I was watching TV the other night and thinking how I’m continuously impressed by Ryan Cartwright’s American accent on Alphas. If I hadn’t seen him in Bones and Mad Men, I’d never know he was faking it. He’s not the only one though. There are a lot of foreign actors (with very nice accents) who disguise their voices in order to snag roles. Putting on a different accent is a skill that even some of the best actors cannot master. Below are my picks for the best fake accents on television.
Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt, Grey’s Anatomy
Scottish born McKidd plays a US Army surgeon turned Seattle Grace attending who was introduced in season five. Dr. Hunt specializes in trauma surgery and is married to Christina Yang. McKidd has a great voice even with his American accent. I chose him because the Scottish accent is notoriously difficult to disguise (think Sean Connery) but he does a great job of it.
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead
Lincoln is a London born English actor who currently stars as Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. His character is from Kentucky and Lincoln mimics the accent from that part of the country very well. I’ve seen him in a couple of British films like Love Actually but it still doesn’t stick out that he’s faking the accent.
Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl
Also born in London, Westwick has appeared on a few British television shows but is best known for his role as Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl. Chuck is New York City born and bred and Westwick does such a great job with his American accent that I was truly shocked to hear his real accent.
Cast of True Blood
What’s funny about True Blood and its Southern setting is that none of the leads are American. Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) is Canadian, Stephen Moyer (King Bill) is English and Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman) is Swedish. Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse) is Australian and even some of the American actors must put on an accent because a lot of them are not from Louisiana or that part of the States. A majority of the actors do an outstanding job, seldom letting their accents slip and really putting the extra effort into making the audience believe they’re Bon Temps residents, most notably Ryan Kwanten, Alexander Skarsgård and Kristin Bauer.
Ryan Cartwright as Gary Bell, Alphas
Cartwright is an English actor from Birmingham (the UK, not Alabama). This is the first role I’ve seen him in where he doesn’t use his British accent and I think he really nails the American accent and does a fantastic job portraying the autistic Gary Bell.
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, House
This list wouldn’t be complete without Laurie. Even knowing he’s English and seeing him on House since 2004, I’m continually impressed with how well he does with putting on an American accent. See for yourself below and let me know if I’ve missed any of your favorite actors with fake accents.
Hugh Laurie Interview
Jen is a writer, Browncoat and member of the resistance. She’s working on a young adult urban fantasy called Slacker Heroes and makes room in her heart for both Bobby Drake and Batman. You can catch her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.