If you want to be a professional actor working today, it’s almost a necessity that you’re able to pull off a convincing accent when the role calls for it — especially if you're a foreign actor trying to make it in Hollywood. There’s nothing that pulls you out of a performance quite like an actor struggling to pull off an accent and utterly failing. Some actors are notorious for this, like Keanu Reeves, who turned in one of the worst British accents ever put to film in 1992's Dracula. But did you also know that Keanu Reeves wasn’t born in the United States? Luckily for him, Reeves’ regular voice works perfectly to play American characters despite the fact that the actor isn’t actually an American citizen.
Conversely, an actor that can successfully pull off various accents can pull you much deeper into their performance. Remember the first time you heard Hugh Laurie speak in his native British accent? We had become so accustomed to the iconic voice and cadence of the cynical Dr. House that we never suspected that the actor sounded any different in real life. Of course, now everyone knows that Laurie was born in England. But there are still a ton of foreign actors working in Hollywood today that weren’t born in the United States.
So let’s see if you know where these 25 celebrities are originally from!
Where was Andrew Lincoln born?
Though Andrew Lincoln is best known for playing Rick Grimes on the massively popular AMC series The Walking Dead, he has actually been acting professionally since the mid-90s, appearing in supporting roles in both film and television. The actor was born Andrew Clutterbuck in 1973 and began acting in plays as a teenager before attending the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1996 Lincoln earned a role on the popular TV series The Life, but American audiences probably first became familiar with him in the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually.
Where was Charlize Theron born?
Previously a model and a dancer, Charlize Theron began to pursue acting after a knee injury ended her chance at ballet dancing. After being offered a number of one-dimensional film roles, Theron fired her manager citing that she had little interest in playing the on-screen sex appeal. Since then, the actress has portrayed a wide-range of strong-willed and complicated characters. She won an Oscar for playing real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, and more recently starred in Mad Max: Fury Road, along with the upcoming action-thriller Atomic Blonde.
Where was Colin Farrell born?
After starring in a number of TV series and independent films abroad, Colin Farrell gained recognition in the states in the early 2000s after starring in Tigerland, Minority Report, and Phone Booth. Since then, the actor has continued to split his career between big blockbuster films, like Horrible Bosses and Total Recall, with independent projects, like The Lobster and The Beguiled. Farrell has the capability of floating between anything from action to comedy to drama seamlessly, making him one of the more eclectic A-list actors working today.
Where was Michael Fassbender born?
Michael Fassbender has donned a slew of accents for various roles, making it hard to know what the actor must sound like in real life. After starring in a number of supporting roles, including his portrayal of Stelios in 300, Fassbender has quickly shot to the top of everyone’s favorite actor lists after appearing in Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class and Prometheus all in the matter of a few years. In 2014, Fassbender was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his part in 12 Years a Slave, which went on to win Best Picture of the Year.
Where was Hugh Jackman born?
Though Hugh Jackman was born far from the United States, the fact that he dons an American accent more often than not for his roles can sometimes make it hard to remember that he’s not actually an American. Though the actor is best known for playing Wolverine in a number of X-Men films, including last year’s Logan, Jackman has starred in a number of successful dramas and stage plays as well. Later this year, the actor is already set to star as P.T. Barnum in the upcoming biopic The Greatest Showman.
Where was Christian Bale born?
Christian Bale is indeed an English actor, though he was actually not born in England. Though the actor first enjoyed massive success by starring as Bruce Wayne/ Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Bale has been a professional actor since the late 1980s, where he starred as the lead in Steven Spielberg’s 1987 war film Empire of the Sun at just 12-years-old. Bale is a critically acclaimed performer and has been nominated for a number of Academy Awards, winning for Best Supporting Actor in 2011 for his performance in The Fighter.
Where was Mila Kunis born?
At the age of seven, Mila Kunis relocated with her family to Los Angeles despite not knowing a word of English. Though she initially underwent culture shock, Kunis started acting professionally at a very young age, starring in a number of commercials and TV guest spots before landing the role of Jackie Burkhart on That ‘70s Show at the age of 14. Since then, Kunis has had an extremely successful TV and film career, doing everything from voicing Meg on Fox’s Family Guy to starting as the Wicked Witch of the West in 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful.
