15 English Actors You Thought Were American  

These English actors do the American accent so well, that now most people think they are from the US. How many of them fooled you?

1. Christian Bale

Christian’s first interview! Listen to his native accent.

Those who “discovered” Christian Bale in, ehem, American Psycho or playing Batman are surprised to find out that he is English.

Christian would be happy. He thinks the less the public knows about an actor, the better: that way the public can believe the characters he portrays.

Furthermore, when he gives interviews to promote a movie, he uses the accent of his character to keep up the illusion.

So when Christian spoke at the 2019 Golden Globes with his real accent, the internet exploded. People from around the world commented on his thick English accent. And many thought he was faking it.

He wasn’t. Christian is thoroughly British.

His English parents were working in Wales when Christian was born. Soon after, the family relocated to England, where Christian grew up and began his career as a child actor

In Christian’s own words: “I was born in Wales, but I’m not Welsh. I’m English.” (Wales and England are in Great Britain.)

In real life, Christian speaks with a marked Cockney accent from London.

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2. Charlie Hunnam

Teenage Charlie speaks with his British accent in an interview.

Say what? That Charlie is from the land of Queen Elizabeth?

That is right. Charlie hails from Newcastle upon Tyne, a city in England.

But American audiences first saw him in Sons of Anarchy, a long-running TV show in which he played a Californian.

Since he picks up accents easily, now Charlie’s real accent is all over the place. For his role as King Arthur, he had to hire a dialect coach to retrain him in the English accent.

3. Tom Holland

Tom’s real accent come out while he answers questions from the internet.

Tom played Spider-Man in several movies.

So that is another All-American hero that is actually English.

Tom says, that when fans walk up to him, they are appalled to find out that he has an English accent.

Tom is from London, which he calls the best city in the world. Needles to say, Tom lives in London.

4. Idris Elba

Idris teaches British slang.

Almost everyone in the New World believed Idris Elba was an American. After all, they had watched him, week after week, in the US series The Wire and The Office.

But he was acting, people.

In reality, Idris is from Hackney, a borough in East London.

5. Naomi Watts

Naomi teaches British and Australian slang.

Naomi flawlessly played Americans in Twin Peaks, Mulholland Dr., 21 Grams, and The Ring.

But she is English. Naomi lived in Britain until she was 14 years old, then her English family moved to Australia.

She says: “I loved my childhood growing up in Kent [England]. I was always climbing trees, a real tomboy. I never wanted to leave. I spent the first 14 years of my life in England… Even when I was in Australia I went back to England a lot. I still have my British passport. I consider myself British and have very happy memories of the UK.”

The actress adds that Australia is her home now.

So Naomi has two nationalities, but American ain’t one of them.

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6. Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie shows off his real accent with Larry King.

For eight years, Hugh played Dr. Gregory House with a flawless American accent.

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Even those who cast the TV show were originally fooled by his fake accent.

Executive producer Bryan Singer wanted an American to play Dr. House. So when he saw Hugh’s audition, he was ecstatic. He told his crew: “Finally! I am sick of foreigners. This is what we need; we need an American!”

Bryan was soon told, of course, that Hugh was English. And that he had appeared in ultra English movies such as Sense and Sensibility.

Many of Hugh’s colleagues on the show also mistook him for an American during the first episodes. And so did the public for years.

Yet, Hugh does not find the American accent easy. He says it requires a lot of concentration on his part, especially when pronouncing the ‘r.’

Hugh is from Oxford, in England. He attended the exclusive school Eton -the same Prince William attended. Then he studied social anthropology at Cambridge University.

Hugh lives in London and, in real life, has a polished English accent.

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7. Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman’s native accent.

Revenge actor Josh Bowman is another undercover Englishman.

He was born in Berkshire, England.

Josh was even a rugby player once upon a time. But after sustaining an injury, he turned to acting.

8. Andrew Garfield

Andrew answers questions from fans.

Another English Spider-Man.

Well, if it is any consolation to the Americans out there, this Spider-Man is, at least, partly American.

His dad is American, and Andrew was born in California. But that’s it for the good news. The actor’s mom is English, as are his four grandparents.

Andrew only lived in the US briefly, then he moved to Surrey, in England, and grew up there.

