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9 British Actors Who Can't Do American Accents


We make fun of Americans a lot for bungling various British accents - they think we all sound like The Queen - but it works both ways. There are many British actors, most of them very talented, who just cannot wrap their plummy mouths around a convincing American twang.

Sorry America, none of these actors should have been allowed to speak your words. We have no choice but to forgive you for these attempts.


Colin Firth - Main Street

Colin Firth is as English as tea and crumpets and not making a fuss. Hearing an American accent come out of his mouth just feels a little wrong, particularly when it's a really mangled Texan accent that starts out sounding a bit like an impression of Bill Clinton and then, just in the space of this clip, gradually becomes a very, very oil prospector from a cartoon. Stick with kings, Colin.


Gerard Butler – The Bounty Hunter

Butler doesn't have a great history with accents - his Irish in P.S. I Love You is bizarre - and his American is always a bit off. He talks like a kid doing a playground American accent. It should be accompanied by waving a gun and calling someone a "filthy punk".


Ewan McGregor - Big Fish

McGregor's American accents aren't really terrible and when he's doing one he tends to stay in it and not slip in and out, as a lot of actors do, but he just leans into them too much. His southern accent in Big Fish is cartoonish and very 'aw shucks, gee willickers'. Nobody speaks like that.


Simon Pegg - Big Nothing

Not very many people saw the bungled heist movie Big Nothing. For the sake of Pegg, whose American accent drifts about like a rudderless ship, that's probably not a bad thing.


Ray Winstone - The Departed

What...what is this accent supposed to be? Is it Bostonian like the rest of the cast? Is it from a special area of America that the rest of us haven't discovered yet? Because more than anything this sounds Australian. Wouldn't tell him to his face though.


Michael Caine - The Cider House Rules

Caine has never been good with accents and rarely bothers. He's got such a distinctive voice of his own that when he tries to do anything else it's extremely noticeable. Playing a kindly old orphanage director from Maine, he makes nods at a generic American accent but only fitfully. Still, he won an Oscar for it so he's probably not that bothered.


Jason Statham - The One

It took us a long time to work out whether or not Statham actually is doing an American accent or not. Turns out he is, when he can be bothered.


Alan Rickman - Judas Kiss

Another one who's an undeniably brilliant actor but not quite up to the task of doing a New Orleans accent, which is admittedly one of the most difficult there is, as a cop in this forgotten 1998 movie. But if you can't do it, don't do it. And if you're wondering why we're letting Emma Thompson off...


Emma Thompson - Dead Again

...We're not. She can act up a storm but Thompson does American accents like she's making fun of them. You could also have Primary Colours here.


(Images: All Star)



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