Where was Ryan Gosling born?
What!? Ryan Gosling wasn't born in America? How could that possibly be? In fact, after starring in a number of roles that seem iconically American, like Noah Calhoun in The Notebook and The Driver in Drive, the actor still has not obtained his American citizenship — though we certainly can’t blame him for wanting to represent the country he was born and raised in. After starring in last years almost-Best Picture Winner, La La Land, Gosling will appear in the upcoming sequel to the sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner.
Where was Marion Cotillard born?
Though Marion Cotillard has been acting professionally since the early ‘90s, she didn’t achieve widespread success until the 2007 film La Vie en Rose, where Cotillard played real-life singer Edith Pia. For her performance, the actress won a slew of awards, including an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. Since then, Cotillard has popped up in a number of blockbuster films, including Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Midnight in Paris. Earlier this year the actress had a second child with her partner and fellow actor, Guillaume Canet.
Where was Penelope Cruz born?
With her name and accent, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Penelope Cruz probably wasn’t born in America, but do you know exactly where this actress was born and raised? After starring in a number of Spanish speaking films throughout the 1990s, Cruz became popular with America audiences in the early 2000s after appearing in Blow alongside Johnny Depp and Vanilla Sky opposite Tom Cruise. In 2008, Cruz won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Maria Elena in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, where she starred alongside her real-life husband, Javier Bardem.
Where was Idris Elba born?
Idris Elba first became popular among American audiences as his turn as the drug kingpin Stringer Bell on the HBO crime-drama The Wire. Though Elba can certainly play the villain of the story, as we’ve seen him do with Heimdall in Thor and Krall in Star Trek Beyond, the actor can slide just as comfortably into the role of good guy/ hero, as he’s done in Prometheus and will continue to do as The Gunslinger when The Dark Tower hits theaters later this year.
Where was Karl Urban born?
Born in 1972, Karl Urban began his acting career in the 1990s and has become known for starring in a number of iconic sci-fi and fantasy films. In 2002, Urban starred as Eomer in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, along with the follow-up The Return of the King. He’s also appeared as Leonard McCoy in the big screen reboot of the Star Trek franchise, and he is already slated to join the enormous cast of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he appears as Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok, which will be out later this year.
Where was Natalie Portman born?
From an extremely young age, Natalie Portman was already interested in going into show business, and she began dancing at the age of four and acting professionally before she was even a teenager. Her first role was playing Mathilda in the 1994 Luc Besson action-thriller, Leon: The Professional and Portman has been working steadily ever since. She’s starred in everything from comedies (Garden State) to dramas (Closer) to superhero movies (Thor) and many of her performances have been met with critical acclaim, earning her the Best Actress Academy Award for the 2010 film Black Swan.
Where was Margot Robbie born?
Margot Robbie has become such a household name, that it’s hard to believe the actresses first big role was only four years ago starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Since then, Robbie has starred in an impressive number of blockbusters, including The Big Short, The Legend of Tarzan and Suicide Squad. She was the first actress to play Harley Quinn in a live-action film, and she will reprise the role for the upcoming Gotham City Sirens, which has yet to be given a release date.
Where was Riz Ahmed born?
Riz Ahmed isn’t just a promising up and coming actor, he’s also a famous rapper and a political activist who’s helped raise funds for the Syrian refugee crisis. After starring in a number of supporting roles in some independent films, Ahmed played Rick opposite Jack Gyllenhaal in the 2014 drama-thriller Nightcrawler, for which he was nominated for a number of awards. He went on to play Nasir Khan in the 2016 HBO miniseries The Night Of, where he plays an awkward college student falsely accused of murder, and the actor also popped up in last year’s Rogue One as Bodhi Rook.
Where was Keanu Reeves born?
Despite working in Hollywood for almost three decades, Keanu Reeves is actually still a Canadian citizen, though the actor spent his childhood living in a variety of places, including Sydney, Australia, and New York City. Reeves began acting at a young age, starring in local theater productions before obtaining a green card and moving to Los Angeles in his early 20s. He hit mainstream success with his performances in River’s Edge, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Point Break -- the first film that found Keanu Reeves in the action packed roles that he’s since become synonymous with.
