. Travel, adventure and photography are passions that he combines to make his articles here. Likes to see the positive in everything.


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  1. Claire Danes did a great British accent in Stardust. So good was she that my hubby thought she was a Brit despite having seen her in other films. A British actor commented on the British invasion claiming it was due to a lack of new talented American actors. It seems the standard of new British talent is surpassing the current US standard. The youth of America have been hit by the *Celebrity* bug too wanting fame for fame’s sake.

  2. Keanu Reeves is one of my least favorite actors. Take him out, please.

    Otherwise, LOVED watching this montage. Such fun to contrast & compare!
    p.s. Do I sound like a typical stupid American?

  3. We Americans found it very difficult to believe Hugh Laurie was British~! He does SUCH an amazing job with his accent. It's truly perfect~! This is a great post, Paul, showcasing true talent =)

  4. Very true and I love Hugh Laurie. I was actually disappointed when I first saw HOUSE that he was just another "american" He's one of my fave actors!

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