There are quite a few actors that when I find out that they’re actually British, I’m surprised. Freddie Highmore, Tom Holland, Olivia Cooke, and Hugh Laurie come to mind. Are there any actors that you’re surprised to find that they’re American? Or, who do you think does British accents well?
Can’t think of any Americans or Canadians that I didn’t already know to be; otherwise, Gwyneth Paltrow (Sliding Doors) and Renee Zellwegger as Bridget Jones were pretty well spot on.
Patrick beat me on two I was going to mention. John Lithgow was excellent recently as Churchill in The Crown.
To my American ear, Lithgow’s American accent is peculiar enough that I’m surprised that he isn’t British.
How much would you describe that as “doing a British accent,” as opposed to “doing Winston Churchill?” It seems to me that Churchill had a fairly distinct intonation and manner of speaking–indeed, I should think that one of the challenges for an actor playing him would be to sound like him without doing an outright parody, the way that many impersonators do. I haven’t seen The Crown, so I don’t know how well Lithgow does. Having seen him play FDR, though, I suspect he would handle the challenge very well.
Obligatory I’m not British or American (I’m Australian), but…
Not only did I think Alexis Denisof (Wesley from Buffy/Angel) was actually English the first time I saw him, when he appeared in a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother speaking in his real American accent, it sounded like an English actor doing a really bad American accent.
Alan Tudyk in A Knight’s Tale and Death at a Funeral sounded good to me.
To my American ears Robert Downey Jr. seems to do passable English and Australian accents, what do people from those places think of his accents?
But Denisof lived and studied in London. Is that cheating?
IIRC he was doing a sort of exaggerated newscaster type accent that may or may not have been that similar to the way he normally talks. Kind of how say… Melissa Rauch doesn’t actually sound like Bernadette on “Big Bang Theory” if you hear her outside of that show.
You could look at it that way, but then likewise any British actor living in the US should probably get less credit for their American accent.
I’ve heard him speak in some interviews and his voice still sounded kind of fake. but I did see a few episodes of Finding Carter and his voice seemed more natural.
Fair points, to be honest. He was excellent at doing Churchill, I thought better than Gary Oldman.
I’ve never heard an American actor do an Australian accent that sounded at all realistic. Americans tend to waaaaaaaaaaay over exaggerate and end up sounding like they have brain injuries. I’ve heard an actual Australian actor in some movie talking in the same way so as to appear obviously Australian to American ears. We really don’t sound anything like you seem to think we sound.
I’ve never heard a non-South African actor do a South African accent that sounds authentic. Though, of course, there are several South African accents.
Idris Elba didn’t do a bad job as Mandela. Afrikaans accents by overseas actors always sound fake and exaggerated to me.
Some people from the “Old Commonwealth” can do standard BBC RP, though that might depend on life experience (of the generations that were brought up to speak that way) rather than “acting”. I’m thinking of Brian Perkins (New Zealand) and Sue McGregor (spent most of her childhood in South Africa),
Somewhat off topic but in the first couple of movies I saw her in, Margot Robbie was playing American characters and I thought she was American. Then I saw her in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and I was thinking she did a really good job with an Australian accent.
Don’t know if I being whooshed here, but the “good job with an Australian accent” would be because she was born and raised in Australia.
Yes, Little Nemo knows that now, he/she thought she was american to start with…
Andy Serkis nailed the Afrikaner accent in Age of Ultron/Black Panther, I thought.
Chadwick Boseman’s Xhosa accent is good, too. But then, he had a good dialect teacher.
NB: IANA Briton.