Actors often have to play roles well outside their wheelhouse. Whether they’re a sweetheart playing an evil villain or an adult who perpetually portrays teenagers, the gig demands the ability to play pretend. But one of the most impressive masks an actor can wear is that of a foreign citizen pretending to be American.
Most of the actors and actresses on this list have covered up their natural accents for several different roles. What’s most impressive is how well they’ve done this. It’s to the point, that hearing them speak in an interview is a jarring experience. Some have even adapted the accent and culture of a specific U.S. region for a role, a task that’s difficult for even the best of American-born actors.
Here are 15 foreign actors who tricked us with their vocal skills.
1. Portia de Rossi
Not only did Australian actress Portia de Rossi change her accent, she also changed her name as a teenager, from Amanda Lee Rogers, and her career, having studied law in university. The chameleon didn’t gain much experience in her homeland before heading to Los Angeles, but began to pick up roles quickly after settling in the states.
Main roles on Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, and Better Off Ted led to de Rossi’s rise in fame. In fact, her American transformation was such that she completely adopted her U.S. accent, beyond her acting roles.
In 2017, she continued her role as Elizabeth North on Scandal. She also appeared in two episodes of Season 1 of the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet.