Why Can't All Brits Act Like Tim Roth In America?

Brits abroad: they’re the worst. Especially when they’re cast in US TV shows as Americans. Hugh Laurie is our most famous embarrassing accent export, but Eddie Izzard, Minnie Driver and, most horrifically, Michelle Ryan, have all had a go. So it’s ironic that one of the very few British actors who has proved he’s capable of making us believe he’s a Yank (see Reservoir Dogs) has kept with his natural voice for his first big TV role. Of course, we’re talking Tim Roth in Lie To Me (Thursdays, 9pm on Sky1).

Roth plays Cal Lightman, a cocky cockney body language expert who specialises in reading facial “micro-expressions”. From these, he can tell what people really think and feel and, most usefully, whether they’re lying. Lightman runs a consultancy that helps dig out the truth for clients including the FBI and suspicious spouses wanting to know if their beloved is cheating. He’s dangerously driven and fizzing with a hoodlum barrow-boy energy that can make him seem mildly deranged.

At first, Roth’s truth-man appears to be an over-acted mess. He pumps the same intensity into a benign conversation about, say, whose turn it is to put the rubbish out as he does to fishing facts from a suspected serial killer. But the more you watch the human polygraph at work, the less his indiscriminatingly frantic style grates. Eventually, it’s the reason to love Lie To Me.

Lightman is a huge muddle. His marriage has ended, he can’t connect with his emotions and he’s troubled by his past (parts of which have been revealed in recent episodes). Plus he’s on the verge of going bankrupt most of the time. It’s only his sensible teenage daughter and level headed psychologist partner who keep him from abandoning all traits associated with reasonable human behaviour. But these are mandatory flaws and crutches for a person who can only breath when throwing himself at a case.

When he’s trying to tease information from suspects, Lightman will slump into a chair at minimum 45 degrees (sometimes he’s practically lying down) and start goading. Or he’ll stick his chest out and sidle up to his target like a grease ball trying to get laid. It’s a technique designed to confuse and disarm. And it nearly always works.

Like all Fox’s maverick, petulant supermen – Jack Bauer, Gregory House, Dexter Morgan – Lightman can’t be tamed. Though he opens up to a select few weary minions, it’s very much his word that’s final and his genius that gets results. There’s no place for democracy when bad guys run free. Oh no.

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I have read another by the same writer again it is total crap. here is my post to the one written about leverage
Again with the bad reporting. Your headline is a load of bull , the show is about all of the characters not just Nathan (Leverage) . Either give balanced view or have the guts to say you are a bad writer who manipulates the facts to fit the story you want to write. Sort it out!
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This entire article is crap. British actors are extremely good in different accents. I was very surprised when I found out that ed westwick from gossip girl is british.
If you want to write an article about bad accents you should write it about American actors who try to speak english. Most of the time that ends up in a disaster. So do your research better and actually watch the series and films you're talking about before writing an article that doesn't make sense at all!
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Seriously crap article. I quite enjoy Lie To Me, it's not the best thing ever but then nor is House, yes Hugh Laurie is brilliant in it, but his accent does sound weird to a lot of us Brits who love him from Blackadder and Fry & Laurie.
Oh and Joseph Fiennes was in FlashForward NOT Ralph (Josephs big brother).
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You writers really ought to be fired; that is of course unless its your job to write articles to piss off the members of this site. Hugh Laurie's accent is completely believable. I didn't know he was British until watching the DVD extras. Some people in production didn't even know he was British when they hired him. Maybe you bum-holes who write these ridiculous articles would enjoy something, if you took that stick out of your ass, sat down, took a deep breathe and attempted to enjoy something rather than criticize it.
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Reading this article was an absolute waste of time. I'm going to refrain from mentioning the several excellent british actors who have done a fantastic job of enfusing the American accent within their profession, because it has already been mentioned several times. The dismal research that went into this article is clear to see. To criticise Huge Laurie's performance, to downgrade Minnie Driver's and Eddie Izzard's american accent, it just shows no research or coherent thought's went into the article. And though I cannot claim to be versed in 'Lie to me', from the various scenes I have watched, there is nothing too special about the show, nor the actor Tim Roth. I expected more from tv.com. A great deal more. What a shame.
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What about Ed Westwick, who plays Chuck on GossipGirl? I didn't know that guy was English until I heard him talk in an interview and I had never suspected. Same goes for Hugh Laurie when House was first aired!
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Indeed, as agreeing with others here:

hugh Laurie is considered to have one of the better accents over there in America.

And House is the most popular drama series in the world now.

Mostly due to Hugh Laurie's excellent acting.
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Hugh Laurie is awesome I didn't know he was British at first this article is bull.
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On the (slightly off-topic) subject of Americans doing British accents, I thought James Marsters did an excellent job in Buffy/Angel - unlike Juliet Landau's Drusilla - ugh!
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This article is ridiculous. Lie to Me is an idiotic show - someone is caught on CCTV with their mouth slightly tense: THEY LOOK SHIFTY, THEY MUST BE GUILTY! and guess what? In Lie to Me, this person turns out to BE guilty. Er hello?

