11 TV Stars' Foreign & Regional Accents, Ranked by Authenticity
As a Bostoner in Orange Is the New Black
, this actress’s “dialect work is inconsistent, and a bit of the actress’s Australian dialect infiltrates,” dialect coach Patricia Fletcher tells the New York Post
Michael C. Hall
The British drama Safe
features this American Dexter
alum playing a suburban Brit searching for answers about the disappearance of his daughter, but viewers are searching for answers about the actor’s accent. The Guardian
called it “odd” and “synthetic.”
This Indian-born Quantico
star lived in the States as a teen, but dialect coaches Bob and Claire Corff think her American accent on the recently-canceled drama blows her cover. “It’s too articulated with some English pronunciations leaking out,” they tell Vulture
As a Southern-bred sheriff battling The Walking Dead
, this Londoner “doesn’t always maintain his regional drawl, and the lilt that should come at the end of sentences, defaulting to a more standard elocution,” the Corffs say.
According to one Redditor
, Peter Dinklage’s British accent as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones
“sticks out like a sore thumb” not because it’s bad — in fact, the Redditor says this American actor does it very well — but because it’s an example of Received Pronunciation, which seems more common on screen than in real life.
The Corffs say this Aussie’s American accent on Jessica Jones
is “good, but sometimes certain vowels, like the ‘o’ in hope, are too far forward on her lips. She also has what coaches call the ‘educated u’ in words like assume, which sounds like ‘asyume.’”
Seems like this Yorkshire bloke got a passing grade for his Baltimore accent in The Wire
. “I may have had my minor quibbles with Dominic West‘s accent in the first season of the series, but as a whole, The Wire
is perhaps the most impressive body of dialect work I’ve seen in film or television,” blogged dialect coach Ben T. Smith
Speaking of actors in The Wire
, Elba’s accent in the critically-acclaimed drama is “amazing,” as dialect coach Erik Singer told Wired
— though the Englishman is missing a “really interesting, Baltimore-specific African American pronunciation” of words like ‘to’ and ‘you’.
As an FBI assistant director on Blindspot
, this English actress’ accent was “fabulous, right down to the cadence and attitude,” the Corffs rave. That’s high praise!
The Corffs call this London-bred actor’s American accent on How to Get Away With Murder
“perfect.” For his part, Enoch told Teen Vogue
he keeps up the charade by staying in accent off-camera, too, even in conversations with his girlfriend. “She finds it pretty strange,” he said.
Americans are notoriously worse at adopting foreign accents than, well, everyone else.
Some Yanks can’t even get other American accents down pat. But they’re not alone: Unfamiliar accents can be tricky, even for Brits. We’ve surveyed the Internet to find hot takes on TV accents and dialects from shows past and present, including The Walking Dead, Quantico, The Wire, Blindspot, and more.
Click through the gallery above for our ranking of small-screen actors' accents from least to most passable.
TV stardom may be glamorous, but it’s not always easy.