Top 10 Actors You Probably Thought Were American

Script written by Craig Butler. How a character speaks can tell an audience a lot about him – which is why it’s hard to believe these actors are not originally from the U.S.A. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Actors You Probably Thought Were American. For this list, we’re considering actors and actresses who frequently play American characters but who are not themselves American-born. Special thanks to our user kenn1987 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Craig Butler.

Top 10 Actors You Probably Thought You Were American


How a character speaks can tell an audience a lot about him – which is why it’s hard to believe these actors are not originally from the U.S.A. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Actors You Probably Thought Were American.

For this list, we’re considering actors and actresses who frequently play American characters but who are not themselves American-born.

#10: Yael Stone

Yael Stone had made a name for herself as an actress in her native Australia, but decided to give New York a try in 2011. Within a few months, she had been chosen to play Lorna Morello in the groundbreaking Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black.” If the prospect of capturing the character’s unique Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston accent daunted Stone, you can’t tell it from the results onscreen. Her inflections seem to pour forth naturally, making it difficult for many to believe she was actually born a half a world away.

#9: Stephen Moyer

England’s Stephen Moyer somehow seems right at home in the deep South environs of “True Blood.” For that matter, so does Australia’s Ryan Kwanten, playing Jason Stackhouse. Sure, it could be a result of simple Southern hospitality, but it’s more likely pure skill. As the Vampire King of Louisiana, Moyer’s Bill Compton is a commanding and galvanizing figure. The actor captures his mesmerizing, intense character perfectly, while still coming across as someone right at home in small town Louisiana.

#8: Rose Byrne

When Rose Byrne’s character in “Neighbors” practices telling someone to “keep it down,” it’s hard to believe this flat American voice belongs to an actress from Australia. The same is true when the actress is presenting her reception speech in “Bridesmaids,” or when stealing scenes on the TV series “Damages.” Byrne is an exceptionally fine actress who brings a special quality to about anything she does; her ability to come across as convincingly American is just part of what makes her special.

#7: Simon Baker

Australia gave the world Simon Baker, and American TV audiences are very glad that they did. Baker used his considerable gifts to bring to life Patrick Jane, a fraudulent psychic who helps find murderers as “The Mentalist.” Baker’s character is able to use his keen observational skills to mimic those of a psychic; the actor similarly uses his own observational skills to create a compellingly American character in Patrick Jane.

#6: Christian Bale

Batman is certainly one of the most iconic characters in American pop culture. His unquenchable thirst for justice, challenged by an equally strong desire for vengeance, strikes chords deep within the American psyche. That Christian Bale, a Wales-born actor, could capture him so brilliantly is a testament to the actor’s skill. Hearing Bale let free with his own native accent in other roles makes one appreciate the care he brought to the speech patterns and cadences of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego.

#5: Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Comic book super-heroes got their start in the U.S., and somehow costumed vigilantes have become a part of American culture. The “Kick-Ass” films are steeped in this American mythology, even if they have a different take on it – so hiring the English Aaron Taylor-Johnson to play the title character may have been risky on paper. On film – with a little help from a dialect coach – Taylor-Johnson came through with flying colors. As a matter of fact, he did better portraying an American than his character did portraying a super-hero.

#4: Damian Lewis

Damian Lewis is well known to audiences for his terrific performances as the complex Nicholas Brody in “Homeland” and the real-life Dick Winters in “Band of Brothers.” His portrayals of these two military men are unforgettable – not bad for a man born in England, whose grandfather was a Lord Mayor of London and whose ancestors include a doctor to the Royal Family. Watching Brody or Martin, it’s hard to believe Lewis comes from across the pond.

#3: Isla Fisher

Right, so Isla Fisher’s parents are Scottish, but she was born in Oman, then spent some time in Scotland before passing most of her childhood and youth in Australia. So with all those different influences in her past, how does she play Americans so easily and persuasively? Whether she’s the sexually enthusiastic Gloria of “Wedding Crashers,” the effervescent Mary Jane in “Scooby Doo” or the adulterous Myrtle in “The Great Gatsby,” Fisher comes across as totally American.

#2: Hugh Laurie

For eight years, the very British Hugh Laurie portrayed the very American Dr. Gregory House on TV – and netted six Emmy nominations for his trouble. A cynical curmudgeon with an acidic wit, the character of House is so specifically rooted in an American social and geographic milieu that it makes Laurie’s ability to inhabit the character especially impressive. It should also be noted that, throughout 177 episodes, Laurie’s accent never breaks to reveal his British origins – perhaps because that’s exactly the kind of flaw that the character of House would mercilessly mock.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Laura Fraser
- Henry Cavill
- Andrew Garfield
- Charlie Hunnam
- Freddie Highmore

#1: Andrew Lincoln

Zombies are popular worldwide, but for some reason they do tend to congregate in America on film and TV. That’s why it’s such a surprise to find that Rick Grimes, the southerner who leads “The Walking Dead”’s hardy survivors, is played by a man born and raised in England. Andrew Lincoln’s work in “The Walking Dead” is beautifully calibrated, and he is the anchor that holds the series together. Any false notes, including a slip in accent, would be jarring to the carefully constructed world the series creates – and he never lets that happen.

Do you agree with our list? What other actors who are usually thought to be American deserve to be on this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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