Seriously Everybody in the Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ Movies
Michael Caine may be the only person actually sporting an English accent in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, but practically the whole principal cast is made up of foreigners of one stripe or another—mostly our friends from the U.K. Christian Bale (Batman, of course), Tom Hardy (Bane), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Liam Neeson (Ra's Al Ghul—all right, he's Northern Irish by birth, which is sort of the same thing), even Tom Wilkinson does a nice turn as Italian mobster Carmine Falcone in the first flick.
Andrew Lincoln From ‘The Walking Dead’
Sheriff Rick Grimes hails from King County, Georgia, but actor Andrew Lincoln (born Andrew James Clutterbuck) is a Londoner born and bred. Something about the English accent flows nicely into a Southern dialect. They say, actually, that Englanders from Shakespeare's day would probably sound right at home in Tennessee (try it: Shikespeeyur).
Lena Headey in ‘Dredd’
So I went to see the surprisingly good sci-fi flick Dredd a few months ago and spent the entire movie going, "Who is that really great actress playing the villain?" Headey plays MaMa, and without the wig and the faux-Britishness that are a huge part of Game of Thrones, she's nearly unrecognizable. She plays a character with a British accent in HBO's take on American writer George R. R. Martin's fantasy novels, which borrow liberally from the Wars of the Roses, and she also plays an American gangster living in a future New York called Mega-City One in Dredd, based on Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra's U.K. comic strip Judge Dredd. It makes so much sense my head hurts just thinking about it.
Emily Blunt in ‘Looper’
Like Andrew Lincoln, Emily Blunt plays a just-folks character in Looper—a country girl raising her kid alone in a cornfield (seriously, how do they eat?) until Joseph Gordon-Levitt comes time-traveling along. Blunt has been in a fair few American genre flicks recently—The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon, The Wolfman with Benicio del Toro—but every now and then some other girl who looks exactly like her but does indie movies and has a British accent shows up at an awards show.
Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Lincoln’
The master of the "I thought Daniel Day-Lewis was in this movie what do you mean he's the main character" role, the chameleonic actor has—perhaps appropriately—been telling people lately that he's Irish, but Day-Lewis was born and raised in London. The performer's dad, poet Cecil Day-Lewis, is of both Brit and Irish decent, and his son became a dual citizen in 1993 after shooting Irish wrong-man drama In the Name of the Father. For this year's Oscar season, though, Lewis is most recognizable as THE American—Abraham Lincoln—in Stephen Spielberg's give-me-all-the-Oscars period drama, cleverly titled Lincoln.
Gemma Arterton in ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’
Finally, a non-Thomas Hardy role for Gemma Arterton. The English actress got her big break from the BBC for its marathon adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles and then she landed a high-profile indie flick with director Stephen Frears in an adaptation of Posey Simmonds' graphic novel Tamara Drewe, which is itself an adaptation of Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd (spreadsheet not found). So after playing alluring mystery women in British Thomas Hardy adaptations, it just makes sense that she'd star this winter as a monster-slaying hottie who chases down evildoers in a form-fitting leather opposite Jeremy Renner as her, uh, brother. The movie is called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Do I think this sounds ridiculous? Yes, I do. Will I be going to see it in 3-D on as big a screen as possible? Again, the answer is yes.
Robert Pattinson in ‘Cosmopolis’
All right, fine, basically nothing about poor Robert Pattinson's life is a secret at this point, now that he's starred as every 12-year-old girl's dream boy, the vampiric Edward Cullen (squeeeeeeeeeeeee), and has to deal with people digging through his trash can every day. I once went to a premiere for an indie movie with him in it that had absolutely nothing in the world to do with Twilight and after the party let out at midnight there were still teenaged girls and their mothers waiting with books in hand. So yes, most know that Pattinson is British, despite his having worked most of his career with an American accent. This season is no exception, but his latest role seems to fit the London-born actor a little better: Pattinson plays a 27-year-old billionaire divorced from the normal world whether he likes it or not in goremeister-turned-auteur David Cronenberg's adaptation of a 2003 Don Delillo novel.
Andrew Garfield in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’
Must all of our superheroes be from Europe? The answer, of course, is yes. Between Christian Bale and Henry Cavill (elsewhere on this list), the DC Universe is sewn up pretty tight; now Marvel is making it happen, too, with German-Irish Michael Fassbender as Magneto, James McAvoy (Scottish) as Professor X, and this year, The Social Network co-star Andrew Garfield as Marvel's flagship hero, Spider-Man. We now know that the Green Lantern movie failed because Ryan Reynolds is Canadian, and that's simply not cricket, old boy. Not cricket in the least.
Henry Cavill in ‘Man of Steel’
Yet again, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers are trying to reinvigorate the Superman franchise, and while the last installment had some major problems—was it a sequel or wasn't it? I still don't know—the new edition is going to start over from scratch. New director (Zack Snyder, whose entire career has been spent doing nerd dream jobs), reliable producer (Christopher Nolan), and an actor who's never opened a movie before: Henry Cavill. Mind you, Cavill's fun to watch—check out Tarsem Singh's guilty-pleasure action flick Immortals—so whether or not you liked Snyder's Watchmen, he might turn out to be the right Englishman to stand for truth, justice and the American way.
Idris Elba and Dominic West From ‘The Wire’ as Sci-Fi Guys
Yes, The Wire is over, but remember the cool pilot in Prometheus who almost made the movie watchable? That was Idris Elba, the Brit actor who plays Stringer Bell on The Wire, and the cop who chases Stringer around Baltimore for three seasons? Why, that's Sheffield-born Dominic West, who plays the villain in Disney's hugely underrated sci-fi flop John Carter, which, guys, if you have an indie film about a drunk whose wife sleeps with his brother, by all means call it John Carter, but maybe if it's a science fiction extravaganza you could call it John Carter OF MARS?
OK, good talk.