Someone asked on the website Quora why Andrew spoke with an English accent in interviews. Andrew succinctly replied: “It’s because I’m English.”

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9. Henry Cavill

Henry explains his performances in his real accent.

First Batman, then the Spider-Mans, and now even Superman.

Henry’s parents have English blood.

Superman was born on the British island of Jersey, which lies between England and France.

In his teens, Henry was shipped to a private school in Buckinghamshire, England. It is probably there that he acquired his polished English accent. Or perhaps it was via his dad who, according to Henry, “encouraged proper use of English language.”

Two more quotes that prove the Man of Steel’s British credentials. Henry says that London is his favorite city in the world “because it is home.” And he has also said, “I love being English.” Mic drop.

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10. Millie Bobby Brown

Millie and her castmates try to guess Victorian slang.

On the TV series Stranger Things, Millie has an American accent.

But do not believe Millie; she is fooling you.

The outgoing actress was born in Spain to English parents. When she was little, her parents moved back to England. Millie grew up there.

Her real accent is as British as it gets. It is closer to the one she uses in the movie ‘Enola Holmes.’

11. Gary Oldman

After living in California for decades, Gary still has a slight-ish English accent.

Gary Oldman has played his fair share of American characters in movies, including Commissioner Gordon in the Batman franchise.

But Gary is a Londoner. In his first roles, his accent was thoroughly English. It is softer now, after living decades in California.

Gary recently went back to his roots by portraying ultra English politician Winston Churchill.

12. Alfred Molina

Alfred was born and raised in London, and this video proves it.

Alfred has done so many accents during his career that most people cannot tell which is the real one.

And he likes it that way. He seems to have the same philosophy about acting as Christian Bale. Alfred says: “When it comes to learning accents, that’s the make-believe part that can be a lot of fun. But the real challenge of course is once you’ve done all that work, not to display it in front of the audience… The worst crime an actor can commit is showing off his homework to the audience.”

Alfred has played Greeks, Irish, Jews, Middle Easterns, Cubans, South Americans, North Americans…

He used an American accent to play villainous Doctor Octopus in two Spider-Man movies.

So many people assume he is from the US.

But Alfred is European all around. His parents are from Spain and Italy, respectively, and he was born and raised in Notting Hill, London.

In interviews, Alfred sounds English.

13. Daniel Kaluuya

Daniel’s London accent.

According to Daniel, people are “weirded out” by his real accent when they meet him. They ask: “Oh, you’re British, man?”

That is because Daniel’s breakout role was in the horror movie Get Out, in which he convincingly played an American photographer.

But yes, he is British; a Londoner.

14. Damian Lewis

Damian drops the American facade and talks away in his native accent.

Damian is another Londoner. His grandfather was the mayor of London. And Damian’s great-grandparents were viscounts and baronets.

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Damian attended boarding schools, including Eton. And during the vacations, he visited relatives in the US. Perhaps in those visits, he began to absorb the American accent that would later be so useful for his work.

He faked an American accent in the popular US series Band of Brothers, Homeland, and Billions.

Damian has said: “[We]… had cousins in Connecticut, so we would go on holiday… So I’ve always kind of felt pretty attached to America. Now that I’m doing this show, I stay in an American accent all day long just because it would be harder to switch in and out. I find that I’ve developed an American persona now.”

Before making it in Hollywood, Damian worked at the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company. He still acts in British plays and lives in London.

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15. Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel explains a movie in his own accent.

Chiwetel was unforgettable in 12 Years a Slave. In the movie, he plays a free musician from New York who gets drugged and sold into slavery.

Chiwetel’s portrayal got him an Oscar nomination and wide acclaim.

His accent was so convincing in the movie that when the actor speaks with his real accent in interviews, people are, to this day, surprised. They leave comments on YouTube such as

“I really can’t watch Ejiofor speaking in his normal accent. His accent in 12 Years was spot-on I didn’t know he was English,”

“Wow I didn’t know Chiwetel Ejiofor was British, his American accent is flawless,”

“He’s British? Damn, he pulls off that accent perfectly in The Martian [another one of his movies]!” or

“Thought this guy was American after watching Four Brothers. Love actors who can change their accent for roles.”

Chiwetel is from London. He attended drama school in England and began his career in the theater.

So which of these English actors fooled you with their American accents?

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2022-02-26
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