Why don''t American actors ever seem to get upset with the hiring of British for big film roles by U.S. directors?
..especially since British film makers seem so xenophobic in their own hiring process and have an obvious bias against U.S. actors?\
I thought of this while reading the Daniel Day-Lewis Lincoln thread.\
There is NO way a British director would ever hire an American to portray Churchill or any other great, iconic British character.\
There also seem to be a disproportionate amount of British actor on the U.S. stage, on television as well as film.\
And no, I don''t agree that British actors are any better in general. \
Why can''t the American entertainment community help out its own a little more?
Not an actor, just curious.
"..especially since British film makers seem so xenophobic in their own hiring process and have an obvious bias against U.S. actors?"%0D\
Huh? They aren''t xenophobic, there just aren''t that many Hollywood stars who want to do British films. They''d rather stay in LA and make Hollywood films for more money%0D\
Because the Americans realize that Brits are a giant''s head and shoulders above them in terms of craft and technique. Just can''t stop the English beat.
R2, shouldn''t you be flossing your teeth, or paying the queen your weekly paycheck or something?
P.S., the entire planet hates you
because American actors want to work with great British actors. American actors also want to work with great actors from Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Hong Kong, etc.\
And many British and other non-U.S. actors want to work with great American actors as well. \
The crux of the matter is this:\
is it the U.K. or the U.S. who are making the great majority of feature films in English?\
Yes, you guessed it. U.S.\
[quote]And no, I don''t agree that British actors are any better in general%0D\
Then it will be impossible to answer your question.
I heard a BBC call-in show and a lot of folks are apparently pissed off that Meryl Streep is playing Maggie Thatcher. Talk about a double standard.
There is a difference between actors and film stars. The US produces lots of film stars--people who never studied acting or appeared on stage or learned the craft before they became "stars". The UK tends to produce actors, rather than stars.
Since you claimed their country, they should be able to claim your roles :-D
sorry, i mean... since THEY claimed your country... whoopsie daisy!
When you have another national playing an American, it''s a crap shoot:\
Jude Law & Nicole Kidman Cold Mountain\
Naomi Watts, who seems to be the go-to foreign actor to play an American\
Can''t think of anyone who did great as an American, but they''re there.\
but just thought of Ewan Macgregor (yum) in that Polanski thing. He can''t play an American (or Brit) to save his life.\
I have no idea what the point of this post is, except that I don''t see anything with Kidman, Watts or Lawe (except Sherlock Holmes)
I''ll shut up now
How about those Australians, OP?
Hugh, Nicole, Naomi...
R7 is on the money.
Wasn''t there a big stink when Squinty was picked to play Bridget Jones?
OP, you're wrong.
Meryl Streep is about to play Margaret Thatcher.
Gwyneth Paltrow has often worked with British directors, often playing Brits (not very well). Julianne Moore and Renee Zelwegger have often worked with British directors, often playing Brits (excceedingly well).
Kenneth Branagh casts Americans very often, even in Shakespeare:
Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Robert Sean Leonard, and Michael Keaton in Much Ado About Nothing (none of them were very good but that's beside the point).
Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Charlton Heston, and Jack Lemmon in Hamlet.
Nathan Lane and Alicia Silverstone in Love's Labors Lost.
Rita Rudner in Peter's Friends.
Andy Garcia in Dead Again.
Oliver Parker filmed Othello with Laurence Fishburne and The Importance of Being Earnest with Reese Witherspoon, each a quinessentially American actor taking on a canonical roles of the British/Irish theater. And doing a damn good job.
When the British Stephen Frears made his brilliant Dangerous Liaisons, whom did he cast in the major roles? Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Mildred Natwick and Swoosie Kurtz. All American actors. Actors whom most likely would not have been cast in a film of a classic French novel if it had been made by an American director at that time.
In Mary Reilly, also set in England, Frears cast Malkovich and Close again and for his star chose Julia Roberts. It is unlikely that any American director would have chosen American actors for these roles.
