One of the biggest pet peeves I have when watching any film is when either a foreign actor really screws up an American accent or when an American actor really screws up a foreign accent. For whatever reason I take my dialects in movies pretty seriously. As a general stereotype I’d say that foreign actors tend to adapt American accents better than Americans adapt theirs. As for the reason? I’m not 100% sure. But there are always exceptions.
Off the top of my head here are some foreigners that to me, absolutely nail an American accent: Hugh Laurie, Andrew Garfield, Idris Elba, Chris Hemsworth, and there are plenty more. As far as foreigners that I don’t think do a great job doing us? Tim Roth is awful. Hugh Jackman sounds weird. Ewen McGregor is so-so. Colin Ferrell cannot for the life of him do an American accent. With regard to Americans who do solid foreign accents? I think Leonardo DiCaprio is solid. He was great in Blood Diamond. Renee Zellweger nails her British accent. There are others.
Anyway, you know my point and I think you understand where I’m coming from. For those of you out there who are nitpicky like me, this video will be very interesting. Dialect coach Erik Singer analyzes the accents of some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Find out what happens when an expert puts them to the test.
How accurate were they really?