I mentioned a couple days ago, when I featured the trailer for Gamer, that it sounded like maybe Gerard Butler’s American accent had improved dramatically over its dreadfulness in The Ugly Truth. And here we can tell that yes, he’s been working with a voice coach or something, because he no longer sounds quite like someone who’s trying to ape an American accent, and more like an actual American.
I don’t mean to pick on Butler, because I’m a big fan of his. And certainly the terribleness of his accent was the least terrible thing about The Ugly Truth, which is why I didn’t even mention it in my review. It did surprise me, though, because generally British actors seem to have a much better ear for accents than American ones do… though I guess it’s fair that if there are gonna be a few American actors who can do a credible British accent (Kevin Kline, Alessandro Nivolo), there should be a few British ones who can’t sound American if their lives depended on it.
The much bigger issue probably is: Why are so many British (and Australian) actors ending up playing American characters in the movies (and on TV)? Twenty years ago, it might have been Bruce Willis or Kurt Russell playing the part that Butler plays here. But I’m hard-pressed to name a big-name American film actor of Butler’s age who could pull off a tough guy like this today. The big names that pop to mind are Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale… but they’re not American.
Americans? Maybe Brad Pitt could pull it off. Maybe Liev Schreiber. Maybe Jamie Foxx… except he’s already here in another role. Maybe Christopher Meloni… except he’s a TV actor and we have this stupid divide in the U.S. that mostly keeps actors corralled into one medium.
Oh, the movie itself? More revenge fantasy: hooray!