Frears recently adapted Collette's Cherie and cast Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates, two women whom might well not have gotten these roles in an American-directed version of a classic French novel.
When Richard Loncraine directed Ian McKellan as Richard III he cast Annette Bening as Elizabeth and Robert Downey Jr. as Rivers. It is hard to imagine any American director casting American actors in these roles for a major big screen adaptation.
David Lean worked with many American actors: Rod Steiger, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Constance Cummings.
Alfred Hitchcock while still working in England worked with Silvia Sidney as well as many non British actors from countries other than the U.S.
Many Americans, other non-Brits, or immigrants to Britain from other countries have done important work in British film or television among them Anne Bancroft, Barbara Hershey, Leslie Caron, Alida Valli, Elisabeth Bergner, Peter Lorre; Gillian Anderson, John Barrowman and Constance Cummings (American immigrants); Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Linney, Juliette Binoche, Simone Signoret, Ellen Burstyn, Elaine Stritch, Mia Farrow, Irene Jacob, and that doesn't even begin to count the many Canadian, South African and Australian actors who have had major careers in the U.K.
OP is obviously a troll
I was pissed about Nicole Kidman and Jude Law in Cold Mountain when I heard about it. Then I saw it. Great performances.
I''ve been wondering the same thing, OP. Don''t worry about though, they only have but so many people who''s mug are passable for American television.
Because if the US entertainment industry blocks out non-Americans, then nobody outside the USA will buy the products. Films, music, TV sell, often more outside the USA. Look at Country Music. They forced Australian Country Star, Keith Urban to move to Nashville, before they allowed him in. Nobody but America has a country music scene today. (aside from some Country stars performing abroad to mostly US troops)\
Imagine the entire American entertainment industry going the way of Country Music. 100% American, white, Christian heterosexual and Republican. Is that what you want OP?
I read somewhere that due to some kind of acting union rules or something like that, non-American actors are much cheaper to hire than their American counterpart A-list movie stars. At least that''s the reason so many Brits and Aussies play American tv characters.
What annoys me more are those who have no issue with Brits winning all of the awards, but if an African-American does, there''s an uproar. It''s always a questionable decision or it''s claimed they won because they were black.
And I''m not black, just a longtime DLer who can read
I find it hard to believe an adequate NY actor couldn''t be found to play Liam Neeson''s role in his latest movie where he plays a New Yorker. \
I also find it hard to believe they couldn''t find an adequate American to play his role in "Taken" since he couldn''t do an American or French accent.
Anyone who would be upset with Daniel Day-Lewis playing Lincoln, PARTICULARLY after the preternaturally authentic job he did in There Will Be Blood and Gangs of New York, must not have an appreciation for the craft. \
He is a really great actor. He looks, feels, smells, acts, is like a daguerrotype dude come to life.
[quote]Julianne Moore and Renee Zelwegger have often worked with British directors, often playing Brits (exceedingly well).\
Both are terrible at playing brits and they aren''t much better at playing yanks either.
Since the 60s when Jack Clayton chose Anne Bancroft for The Pumpkin Eater and Bryan Forbes chose Kim Stanley for Seance on a Wet Afternoon, both of which were huge critical successes, both in and out of the U.K., for both the directors and the actresses, English directors have proven time and time again a willingness and enthusiasm to work with American actors, even in typically British roles. And neither the British public nor the acting community has protested.\
OP you are completely wrong. Sometimes I wish you weren''t. If you were right, Gwyneth Paltrow would never have stolen Cate Blanchett''s oscar.\
And, as been pointed, out Meryl Streep is about to play Thatcher.
I''m sure some of them get upset in private, but criticizing a director or producer in public could cost you work.
if that''s true, r25, the question is why? Americans have a long history of enjoying English actors, many of whom have had very successful Hollywood careers, and American actors often looking forward to working with English actors.... one would think this would work in reverse.\
Sure, a few people cringed at giving Scarlett O''Hara to a relatively unkown Brit at the time, but they were idiots, and most of them quickly changed their tune when they saw what Leigh did with that role and for that movie.