Where was Naomi Watts born?
After nearly fifteen years of struggling to make it big in the States, Namoi Watts landed the lead role in the David Lynch thriller Mulholland Drive, where she ironically plays an actress who has fallen on hard times living in Los Angeles. But since her big break, Watts has starred in a number of massively successful films, including King Kong, Birdman, and Eastern Promises. On July 30 of this year, Watts will also appear as the lead role in the upcoming Netflix series titled Gypsy.
Where was Russell Crowe born?
Born on April 7, 1964, Russell Crowe has an eclectic background, claiming German, English, Italian, Irish, Welsh, Swedish, Scottish, and even Norwegian ancestry! At the ripe age of sixteen, Crowe dropped out of school to pursue a career in acting and went on to star in a number of theater productions along with working on the side as a street performer. In 2000, Crowe went on to win the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in Gladiator, which was also awarded Best Picture of the Year, and the actor has enjoyed mainstream success ever since.
Where was Benicio del Toro born?
No matter what type of movie he’s put into it, be it a gritty drug film or a Marvel superhero flick, Benicio del Toro always ends up stealing the scene. After appearing in guest spots on a number of TV series, del Toro started popping up in feature films in the late 1980s. In 1995 he played Fred Fenster in the critically acclaimed film The Usual Suspects and starred in a string of successful movies in the following decade, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Snatch, Traffic and 21 Grams. Del Toro currently stars as The Collector in the MCU and is slated to reprise the role in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.
Where was Noomi Rapace born?
Noomi Rapace’s acting career really kicked off when she starred as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, which was based on the international best selling novels. In 2011 she became familiar with American audiences by appearing in 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows alongside Robert Downey Jr. But it was the following year that Rapace would achieve widespread recognition with her performance as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Ridley Scott’s prequel to the Alien series, titled Prometheus, along with this year’s Alien: Covenant.
Where was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau born?
Born in 1970, Nikolaj Coster-Waldu has been working professionally as an actor since the early 1990s, though most Engish speaking audiences probably didn’t come to know him until Coster-Waldu starred as Jaime Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Though many of the series characters have met their demise, Jaime has survived into the seventh and second last season (minus his sword hand) and in that amount of time, the actor has also appeared in a number of English speaking films, including Oblivion and the Netflix original, Small Crimes.
Where was Diane Kruger born?
Originally wanting to be a professional dancer, Diane Kruger audition and was accepted to the Royal Ballet School in London before she began a modeling career and eventually shifted her focus to acting. Kruger is a multi-lingual actress, who is fluent in English, German and French. Some of her first big roles include playing Helen in 2004’s Troy and Abigail Chase in 2004’s National Treasure, but the actress shot to superstardom after her portrayal of Bridget von Hammersmark in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II fantasy-epic Inglourious Basterds.
Where was James McAvoy born?
Before he took on the role of a young Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, actor James McAvoy has starred in a number of supporting roles in equally notable films, including playing Mr. Tummnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as Robbie Turner in Atonement. Last year, McAvoy performance in the M. Night Shyamalan film Split was met with critical acclaim, as the actor took on multiple characters to play a man with 23 different personalities. Next year, McAvoy is set to reprise his role as Professor X in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Where was Rachel McAdams born?
Rachel McAdams has come a long way since starring as Regina George in Mean Girls. After starring in a string of romantic-comedies, McAdams has begun taking on more complex characters as seen in Spotlight, which won Best Picture of 2015, as well as True Detective, where McAdams played the only thing worth watching during the entire second season of the show. The actress continues to live in her home country while holding an America green card, citing that most movies are no longer shot in Los Angeles, so there’s no longer a dire need to move there.
Where was Steven Yuen born?
After appearing in a single episode of The Big Bang Theory, Steven Yuen’s career really took off in 2010 after he landed the role of Glenn in the hit AMC series The Walking Dead. For seasons, Glenn remained a fan favorite until he was tragically killed off from the show this past season, much to the disapproval of many of the series fans. But despite being axed from the series, Yuen has begun to break into feature films, including the superb Netflix original Okja, which was released earlier this year.