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Actors That You Will Be Surprised to Learn Aren’t American: My View on the Best Accents In American Television

April 16, 2013

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So I am back after a longer hiatus than I apprehended and I am here to present to you some of the best American accents that I have come across while watching American Television. I find accents fascinating and I love discovering an actor I’ve grown to know is actually British or Australian or whatever. So today I thought I would write about those actors who I feel have the most convincing American accents in Television. With most of these actors I was genuinely surprised they weren’t actually American. 

I will first present to you my Runners Up and then my top 3.

(Note: I have decided to leave out Hugh Laurie from House as most people know he is British.)

 

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RUNNERS UP

 

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Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy

Plays: Jackson Teller, an american biker from California.

Origin: Newcastle, England. 

Charlie does a very a convincing accent in FX’s current TV show Sons of Anarchy. But he is actually English and you can hear him showcasing a Londoner accent in the movie Green Street Hooligans. 

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Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead

Plays: A sheriff from Southern US.

Origin: London, UK

Andrew plays Rick Grimes, the southern cop in The Walking Dead and going by his decent Southern accent you would expect he was at least American. Nope, hes in fact from London and his genuine accent is very British. You can hear his natural accent in the movie Love Actually.  However, his accent doesn’t quite convince me to put him in the top 3 on my list.

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Stephen Moyer in True Blood

Plays: The Southern Gentlemen who is also a vampire.

Origin: Essex, UK

Stephen is another English actor who sports a Southern Accent as Bill Compton in True Blood. I was particularly surprised when I heard Stephen is actually from Essex in the UK.

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Lauren Cohen in The Walking Dead

Plays: Southern Farm Girl 

Origin: Born in the US but raised in the UK

Lauren spent her early childhood in New Jersey before moving to the UK. Perhaps this gives her a slight edge when putting on an American accent but I still feel she does extremely well with a Southern Accent.

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Dominic West in The Wire

Plays: A Baltimore cop with Irish Descent

Origin: Sheffield, UK

Dominic is another English actor who plays a leading role in an American TV show. His accent as cop Jimmy McNulty is pretty awesome, but I feel it is lacking a little which is why I decided to not include him in my top 3.

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TOP 3

 

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#3 – Idris Elba in The Wire

Plays: Baltimore Drug Lord 

Origin: London, UK

Idris Elba is a terrific actor and he has shown time and again that he is capable of an excellent American accent. He is most famous for his role as Stringer Bell on HBO’s the wire  which he pulled off terrifically. 

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#2 – Ryan Kwanten in True Blood

Plays: The dim southern brother of main character Sookie Stackhouse.

Origin: Sydney, Australia.

I had no idea Ryan was not American until I heard him talking on a cast commentary. I had to double check online because I was so surprised at how different he sounded from his character. In my opinion, Ryan’s accent is by the far the best Southern Accent I’ve heard in a TV show which is why he gets the 2nd spot in my top 3.

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#1 – Lennie James in Jericho and The Walking Dead

Plays: Mysterious ex-cop in Jericho.

Origin: Nottingham, UK

Lennie James is known for his roles as Richard Hawkins in Jericho and Morgan Jones in The Walking Dead. He certainly doesn’t get as much publicity as he should and I feel he is massively underrated as an actor. For those of you who watched his most recent performance as Morgan in The Walking Dead I am sure you agree that he is a terrific actor. But what makes him outstanding is his accent. Lennie is actually British but he has the most convincing American accent I have ever heard. In my opinion, what makes him particularly convincing is his decision to adopt a less generic American accent.  I’m certainly hoping to see more of him in the future seasons of The Walking Dead

 

Is there anyone I missed? Who do you think does a terrific American accent? I am British so I am interesting in whether or not Americans agree with my choices. 

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