Author Topic: Are British actors better than American actors?  (Read 2023 times)

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Offline Welsh Wench

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Are British actors better than American actors?
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:50:39 AM »
I've been thinking about this after a week of Dr Who.

I came across this on the BBC website--

Many U.S. casting directors believe that British actors are better trained than their American counterparts, use their bodies and voices more effectively, have more facility with accents, and are more skilled at comedy. How much do you agree with this?

I have to agree. The great ones all come from Britain.
Olivier...Guinness...Burton....Rickman...O'Toole....Harris....

Any thoughts? I think because most are trained in the theatre on Shakespeare.
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 10:47:54 AM »
It seems to me, that is the case, in general at least. Look at all the actors who play American characters. Some of these folks, you're seeing for the first time, and have no idea that they are Brits, or Aussies, or what-have-you, because their accents are spot on.  I had NO idea Bob Hoskins was from the UK. I always thought he was from NYC.

Then you get Robin Hood with no English accent at all...

There are some truly fine and well-trained actors from the US, but I'm not sure that glamour isn't the draw for many, rather than craft.
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Offline Rowan MacD

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 11:25:23 AM »
   The possible exception to the rule seems to be Johnathon Rhys Meyers (remember Henry VIII from The Tudors?);D  He is currently doing a series on network TV-Dracula-where he plays the title role.

  Yeah, he's technically Irish, but he has a truly horrible Yankee accent on Dracula.  It makes me wince.  I can't tell what part of the country he's going for, but his version of an American accent sounds exceedingly weird.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 11:27:34 AM by Rowen MacD »
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Offline Gauwyn of Bracknell

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 11:36:10 AM »
On another note - their TV programming in general is much better than ours - they seem to have much more character development.
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 09:13:23 PM »
   The possible exception to the rule seems to be Johnathon Rhys Meyers (remember Henry VIII from The Tudors?);D  He is currently doing a series on network TV-Dracula-where he plays the title role.

  Yeah, he's technically Irish, but he has a truly horrible Yankee accent on Dracula.  It makes me wince.  I can't tell what part of the country he's going for, but his version of an American accent sounds exceedingly weird.

Okay, I haven't seen the series, but I did a quick look at the series synopsis. He's only posing as an American? One might actually expect his accent to be off, would they not? I'm asking here, not arguing your analysis...
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Offline LadyFae

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2013, 03:53:18 PM »
I also believe that J R-M's terrible American accent in Dracula is TOTALLY purposeful! I've heard him do many other American accents- different dialects, and he has been great.
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Offline RefMom3

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2013, 09:55:17 AM »
I don't know about the Dracula series (my kids don't let me watch tv ;) ), but it always seemed to me that British actors had a stronger leaning toward the stage, while American actors seemed more bent on tv or movies, and they're very different in terms of training.
It's also not unreasonable for the British casting directors to hire homegrown actors simply because they are more familiar with them. When you have a pool of people with whom you've already worked, or have experience with their representation, I don't think you're going to feel you need to check a different pool.

Offline Rowan MacD

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2013, 10:20:52 AM »
I also believe that J R-M's terrible American accent in Dracula is TOTALLY purposeful! I've heard him do many other American accents- different dialects, and he has been great.
  I may be on purpose-but I can't figure out what he's trying for...Southern? East coast?  It may be just me, but its' distracting. 
  I love the show, it has a Sherlock Holmes vibe that works; but I would listen to just about any other character than his.   
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Offline Lady Nicolette

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2013, 03:23:57 PM »
I think it also has something to do with the unfortunate fact that there are truly a lot more exceptional productions, perhaps because of how many productions are funded that emerge from Great Britain.  Here is an interesting read from BFI's site:

 https://www.google.com/search?q=british+film+industry+typical+funding&rlz=1C1TSNO_enUS474US474&oq=british+film+industry+typical+funding&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.8295j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

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Offline Sir Ironhead

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2013, 04:28:38 PM »
Not all the great ones came from England.