It seems to me this started with Aussies playing Americans. There was Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series starting back in 1987. Then, in 1995, there was LA Confidential, where Aussies Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Simon Baker all played Americans. Not English, but in the Commonwealth.
[quote]Julianne Moore and Renee Zelwegger have often worked with British directors, often playing Brits (exceedingly well).\
[quote]Both are terrible at playing brits and they aren''t much better at playing yanks either.\
I thought Moore did a lousy job in A Single Man, but I loved Zelwegger in the first Bridget Fonda movie.
I think Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the BEST actors of his generation and also working in film today. He''s extraordinary. I think having him play Lincoln is great casting. I can see him bring a great deal of brooding and introspectiveness to the part--plus he definitely has the height. \
I''m curious who will play Mary Todd Lincoln. Someone suggested Holly Hunter in another thread. I''m thinking they may go with someone slightly younger. I can''t think offhand of an actress who could play her.
Dawn French IS Mary Todd Lincoln.
make it Brits 2 4 2
Oh please. Both Daniel Day Lewis and Liam Neeson live in the US and have for years. And Mel Gibson was born and raised in American until he was about 12 years old. \
They hardly qualify as foreigners.
Ooo goodie. I can post this here. \
Peter Jackson got a lot of press claiming that the Hobbit should be kept in NZ and NZ non-union actors used beside union ones. \
Who does PJ hire? Brits! Don''t care (won''t see it) but why make such a big deal of hiring NZ actors? Only Craig Parker (yum) had a major role in LOTR.\
I agree with the poster who said that it''s for international box office.
Daniel Day Lewis lives in Ireland, as far as I have ever heard.
"There is NO way a British director would ever hire an American to portray Churchill or any other great, iconic British character."\
Guy R. & Robert D.
If Hollywood wants global appeal they need global talent.\
Look at Bollywood. Do you think Bollywood is ever going break into the World scene, outside of India? Why?
It''s just another form of outsourcing we do in the U.S. In this case, we hire homely actors from abroad rather than using homegrown ones.
That''s a question I''ve had maybe our Brit friends can answer: Are Americans acting British as bad as they seem to me?
Mostly, R37. Mind you Sandra Oh was on a UK crime series recently and her English accent was very good.
That''s nice, R38, but British and Australian actors mangle/drop the American accent all the time, and nobody bats an eye.%0D\
Non-American actors aren''t judged as harshly for doing US accents as US actors are when they attempt an English or Irish accent. Example: on his TV series SONS OF ANARCHY, Charlie Hunnam cannot maintain a US accent to save his life, yet the Americans cast as Irish are roundly ridiculed for their "Oirish" accents. Anthony LaPaglia doesn''t even try to sound American in most of his Stateside projects.%0D\
Even US viewers are harder on Americans attempting foreign accents (or for not attempting one at all). %0D
However Brits are very critical of Hugh Laurie as House. He dosen''t even sound American to us.
[quote]Rita Rudner in Peter''s Friends. Andy Garcia in Dead Again.\
Yes, but they were both playing Americans (and Dead Again was set and filmed in Hollywood).
I know that''s true sometimes r39 but often, especially on TV, I''ll get attached to an actor and be shocked to learn they aren''t American--like Rachel Griffiths or that guy on The Wire. I doubt American actors often pull that off--although I was surprised to hear Jennifer Ehle''s American accent after her wonderful Elizabeth Bennet, but her mother''s English . .
[quote]Non-American actors aren''t judged as harshly for doing US accents as US actors are when they attempt an English or Irish accent. \
Really? You''ve obviously never read any UK newspaper tv columns. Hugh Laurie, Charlie Hunnam, Stephen Moyer, James McAvoy and Jonny lee Millar have all be roundly mocked for trying to do US accents. The question is always asked here why US actors didn''t get the roles these people are playing.
