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Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

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Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Old 08-22-11, 08:20 AM
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Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Last night, I watched "No Country for Old Men" and became interested in the girl who played Carla Jean Moss. IMDB showed me that the character was played by Kelly Macdonald and she is from the UK. Wow, she totally nailed a southern accent in this role.


And this is not the first time I've discovered that a southern character is being played by someone from the UK. In Robert Duvall's "The Apostle", Miranda Richardson totally convinced me that she was a sweet gal from Alabama or Lousiana. In fact, I originally thought she was one of the locales that Duvall recruited for the film. I was floored to find out she is from England near Liverpool.

I'm sure I've come across many other examples, but that's all that comes to mind right now. Anyone else notice this trend. I wonder if there is a reason why Brits can pull off an American Southern accent so well? That's something a lot of American actors can't do.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:22 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

The guy that plays Jason on True Blood has the most authentic southern accent on the show... and he's Australian.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:26 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Kelly McDonald in No Country is Scottish. Anna Paquin in True Blood is from New Zealand. I know there's got to be ton of others. So I guess it's not just Brits who can pull it off, but most non-US actors. Guess US actors just suck by comparison with accents.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:29 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

I think part of it is a matter of northerners not knowing what a "good" southern accent is supposed to sound like. "If he shoots his guns in the air and shouts YEEE-HAW that's good enough for me!"
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Old 08-22-11, 08:58 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I think part of it is a matter of northerners not knowing what a "good" southern accent is supposed to sound like. "If he shoots his guns in the air and shouts YEEE-HAW that's good enough for me!"

Josh Brolin pulled off a pretty good accent in No Country. However, the film gets most of its authentic flavor from a rich cast borned and raised in the south. If you want some good Texas accents, just call Tommy Lee Jones, Tess Harper or Barry Corbin.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:10 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

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Old 08-22-11, 09:42 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I think part of it is a matter of northerners not knowing what a "good" southern accent is supposed to sound like. "If he shoots his guns in the air and shouts YEEE-HAW that's good enough for me!"
This... People think that all southern accents are the same. In fact Jason and Sookie's accents should be different considering they are from Lousianna.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:51 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Stephen Moyer (Vampire Bill) occasionally sneaks in a bit of his own English accent when he's saying something frustrated or speaking very quickly, but his voice is part of why I like his character so much.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:11 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Yeah, I when I first NCFOM, I was amazed she was from Scotland.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:21 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Good actors can pull off good accents at times?

But yeah..if you want a Texas accent. TLJ is the man to give that Texas character a life just by his visual appearance...cuz he is it. Makes me appreciate it even more when I watch Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
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Old 08-22-11, 03:41 PM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Vampire Bill has that weird sounding Confederate accent.
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Old 08-23-11, 02:23 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Not just a Southern thing

American actors better at British accents OR British better at American accents?
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Old 08-23-11, 07:22 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Because they're used to talking funny

JK, probably has something to do with the fact that they learn to drop their natural accents early on in order to get work in the US, so learing particular dialects is a natural extension of that.
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Old 08-23-11, 09:41 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

As a kid, I thought for sure that Vincent Price was British because he sound like he had that accent. Found out later that he was American-born.
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Old 08-23-11, 10:54 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Originally Posted by dom56 View Post
As a kid, I thought for sure that Vincent Price was British because he sound like he had that accent. Found out later that he was American-born.
...and from the south, too (St. Louis, Missouri).
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Old 08-23-11, 11:24 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

I'm not sure on this (I don't travel much). But I'd imagine that they're also blasted with American TV/Movies from an early age.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:15 PM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

On the flipside, Daniel Davis, who people might remember best as Niles (the butler) on THE NANNY or Prof. Moriarty on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION is actually a Southerner (from Arkansas) who had me fooled for years as being a British actor.
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Old 08-23-11, 04:00 PM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Originally Posted by Boba Fett View Post
On the flipside, Daniel Davis, who people might remember best as Niles (the butler) on THE NANNY or Prof. Moriarty on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION is actually a Southerner (from Arkansas) who had me fooled for years as being a British actor.
Huh, I didn't know that. I thought the same thing about Paul Benedict, who played Bentley, the neighbor on The Jeffersons. After he died a couple of years ago, I was surprised to learn he was born in New Mexico.
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Old 08-28-11, 09:53 AM
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Re: Why Are English Actors so Good with Southern Accents?

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Darn it, once I read the thread I'd linked to I realized it was the wrong one. The one I was thinking of was more recent and in the TV forum. Sorry about that.

How many current shows have someone faking an American accent?
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