Gotham Central wrote:
1) Most of the Brits in American entertainment are actually good actors that can effectively do an American accent. Having lived in the UK and seen plenty of British TV, I can assure you that there is no shortage of dodgy British actors that do questionable American accents. Actually, anyone that has ever watched Spooks/MI5 has probably seen a few of them.
2) Most British actors, indeed Brits in general are regularly exposed to American accents in the media.They watch our shows, listen to our music and Americans are regularly in their news. Thus they have a somewhat better sense of how we sound.
Americans have comparatively much less exposure to the range of British accents. Unless one is a regular consumer of British entertainment (like watching BBC America or seeking out British shows/news) you probably never hear a British accent. This is also why Australians can be just as good at the accent.
That's a good explanation. I just assumed that there was something within American speech that made it easier to mimic, like fewer colloquialisms and whatnot. I hadn't thought of what you outlined above.
Try to find a U.K. actor who can believably mimic one of the several American southern accents & now you've got someone with serious talent. Whereas mediocre Californian actors like Sam Elliot have made careers speaking with them. Even some of the best Brit actors, known for their voice work, like Oldman & Day-Lewis don't do them perfectly
The most natural sounding U.K actor mimicking the American South, that I've ever heard was Kelly MacDonald in No Country For Old Men. At the time I had no clue who she was, & never doubted for a second that she was Texan. I was stunned to find out she was Scottish.
Ciarán Hinds is Irish, but I thought he was pretty good as a southern politician on Political Animals