8 Actors You Forgot Were Foreign

Jack Bauer was born in the U.K. Good luck wrapping your head around that.

Photo: Showtime / Everett / Fox

There are many actors who we just kind of assume are American, probably because they always play Americans in their movies. But some of them actually hail from far off lands and have been faking it this whole time. Here are eight actors you might have thought came from the grand old U.S. of A. Seems like they’re all better actors than we may have given them credit for.

Charlize Theron

One of America’s most famous and beautiful actresses is, in reality, from South Africa. Theron was born and raised in Benoni and only became an American citizen in 2007 (although she still has her South African citizenship as well). But that hasn’t stopped the actress from playing some iconic American roles, including her latest turn in Seth MacFarlane‘s upcoming Western comedy A Million Ways To Die In the West.

Christian Bale

Bale plays Americans frequently, often perfecting regional dialects (see: The Fighter), or even as Batman, where he showcased his own version of the character’s famously ominous growl. But Bale was actually born in Wales and grew up in England. It changes how you feel about American Psycho when you learn that the titular actor isn’t even American, doesn’t it?

Malin Akerman

This former Maxim cover girl was born in Sweden and raised in Canada, and has basically played American her entire career. She’s fooled us in movies like Watchmen, Couples Retreat, and Rock of Ages, and continues to perfect her Stateside lilt every week on her new sitcom Trophy Wife

Damian Lewis

Here’s a riddle: The man who plays American soldier Nicholas Brody on Homeland is from London, even though he is best-known for a role about a guy whose entire existence revolves around his status as an American. We feel as betrayed as Brody’s wife when she found out he was working for al-Qaeda.

Tom Hardy 

Batman isn’t American, so why should Bane – the villain from The Dark Knight Rises – be American either? Hardy, who also appeared in Inception, even perfected a Southern drawl in Lawless that was so convincing we still don’t believe he’s not from Virginia. But in fact Hardy is from London, proving that he’s every bit as good an actor as he seems.

Charlie Hunnam

If you watched the lone season of Undeclared then you’re already familiar with Charlie Hunnam’s British accent, but fans of Sons of Anarchy may not realize that the actor is from Newcastle, England. His accent on the FX series as an American biker is very convincing. So much so that it’s easy to forget his origins aren’t actually in California.

Gary Oldman

Did you watch Gary Oldman’s recent HTC commercial and go, “Wait, that dude is British?” Turns out Oldman can do a spot-on American accent – and has, in many of his movies. Oldman is from London but often forgoes his natural accent for acting roles, including in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (see a trend here?).

Kiefer Sutherland

Wait – the guy who plays Jack Bauer, American hero, isn’t actually from the States? That’s right: Sutherland was, in fact, born in London and raised in Toronto. He doesn’t really have to grapple with hiding a British accent, but doesn’t it seem weird that the lead role on 24 is played by a British-born Canadian?

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