Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Written by Keenal Majithia, (Instagram: @keenal24)
Sometimes we see an actor embody a role so well, they become the role themselves and we forget that they’re acting. Some classic examples are Mike Meyers in Austin Powers, Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, and Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Top-notch actors can really make us believe they’re a secret spy, former president, villain, or… even American. With Hollywood being known as the boiling pot for up-and-coming actors all around the world to rise to stardom, it’s natural for foreigners to blend into American culture. Traditions such as going to Starbucks every morning, displaying your frustration when walking in a crowded street, or even celebrating the cringe-worthy holidays that no one questions (yeah we’re talking about turkey time) are easy to grasp and add to your personal character, but some actors have taken it even further. The Brits covered in this article have acting chops so good, the average fan would think they were American and could barely tell that their American accent had actually been crafted on the other side of the pond. As a result, this article will cover five actors you didn’t know were British.
Hugh Laurie, the star of Fox’s House, is in fact British. Although Laurie and Dr. House don’t have their nationalities in common, House was a genius doctor and Laurie did go to Cambridge University so they’re clearly both very clever. In fact, when Laurie auditioned for the eponymous character, the casting director didn’t even realize he was British as he had specifically requested for an American guy to play the starring role. He was so confident after seeing his audition tape, he said to his crew ‘See, this is what I want: an American guy’. Yet, Laurie, as British as a cup of tea, was born to Scottish parents, raised in Oxford, studied at Eton, and later Cambridge. He’s synonymous with the British elite, and just to top it off, has an OBE for his services to drama. Laurie is truly the creme de la creme of British actors with American accents.
Fans of actress Kim Cattrall, mainly known for her role as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City, would never know that she was actually born in Liverpool. Playing an attractive and confident New Yorker came so easily to Cattrall, that she’s one of the main reasons for the TV series success. Granted, she did move to Canada as an infant, but she went back to Liverpool as a child, and later moved to New York City at the age of 16. She obviously made the right choice as she has had an illustrious career ever since, appearing in countless films and TV shows, including Producing Parker, Meet Monica Velour, and of course Sex & the City.
Hannah Simone is best known as the yin to Zoey Deschanel’s yang, in the hit TV show New Girl. You would never know that the girl playing Cece has had a lot of stamps in her passport, living in Canada, India, Cyprus, and of course her birth place, London. She also has a very diverse background, being Indian, Greek, German, and Italian. Simone embodies the best of exceptional brains and beauty as she has used her degree in international relations to serve as a human rights activist and refugee officer with the United Nations in her hometown. Although she now resides in Canada, I’m proud to call her a fellow Brit!
The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln, actually changed his last name from Clutterback, making it hard for fans of the hit TV show to distinguish him as a Brit. Andrew was born and raised in London and has risen to be an extremely successful actor in the entertainment industry. Perhaps Andrew has truly embraced American culture because he certainly made many of us believe in the southern accent of his character Rick Grimes. However, any true Brit or rom-com fanatic would remember him from Love Actually. You remember... the guy that confesses his love to his best friend’s girlfriend, Keira Knightley.
Once named one of the most beautiful people on the planet by Esquire, you’d be forgiven for thinking Catherine Zeta-Jones was raised in sunny California, waiting to be plunged into the glamorous world of Hollywood. On the contrary, she was actually born and raised in Swansea, Wales. She initially started working the West End circuit in London alongside TV shows, before relocating to Los Angeles to break into Hollywood. Having stared in dozens of films such as The Mask of Zorro, Chicago, and Ocean’s Twelve, she has proven her tenacity, and acting abilities by sweeping up BAFTA’s and Golden Globes. America, you’re welcome for this goddess of a woman, sincerely from Swansea.
Written by Keenal Majithia