Tuesday, December 17, 2013

BINGING It: Actors you'd swear were, or were not Americans...

Just a while back, you read my Binge Blog on


the HBO series "True Blood", in which they take a gritty little fictitious town, deep in the back woods of Louisiana called Bon Temps (Good Times), and insert Vampires, Werewolves, Shape-Shifters, Witches and even Fae (Faeries) into the modern world, much the way Stephen King did in his novel "Salems Lot", sticking Dracula into Suburbia.

True Blood became an instant, breakout, runaway hit for much the same reasons that King has gone on to sell millions of copies of his books: by putting the extraordinary into everyday life.

The big reason for True Blood's continued popularity (besides a great story line and fantastic writing) has to be its cast: Anna Paquin (as the one and only Sookie Stackhouse), Stephen Moyer (as the lead vampire Bill) and Alex Skarsgard (as Eric, the Viking
vampire sheriff of Louisiana district five) as well as Ryan Kwanten (Sookie's brother Jason, a guy who claims to only be good at one thing: sex).

If you haven't seen True Blood as of yet, I highly recommend binging on it (Amazon has it for 1.99 per episode), at least for one season, and then consider this: Sookie Stackhouse, that sweet southern voiced darlin was born in Canada, and lived, most of her life--even considers herself to be Kiwi--in New Zealand.  

If that doesn't cause pause for thought: Vampire Bill, that ex-confederate soldier, 150+ year old southern gentleman is from the U.K.!  In fact, he was born and bred in Brentwood, Essex, U.K., where he began his acting career doing Shakespere.  

Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse) plays the true, southern bad boy.  He has the vernacular of a has-been all star high school quarterback, but he was born and raised in Sydney, Australia.  The Fabulous Feathermaye and I saw him in a cute little Aussy film called: "Giff The Invisible" in which he plays a simple-minded boy who thinks he's a superhero.  Hearing him speak with his natural, Australian accent, especially after being introduced to him as Jason Stackhouse, well... It sets you back a step or two.

This finding started us into a little research about some of our favorite actors.  We were startled more than once about a number of them...

Of course, we all know that Daniel Day Lewis can

pull off all manner of American dialect with great effect; but, did you know that Damien Lewis (Captain Winters in Band of Brothers) who starred as Los Angeles Police Detective Charlie Crews in the 2007 series "Life" and whom you most likely know
now as Nick Brody on the hit show "Homeland", was born and began his acting career in London, England.

Ewen McGregor is another one.  The "Trainspotting" Scotsman has done a

number of American roles, including "Big Fish" and Grimes in "Black Hawk Down".

And, let's not forget Best Supporting Actor Christian Bale as Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter".  Bale has done quite a few American roles, including--of course--"Bat

Man", as well as "American Psycho".

Hugh Laurie sounds as American as they come in the long-running show "House", but he's as British as they come in real life.

Of course, there are some that you knew were British when the film or show first came out: Jude Law was a well known Brit before he starred in "The Talented Mr. Ripley," and we knew Tim Roth was

British well before we ever saw him in "Reservoir Dogs".

Now, you may be asking yourself: are there any really good American actors who can play foreign, especially those all too critical Brit roles?  Let's try and keep it current, shall we?  I mean, guys like Brando, Dick Van Dyke were awesome in their day, but who can do it now?

Ask most folks from the U.K. and they'll tell you
that Johnny Depp does a few, very good U.K. dialects; after all, he is Captain Jack Sparrow.  

Of course, the same argument is in debate over Robert Downey Jr.
(Charlie Chapman, Sherlock Holmes).  And, some say that Denzel Washington worked the Queen's words in "Queen and Country", but these are the 'top of the A-listers'.  What about those guys that you know the faces, but not necessarily the names?  Are any of those guys a surprise when you find out they're Yanks?

Plano, Texas
Alan Tudyk is one of those, for me at least.   A classic American character actor, you've seen Alan in "Knights Tale" (...it's a lahnce, hello...) but he was born just down the road from where I sit writing this--Plano, Texas--and can put on just about any accent a role may require.

Peter Dinklage is another fine actor.  He plays the Dwarf on HBOs "Game of Thrones".  He was born and reared in
New Jersey
New Jersey, but there are many from the U.K. that would tell you his British accent is spot on.

Honorable mention must go out to Brad
Pitt for his role in "Snatch".  His Irish "Pikey" Traveler portrayal was simply incredible. 

And, let's not forget Forest Whitaker in "Crying Game", folks.  I've heard more
than one citizen of the U.K. tell of how surprised they were to find out later that he was American.

Of course, other than Sookie-Sookie mentioned above, I haven't even gotten to the girls yet... 

That's good fodder for Part two, isn't it?


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