Newman, McQueen, Bogart, De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Hepburn, Bacall, Davis to name a few.
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Offline Lady Renee Buchanan

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2013, 04:33:05 PM »
I think a dedicated actor, no matter where he/she is from, who is willing to learn the trade in depth, and not just learn enough to make a slam-bang, car crashing blockbuster, can be from anywhere.

However, I am very biased.  I think English accents make anything sexier!  Even saying such mundane things as "cheese doodles, refrigerator magnets, fitted sheets" or whatever word comes out of an Englishman's mouth makes it sound so much more "elegant and posh," and people sound smarter than they really are (husband excluded, he really is smart!). ;D
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Offline RenStarr

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2013, 06:27:54 PM »
I think a dedicated actor, no matter where he/she is from, who is willing to learn the trade in depth, and not just learn enough to make a slam-bang, car crashing blockbuster, can be from anywhere.

However, I am very biased.  I think English accents make anything sexier!  Even saying such mundane things as "cheese doodles, refrigerator magnets, fitted sheets" or whatever word comes out of an Englishman's mouth makes it sound so much more "elegant and posh," and people sound smarter than they really are (husband excluded, he really is smart!). ;D


That's ironic Lady Renee that you mention English men being sexy due to their accent, I was reading the thread and thinking how sexy sounding are the Ladies from the UK! ;)
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2013, 06:32:41 PM »
Not all the great ones came from England.

Newman, McQueen, Bogart, De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Hepburn, Bacall, Davis to name a few.

LOL! I agree with all the names but one. McQueen had one mode, from all the flicks I have seen. He did, however, have some kind of draw. I cannot define what that was. Like Duke, not much for real acting, but the camera and audiences loved them.
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Offline Lady Nicolette

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2013, 10:00:27 PM »
Yes, they are, and I think a lot of it is cultural. In the States it's more about the fame, lifestyle, and selling a brand, whereas in the UK it's more about the craft. Of course there are always exceptions, but all that theater training across the pond produces a lot of talent.

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Offline Sir Ironhead

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2013, 01:30:09 PM »
Not all the great ones came from England.

Newman, McQueen, Bogart, De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Hepburn, Bacall, Davis to name a few.

LOL! I agree with all the names but one. McQueen had one mode, from all the flicks I have seen. He did, however, have some kind of draw. I cannot define what that was. Like Duke, not much for real acting, but the camera and audiences loved them.

I wrote that comment while watching "Cool Hand Luke".  You got me on McQueen, probably why I didn't list John Wayne as well, he'd be more of a cultural icon.
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2013, 05:15:17 PM »
Very true. I loved watching his [The Duke] westerns, but I don't think I could ever call him a good actor. Perhaps his best performance was when he was filming his own end, so to speak, in The Shootist, and I did like him in True Grit.  Glen Campbell was so bad in that film, it made Wayne look like Olivier.

Which Davis were you referring to?
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Offline Sir Ironhead

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2013, 09:37:38 PM »
Betty Davis
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2013, 11:19:52 AM »
Betty Davis
DOH! She didn't even come to mind...I hate getting old...
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Offline Sir Ironhead

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2013, 10:43:58 PM »
Betty Davis
DOH! She didn't even come to mind...I hate getting old...

Lol, I had to think long and hard on the spelling of her first name and still ain't positive I got it right
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2013, 07:26:26 AM »
Actually, Bette is how she spelled it. Her filmography and bio information available at IMDb.  She was rather amazing.  She had the lead in a TV mini-series that gave me nightmares -- The Dark Secret of Harvest Home. I think there is an abridged version out there, but to my knowledge, the full length movie was never released.
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Offline Sir Ironhead

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2013, 12:43:28 PM »
I was right, I did get it wrong  ;D
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Are British actors better than American actors?
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2013, 01:50:39 PM »
Well, one right and one wrong wins you a "Close, but no cigar!"   Staying warm, I trust, Sir Ironhead?
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