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Top 10 Actors Who Can't Do Accents

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Alex Durkee. Some actors just can’t pull off foreign accents – no matter how talented they are. It’s not necessarily that these actors refuse to do accents; it’s just that they can’t. Whether it’s because they already have a strong Texan drawl like Tommy Lee Jones, an Austrian accent like Arnold Schwarzenegger or a unique way of speaking like Christopher Walken, there are just some actors who don’t do accents. WatchMojo counts down ten of our favorite actors who can’t pull off foreign accents. Special thanks to our users Dan Paradis, stephenmcgrane3921@g, Fiona55988 and Łukasz Żukowski for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Actors%20Who%20Do%20Not%20Do%20Accents

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Script written by Alex Durkee.

Top 10 Actors Who Don't Do Accents

An actor by any other accent would NOT sound as sweet. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 actors who don’t “do” accents.

For this list, we’re looking at movie actors who almost never alter their real voices to take on an accent for a role. No matter who the character is or where he comes from in the world, these actors frequently choose to just go with the voice they were born with – for better or worse.

#10: Tom Cruise

We start our list with the poster boy for Hollywood action movies. Often playing the good-looking, if slightly arrogant, hero of the flick, Cruise has never really needed to put on an accent in any of his movies. Well, unless you count that time he struggled to convincingly portray an Irish immigrant in “Far and Away”… As his career progresses, more interesting stories come along and Cruise has the chance to tackle more varied characters. But, fortunately for fans, Cruise just keeps doing what he does best: being Tom Cruise. Even if that that means playing an army officer in Nazi Germany during WWII without a German accent.

#9: Christopher Walken

If we’ve learned anything from watching Christopher Walken’s many movies, it’s that he’s from New York and he’s damn proud of it. Including his Academy Award-winning supporting role in “The Deer Hunter”, Walken has appeared in over a hundred movies in his career. And with each new role comes a different character, varying from villain to hero; from father figure to gangster. However, each of these characters has two distinct things in common: that particular manner of speaking and that famous New York accent. Hey, you know you’re committed to your accent when you’re playing a German-born villain who’s the product of Nazi experimentation and you STILL sound like you’re from Queens.

#8: Michael Caine

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Michael Caine was considered one of Hollywood’s “cool guys.” Starring in movies like “The Italian Job,” “Alfie” and “Get Carter,” Caine became synonymous with the loveable rogue and anti-hero character. With a career that has spanned over fifty years, Michael Caine is only one of two actors that’s been nominated for an Academy Award in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. That’s impressive in itself, but what’s even more impressive is when you realize that he’s achieved all of this while sticking to his English ‘Cockney’ accent, which has become one of the most famous and mimicked accents in all of Hollywood.

#7: Nicolas Cage

Some actors just let their distinct acting style do the talking. Case in point: Nic Cage. Since Cage first burst onto the movie scene in the 1980s, he’s thrown himself into every role, committing fully to each interaction, movement and line. Often called ‘over the top,’ although Roger Ebert more kindly labelled his work ‘operatic,’ Cage himself has actually named his acting style: he calls it ‘Nouveau Shamanic.’ However, no matter what kind of character Cage plays, his accent and style rarely – if ever – change. And that’s a good thing, if you take into consideration the few times he HAS attempted an accent…

#6: Woody Harrelson

First coming to the public’s attention as loveable bartender Woody Boyd in the sitcom “Cheers,” Woody Harrelson eventually took that sweet and innocent style into the world of movie comedies in films like “Wildcats.” However, after leaving “Cheers,” Harrelson took on more diverse roles: he’s played everything from a mass murderer in “Natural Born Killers” to the real-life Hustler founder in the biopic “The People vs. Larry Flint” to an alcoholic mentor in “The Hunger Games.” But what it boils down to is that, whether he’s playing the bad guy or the hero, Harrelson does it – more often than not – with a sincere style and the natural Texas accent that fans have come to expect and love.

#5: Kevin Costner

During the late-‘80s and early-‘90s, Kevin Costner was one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. Thanks to movies like “No Way Out,” “Field of Dreams,” “The Bodyguard” and Academy Award-winning films like “JFK” and “Dances with Wolves,” Costner proved he was unstoppable. The actor also channelled his charisma as a natural leading man into the role of the heroic and legendary Robin Hood. And, though the mythical character is traditionally portrayed with an English accent, Costner’s native Californian dialect was what we got for the majority of the film – well, that and a lot of kickass action. To be fair, though, Costner’s career hasn’t been hampered by his lack of accents, so maybe it’s best to stick with what you know.

#4: Matthew McConaughey

Many actors live in fear of typecasting: that they may be stuck in a certain genre or playing a certain sort of character for the rest of their career. At one point, it seemed like Matthew McConaughey was being pigeonholed as either a stoner beach-lover who didn’t own a shirt, or a rom-com lead who didn’t own a shirt. In either type of role, McConaughey’s trademark Texas accent and unique speaking cadence are an advantage, as he easily plays both surfer dudes and the charming, easy-going guy women fall for. However, when more challenging roles come up, McConaughey rises to the occasion, sticking with his trademark drawl whether he’s playing a lawyer, a U.S. Navy lieutenant or an AIDS sufferer.

#3: Arnold Schwarzenegger

With perhaps the only notable exception being his attempt in “Red Heat,” Arnold Schwarzenegger has never altered his Austrian accent for a role – something he’s made no excuses for. When he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 21, Arnie had very few English words in his vocabulary arsenal. That’s obviously changed, but the accent undeniably has not – a result of him learning English as an adult. Whether he’s starring in an action film, a thriller or a comedy, the former Mr. Universe shows that he’s taken what could have been a limitation and turned it into an unmistakable trademark. And in the process, Schwarzenegger became one of the most impersonated actors on the planet.

#2: Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones can instantly add credibility to any movie he’s in; whether he’s playing a stone-faced but compassionate Marshal in “The Fugitive,” taking on the comedy genre with “Men in Black” or diving into the comic book world with a role in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” With each performance and with each new genre, Jones has also demonstrated that he and his rough Texas twang can add gravitas to any movie. And, he does all of this by almost never changing a note in his accent. In short, Tommy Lee Jones pretty much uses his own voice at all times, but that’s what audiences love about him.

#1: Sean Connery

Some actors have such a powerful screen presence that they often don’t need to do anything other than be themselves – or, at the very least, sound like themselves. Sean Connery is one of those actors. Since he first appeared as James Bond in “Dr No,” Connery has essentially kept his strong, Scottish accent for every role thereafter. Whether that’s playing a Soviet submarine captain in “The Hunt for Red October,” an Irish-American cop living in Chicago in “The Untouchables” or an Egyptian immortal in “The Highlander,” Connery is Scottish and proud. However, the fact that Connery has never dropped his accent for a role has only made him more iconic, and that’s why he is number one on our list.

Do you agree with our list? What other actors can you think of that don’t do accents? For more entertaining top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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