Why British Actors Are So Popular In The U.S.

Let’s face it, British actors are super popular in the U.S., but why? Is it the accent, the acting, the good looks. Probably a combination of all.

It seems like there’s one under every rock. British actors are a hot commodity lately and very few movies don’t include one nowadays. We can call it the British invasion part deux.

Remember the days of the Beatles and all those classic rock bands that came from the other side of the Atlantic? Americans couldn’t get enough of their music or looks and a similar phenomenon is happening with British actors.

Some theorize that there are not enough talented actors in the U.S. to go around, hence, British ones get the parts and so American audiences get lucky enough to see one in every other big movie that hits theaters.

If you look at all the major films that have come out in the past few years, invariably you will find a British actor cast, either in a major role or as a supporting actor. Benedict Cumberbatch has gone from unknown in the U.S. to a household name, as have others such as Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything).


Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock (BBC)

Series such as Downton Abbey and Sherlock draw in millions of viewers each week and keep them glued to their TVs. Same can be said about movies. Not only the dramas 12 Years a Slave (Cumberbatch), Gone Girl (Rosamund Pike) and Selma (David Oyelowo) starred British actors (all of whom got a nod from the Academy with nominations, but superhero blockbusters such as the Avengers (Tom Hiddleston) series and let’s not forget Man of Steel cast a Brit, Henry Cavill, to play the quintessential Superman.

The rise of British actors is nothing new and perhaps we just notice it now, more than before, but one thing is certain, with the use of computers the chance of one of them getting cast in a major film is bigger than ever. They don’t have to fly to a big studio in Los Angeles to audition, Skype will suffice, as many casting directors are accommodating to very busy schedules. Social media also helps the Brits put themselves out there and fans love that.

One thing that separates British actors from their American counterparts is their training. The majority of Brits are theater trained actors, some — like Luke Evans who is a rising star — come from musical theater. This gives them a completely different advantage and audiences notice. Americans are more rooted on emotion, while the Brits really study their characters.

Henry Cavill in Man of Steel

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel (Warner Bros.)

British actors are certainly all the rave in America, but that is not to say we don’t have quality performers on this side of the Atlantic. Think Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams. We could go on and on, but for some reason we are really liking the British invasion. The British are coming, the British are coming!

[Image via Working Title/Eddie Redmayne]

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