Every now and then, actors from either side of The Pond will make us cringe with what are, frankly, terrible attempts at an accent. Whether it is Sean Connery in The Untouchables or Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins, British and American actors often get a bad rap for inventing their own way of speaking. But what about those actors and actresses whose accents are so good, you barely notice they are even affecting one? In the first of a two-part post, here are 4 British actors and actresses who really nail an American accent.
Firmly establishing herself as a bankable star in James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic, Kate Winslet has donned various on-screen accents over the years, with varying degrees of authenticity. An Academy-Award-Winning actress, Winslet in fact portrayed a high class 17-year-old from Philadelphia in Titanic itself, adopting a reasonably attuned accent for the role. However, it was during her turn as Clementine in the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that Winslet’s ability to portray a legitimate-sounding American came to the fore.
For those of us who grew up watching British comedy shows such as Blackadder and A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Hugh Laurie’s turn as the brilliant and sardonic title character in the hugely successful television show House took us all by surprise. Not merely because Laurie was able to display a vastly different side to his acting style, but because his American accent was so right on the money. Take a listen to his audition tape right here.
Whether you’re a fan of the Twilight saga or not, you have to take your hat off to the series’ male lead Robert Pattinson. The 27-year-old – who was born in London – played the role of Edward Cullen in film adaptations of Stephanie Meyer’s divisive vampire stories without so much of a hint of his British accent. If you’re comfortable with also having to endure Kristen Stewart’s painful acting, Pattinson’s accent is featured in this extended trailer.
The young British actress, who made her name as Hermione Granger in 8 film adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, has recently transitioned over to the other side of The Pond with her role in Sophia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. To prepare for the role, Watson says she studied reality TV shows such as The Hills and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Whatever her methods, the end result is impressive.