I often wonder what Americans think when they hear British and Irish actors and actresses speaking in American accents.
Do they sound genuine or fake? AND who is the best and worst at carrying off the US accent.
Here's a list of some of the most prominent I can think of at the moment, maybe you have other favourites
Hugh Laurie (House), English
Anthony Hopkins, (e,g Silence of the Lambs) Welsh
Ewan McGregor, (e,g Black Hawk Down) Scottish
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk about Kevin), Scottish
Albert Finney (e.g Ellen Brokovich), English
Colin Farrell, (e,g Miami Vice) Irish
Liam Neeson,(e,g, Taken) Irish
Brian Cox (e.g. X Men II) Scottish
Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) , Welsh
Emma Thompson, (e.g Primary Colors) English/Scottish
Gerard Butler, (e.g The Bounty Hunter), Scottish
Kevin McKidd , (Greys Anatomy), Scottish
What a great topic. Yes, Hugh Laurie and all those mentioned are fantastic. The funny thing is... when you have an American doing and Irish or British accent, there is one thing I've always noticed. Even though they work with dialect coaches and speak impeccably, there is one very common giveaway... and that is that they think about the way they sound. In other words, when someone with a natural Irish accent speaks, their words flow. There is no thought to pronunciation b/c they are focusing on the msg they are trying to convey... but when an American speaks with the accent, they are aware of their own voice. It is less fluid and natural no matter how well they do.
I have heard the most difficult accent by far is the Bostonian accent and very few natives appreciate the attempts that are made, as they feel most actors fall short, even with a coach.
Interesting view of the opposite and insightful analysis. I must admit that Brad Pitt's Irish accent in 'Snatch' sounded really genuine. But then I'm not Irish :-)
The best accents from Americans I can remember were all the 'Spinal Tap' actors back in the 80's. I couldn't believe it when I heard they were actually from the USA. Superb regional English I thought.
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