And anyone who slags off Hugh Laurie is a jealous moron. Most Americans don't realise he's British. His accent is flawless. is this a case of someone working in tv journalism but secretly wishing to be a tv actor perchance.
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waaw... what a fail of an article...
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Why can't people realize these are acting roles, not real life? Hugh Laurie is one of the most talented and versatile actors we have today.
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Hahaha, thank you for the laugh. An American trying to say that our actors can't do accents, too funny for words.....

Maybe if you write an article about how American actors can't do British accents that might make more sense.



As someone said before, Idris Alba, Idris Alba, Idris Alba, as a Brit I have no idea he was English until I saw an interview with him over here, the only spot on English accent I've ever heard is the guy in Dollhouse that plays Vicotr and that is the exception. Over here we know that different parts of American sound different, just like someone from the North of England will sound much different from a Midlander, just as a Scot and a Welsh person sound much different from a Londoner. Generally if a foreign actor tries to sound English they just go for a generic voice rather than region specific and I'm sure the same goes for Brit actors trying to sound American.
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I think you are incorrect...

As a life long American I am here to inform you that none of those you've mentioned are that bad at doing an American 'accent'. While true enough I've had limited exposure to most in the list, I have seen enough "House" to know that Mr. Laurie's is fine. My exposure to Ms. Driver and Mr. Izzard is precious little but from what I have seen they were acceptable. I must ask though why all the hate for Ms. Ryan? I've had the most exposure to her and I have to say when she was doing "Bionic Woman" she was right on the money and she get's nothing but flack.

I find it kind of funny that it seems Europeans think we Americans all "sound alike". I mean that's like saying an English accent is the same as an Irish brogue or a Scottish Burr. Which I know for a fact they are not. There is no "default American accent" and it seems incredibly short sighted to me to think there is.
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Whoever posted this has no idea what they're talking about. What a load of old rubbish. Firstly Tim Roth is excellent in Lie to Me and it's one of my favorite shows, but Lie to Me is only on it's second season, but Hugh Lawrie's performance in House has been consistently first-rate over six seasons. to be honest, Eddie Izzard does a decent job too. The person who I found did a great job in a recent US show was Ralph Fiennes in FlashForward. Unfortunately the network decided to cancel but I felt Ralph did an excellent job in the lead role. Stop talking nonsense poster and do your research properly.
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I don't particularly agree with this article regarding british actors american accents. I have no problem with Hugh Laurie's accent in House though i can't comment on the others as I haven't seen them.
I disagree strongly with some posters comments on Lie to Me and Tim Roth.
Firstly- Lie to me is an entertaining, interesting and intellegent program in my opinion, not withour its flaws but many of these have been addressed and it continues to improve. Its far superior to most things on our screens currently.
Secondly - Tim Roth is an excellent actor. This is not just my opinion but one shared by critics, his fellow actors and an array of eminent directors that he has worked with over a career of almost 30 years.
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Tim Roth is not the greates British export, his tv show is dire, and his acting skills are 1 dimensional. I have nothing against the show Lie To Me, but from it's ratings and reviews in the US it is not all you seem to think it is; it is slow, too easy, and the writing is basic. The acting isn't even convincing! Hugh Laurie has done a great job in America, nominated and won a lot of awards; more than any other british actor on television. His accent is perfect, known to a lot of Americans and critics as the best on television from a foreigner. Your article is pathetic, you obviously have issues with Hugh Lauries success, and the lack of success of Tim Roth; who I find callous, and a disgusting character.



I hope you write a reply to all of these unaminous comments in another article, apologising for your unprofessional article.
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Whoever wrote this is an idiot. Tim Roth is terrible in Lie To Me, from his awful over-acting and irritating mannerisms. You criticise Hugh Laurie's accent in House, and praise Tim Roth? Are you kidding? Really?
Lie To Me is very very mediocre show at best. There is not a single good actor/actress in the core roles...
And good one other poster, Idris Elba is a great example. I had no clue he wasn't American until long after the Wire was over and I saw him in something else.

Writer of this article, get a clue, seriously.
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and I thought TV.com is trustworthy site... all I can see is load of tabloid news bollocks
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Are you kidding? Hugh Laurie's one of the most convincing American accents ever. So much so, people didn't even know he was English practically the whole first season of House unless they already knew him from his Brit comedy days.

Also, what about Idris Elba (The Wire, The Office)?

This article is dumb. (And Lie to Me is bland, at best.)
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Dexter is on Showtime, not Fox
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Utter crap, Eddie Izzard is a stand up comic, Hugh Laurie was a comedian too and Minnie Driver's accent is fine, most of the brit actors have very convincing accents . Some fine examples are:

Damian Lewis - Totally 100% convincing
Callum Keith Rennie Jamie Bamber
Anna Friel Ashley Jensen
Patrick Stewart All have very convincing American accents and are very capable actors. This is a lame article and very poorly researched. Sounds like a personal opinion instead of a factual informative editorial. Tim Roth is a medicore actor nothing special, pick someone else more deserving to write about.
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