Which guy on The Wire, R42? Both Dominic West and Idris Elba have awful American accents. Dominic West slips out of it often (multiple times during each show), while Idris doesn''t have any recognizable dialect...just a flat accent that doesn''t resemble anyone I''ve ever heard before. \
During the first season of "The Mentalist", Simon Baker was pretty good at maintaining an American accent, but there have been at least 1 or 2 times per episode this year where he just flat out used his Aussie accent.
I find it distracting generally when Brits play Americans and vice versa. IMO, even if the actor is good at it, the result is a kind of denatured, generic accent that doesn''t feel lived-in. I think it gets in the way of their performance too.
I wonder how the Aussies feel -- they virtually never get to do performances in their own voice. It must be kind of a drag.... every role has this extra demand of the accent.
I used to think British-born Jake Weber did the most godawful pseudo-American accent I''d ever heard... then someone told me his godawful pseudo-American accent is his real accent.
yes, but r41 you''re missing the point: given the number of Brits and Australians who play Americans in American vehicles (currently we have Ryan Kwanten, Rachel Griffiths, Anthony LaPaglia, Melanie Lynskey, Anna Paquin and Toni Collette just to name six Australians and Kiwis playing Americans on American television alone), isn''t it worth noting that Rudner and Garcia played Americans in Branagh-helmed vehicles, especially since they were listed merely as two examples of many in which Branagh cast American actors, the great majority of instances of which were classic, non-American roles?
r39 you are so completely wrong on LaPaglia, whose American accent was flawless in, for example, The House of Mirth.
Agreed, R45. I think it helps if you''ve never heard the actor speak in their local accent though. I didn''t even know the woman on Thorne (Sandra Oh) was American. I just assumed she was a Brit who had lived out of the country for a couple of years.
I thought Daniel Day Lewis lives in Manhattan now?
huh? as far as I know there is nothing supernatural about the authenticity of Day Lewis''s performances; it''s not as if he''s channeling Edwin Booth.
Yeah, I meant Dominic West, r44, but I think what you''re saying is silly. Maybe if you''re laying in wait and know he''s British you can find "slips" but I had no idea he wasn''t American.
No, r48, because the OP''s theme is Brits playing Americans, and you listed some very good examples of Americans who''ve played Brits, but those two don''t count - they were Americans playing Americans, one in a British movie, one in an American movie.
r42, Jennifer Ehle grew up half in the U.S. - her mother Rosemary Harris, though English, is one of the great ladies of the New York stage, and I believe her father is from North Carolina - and half in U.K.
This entire thread is one seriously pissed off American actor who just lost a gig to a Brit.
I heart both Jennifer Ehle & her mother Rosemary Harris! Is RM gone from the Spiderman movie series as well? She MADE that move great btw.
Yes R28, Ren%C3%A9e was STUPENDOUS as Bridget Fonda!!
they do probably. I once saw Matthew Rhys on the Jimmy Kimmel Show and Kimmel gave him a hard time about stealing American jobs. It was in jest but there was a grain of truth to it. Rhys said it evens out because a lot of Americans play the West End.
Britain and it''s people, including actors, is our lineage. Nothing will ever change that. One of the manifestations of this forever-connection is our pleasure in interacting with Brits at all levels of commerce including movie making. There is a natural affection between Brits and Americans that can not be denied.
Because there are precious few American actors that can act well enough and pull of a perfect English accent.
There is no such thing as a perfect English accent, even for the English themselves.
R50 & R38 Sandra Oh is not American, she''s Canadian.
All right then -- a CONVINCING accent.
What about what''s her name Jean-Baptiste, on Missing. She did a great accent.
My accents are usually flawless.
Sam Worthington in "Avatar." Oy.
Oh, OK R63. She''s still a foreigner managing a very good, appropriate, British English accent in a UK TV series. It''s rare enough to be worth commenting on.
