For some reason it seems that quite a few foreign actors do great United States accents. Look at guys like Hugh Laurie or Idris Elba. Actually it’s really the Brits who do it well. Anyway to find eight American actors who do great foreign accents, we had to do some digging. Doing a foreign accent isn’t easy. My British accent sounds way too cockney, and my Australian accent sounds, um, British. It’s just awful.
Here are eight American actors who, unlike your faithful author, are able to speak with a foreign accent convincingly:
Viggo Mortensen as Nikoli Luzhin in Eastern Promises (Russian)
I think Viggo is half-Danish, but he was born in New York, so that makes him American for our purposes. Watch the above clip to hear Viggo talk about his Academy Award nominated role and listen to his excellent Russian accent.
Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda (Rwandan)
Don Cheadle delivers a terrific Rwandan accent in the above clip. Cheadle also did a great British accent in Ocean’s 11, but his performance in Hotel Rwanda is certainly more impressive.
Robert Downey, Jr. as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder (Australian)
In Tropic Thunder, Downey plays Australian Kirk Lazarus, an actor who is playing the role of a black man in a Vietnam movie. Downey’s “black” voice is comical – and maybe a bit overdone – but his Australian accent is spot on. He also did a pretty good Australian accent in Natural Born Killers.
Brad Pitt as Mickey O’Neill in Snatch (Irish/Pikey)
Why the f*&^ do I want a caravan that’s got no f*&^g wheels? Pitt’s a tremendous actor, and I love when he takes these “silly” roles.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Danny Archer in Blood Diamond (Rhodesian)
It seems like doing a good foreign accent is the best way to get noticed by the Academy. In the above clip, DiCaprio talks about becoming Danny Archer. I think Leo’s got to be in any conversation about who the best actor in the world is right now.
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary (British)
Zellweger gained 20 pounds and nailed the British accent for this movie to earn herself an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress. Say what you want about Zellweger, but she does sound British in this movie.
Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (Ugandan)
Whitaker won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his uncanny portrayal of the brutal Idi Amin. This is one of the best acting performances I have ever seen, and Whitaker’s Ugandan accent is just perfect. In this clip, director Kevin McDonald talks about just how great Whitaker was.
Mickey Rourke as Martin Fallon in A Prayer For The Dying (Irish)
Before he was playing an old, washed-up wrestler, Rourke was just owning Irish accents. This one is one of the most convincing ones I’ve heard.
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