First %E2%80%93 the American film and TV industry is, for better or worse, the most powerful in the world, so naturally many actors try to be part of it and the benefits it offers. It was always that way. The level of fame and money one can get (if successful) in Hollywood is unmatched anywhere else. Add to this the inherent inferiority complex Americans have toward the Brits %E2%80%93 and bingo.%0D\
Another thing %E2%80%93 many if not most trained British actors are almost conditioned not to use their own accent %E2%80%93 there''s the standard one they all practice when playing the classics and anyway, if they don''t want to be regionally typecast they must be able to sport varied British accents in order to be employed in their own country, so in a way, an American accent is just one more for them to practice. %0D
You seem to have the big issue with it and want others to join in your second revolution against the bditish. I mean what here was nothing wrong with Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Holmes in both fims or other films Americans have played in British roles.
What matters is the ability of the actor to perform and if it'sdone well it sshouldn't matter where they are from!
Gangs of New York York is a a good example of what you are saying and the point I am making, fantastic film!
British actors are better in general.
Actors with a theatrical background are better, in general. It has nothing to do with their nationality.
The same reason we're now inundated with all sorts of woggy MDs and nurses, engineers and accountants.
I've noticed this growing trend of Brits and Aussies taking roles where you could have easily found an American to do it, and basically bringing nothing unique to the table.
For example in the TV show Nashville, they use a British actor Sam Palladio and Australian actress Clare Bowen to play country singers. You can't tell me that there was so much difficulty in finding an American to play these parts. Non American's playing country singers tend to do what these two do, slur their words in kind of a generic accent and mumble a lot making them difficult to understand.
Then you have shows like The New Normal hiring a British actress to play Goldie. Why? Is Hollywood running out of cutesy American blond actresses now.
Then you find out that there's a Brit that's playing Brody on Homeland. I mean I know you have an advantage in having an over supply of gingers in the UK, but come on. We couldn't find an American to play an American soldier.
Bad enough most of these shows have a severe shortage of ethnic minorities, now it looks like we're outsourcing to find more generic white actors and actresses.
R74 -- this is the reason people from Hollywood were for so long kept out of the country club. They bring damage and decay and self pity and poverty and chaos.
Once the Hollywood people got in, we've never been the same. And they are just a world unto themselves.
Across the board British film actors are ten times better. America just gives an acting job to anyone with a decent face even if they're painfully talentless...like the uber popular Channing Tatum although I think he looks like a pug.
I totally disagree. Every time I watch TV series like "the good wife" I see wonderful actors - who I'm sure have a theatrical background - that have absolutely nothing to envy to their British colleagues.
R77, I'm not saying all US film actors suck but comparatively the US is dragging ass next to GB in terms of sheer talent. Also, you assume an awful lot about their level of training.
The funniest example of R74's point is a show that came and went last year named "Made in Jersey" about a girl from New Jersey joining a fancy New York law firm. The lead was a British actress because apparently this is the kind of demanding role no American could handle.
American actors are too much about their image, and what things they will and will not do on screen. The Brits see it as a job, not a lifestyle, and agree to do what they sign up for, rather than pitching hissy fits once the cameras start rolling. In other words, they're professional. And they almost always have stage backgrounds, which is the grounding for any real actor.
R80 I agree on the importance of the stage backgrounds.
But there's a difference between Hollywood and the New York scene. I think that the "good" actors remain in New York where you can do theatre.
The adorable Alan Cumming - British - is not better than Denis o'Hare - American -: they are both underrated wonderful actors.
Then there is the exception of Daniel Day Lewis who doesn't do theatre but is one of our greatest thespians.
[quote]British actors are better in general.
Please! Maybe the older ones, but the younger generation of British actors can't act worth shit. Just watch a movie with Robert Pattinson, Gerard Butler (Scottish, but part of the UK) or Henry Cavill in it and then get back to me about how great British actors are.
OP, you're an idiot.
[quote] Then there is the exception of Daniel Day Lewis who doesn't do theatre but is one of our greatest thespians.
DDL did used to do theatre. He played Hamlet, with Judi Dench as Gertrude.
Yes, you're right but how many years ago?
What R83 said.
The American film industry is so left leaning these days they know that they are losing money because of it. Hiring Brits seems a way around this issue. Most Americans like Brit actors (as they are good) and as long as they keep their mouths shut about our politics the American film companies can make money.
It's that simple.
The premise of this thread is so juvenile and insipid, it should really be ignored. However, I'm here and reading, so here goes. .. There is an international community of actors. Some excellent, some very good, some not so good, and some who are lousy. A film maker can go anywhere and use whomever he wishes. It's his/her call, for better or worse. His brainchild, vision, what have you. There are no neat little categories based on nationality or background, or technical abilities or the lack thereof. It's an ART FORM, for Christ's sake! And this is the 21st. century. Get with the program. Buy a ticket, take your seat and enjoy!
[quote]"..especially since British film makers seem so xenophobic in their own hiring process and have an obvious bias against U.S. actors?" Huh? They aren't xenophobic, there just aren't that many Hollywood stars who want to do British films. They'd rather stay in LA and make Hollywood films for more money
You can tell which posts are from Brit trash by the defensiveness.
Casting directors who haven't had sex in 20 years love British accents and think they might get some dick if they give them the role. But...they don't. Expect a huge anti-Brit wave in a few years.
To reply to your statement, British director, Phyllida Lloyd, did hire American actress Meryl Streep to play former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But for the most part it goes downs to accents. British actors are TERRIFIC with putting on American accents, but the same cannot be said vice-versa. But it is a bit annoying to see British actors in American roles.
Dennis O'Hare is good.
They should be using NY theatre actors more. Then you'd have real competition with the British actors.
The people Hollywood uses in movies are messed-up kids and bimbos meant to appeal to teens, not real actors that can convey complex emotion and thought.
Some American actors have been good at British accents. Meryl Streep was pitch perfect (of course), but so was Gwynneth Paltrow and (much as i detest her) Renee Zellweger.
British actors see the transition to Hollywood as their entry to the big time, but often it is the beginning of the end for them as artists. Only a few (Anthony Hopkins eg) survive.
R92 - I agree that most American actors are terrible at putting on British accents, but I also think most British actors are pretty terrible with American accents. There are a notable few who do it well, but most of them are just as unskilled at it as their American counterparts.
I just think American critics/audiences are less picky about it. They don't even expect American actors to do American regional accents correctly. Compare that with how British critics/audiences react when an actor (be they British or American) doesn't nail a British regional accent. They're vicious.
Americans are only given the lead in British productions if an American is paying the bills.
British pros who come to Hollywood always favor people from their own country, as do Aussies and Mexicans. Americans by and large won't discriminate based on nationality, but immigrants almost always do.
R95 is correct that American audiences seem to be more forgiving of terrible accents. I've seen many, many tv shows and movies where Australian actors are speaking in an atrocious US accent, and expected to see them ripped to shreds for their efforts, but US reviewers and audiences either don't seem to pick up on it, or don't care. In fact they are often praised, which I find mystifying.
I just read about The British Invasion, a web series in development which is a Tootsie-like comedy about an American actor who fakes being British to get work. That one sounds like fun with the right actor.
These disgusting Brits need to stay in their own country and stop taking jobs from American actors.
I'm just better than you.
Kate Nelligan in Plenty.
I'm a Londoner and can vouch that Renee was utterly convincing not only in Bridget Jones with her North London accent, but also in Miss Potter with a different upper crust English accent, also I cringe at Hugh Laurie and Damian Lewis attempts. Gillian Anderson also has a good English accent. Reese Witherspoons was laughable.
It shouldn't bug me, but it does. But most US actors are more concerned with paychecks than the actual roles that they are playing. Actors from the UK/Australia/New Zealand and even Canada are simply better.
I don't get you point r101. Kate Nelligan wasn't hired for the film and we had an Australian director.
Benedict Cumberbatch is extremely talented. Anyone know if he nailed the southern accent for August Osage County?
Cumberbatch seemed good in the August trailer. I thought he was impressive and I'm not really too familiar with him. Does he play a mentally challenged character? He seemed to be playing some sort of impairment.
Because Americans don't have the wit, education or restraint possessed by the British.