It makes me go all weak at the knees and soft in the head. It makes my heart melt and my pulse quicken. It makes even the most unintelligent comment seem somehow deep and meaningful. It can turn a rogue into a gentlemen and a slob into a lady. It’s the British accent.
There’s really no denying the power of the British accent, just ask Tom Hiddleston, Andrew Garfield, Robert Pattinson, and Nicholas Hoult. All amazing actors, all British, and all taking the American movie scene by storm.
Tom Hiddleston began his career on stage and in small British TV movies. In 2011 he was cast as Loki in Thor and his career has been on the rise ever since. He now has a loyal and passionate fan following making him the third most searched tag on tumblr. He plays a creepy evil villain with bad hair in The Avengers but some how he has more fangirls than the more traditionally attractive non-British actors in the film. What could be making Tom Hiddleston so irresistible? Does he posses Loki’s magical powers in real life? How else can you explain the fact that one look into his sparkling blue eyes can change your entire life? But I digress, we were talking about British accents and how charming they are.
Andrew Garfield is another British actor who has gained much success in the American film industry. He climbed the ladder of fame slowly starting out with small roles in television, eventually landing some starring roles in small British films. In 2010 he played Mark Zuckerberg’s best friend in The Social Network, earning him a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor. Andrew really became a big name when he landed the role as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spiderman. It’s already amazing enough that an iconically American role could be handed over to a British actor but the fact is Andrew Garfield did a much better job portraying Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire did in 2002’s Spider man (sorry Tobey). Andrew is now in a high profile relationship with American actress Emma Stone and has the paparazzi chasing him wherever he goes. Andrew is adorkably charming and I dare you to watch one of his interviews and not fall in love with him.
We now come to Robert Pattinson. The Robert Pattinson. Love him or hate him I know you’ve all heard his name. But before 2008 Rob was just a practically unknown British actor, famous only for playing Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Then Twilight happened and everything changed. Rob is now one of the most hated, and one of the most loved British actors today. His fans love his tousled brown locks, his thick eyebrows, and his sense of humor. I’m not really sure why there is such hatred towards him. I think people love to hate what other people love, or maybe they just hate sparkly vampires. I think if they gave R-Patzz a chance they would come to appreciate his wonderful sense of humor.
The there’s Nicholas Hoult, the up and coming star of the bunch, well not really. When he was 13 years old he landed the role of Marcus Brewer in About a Boy, playing opposite Hugh Grant. He stared in the UK television show, Skins, that aired from 2007 to 2008. His first foray into the world of American blockbuster films came in 2011 when he played Hank McCoy (the pre-beast version of that blue guy) in X-Men: First Class. He will be reprising his role for X-Men: Days of Future Past as well as starring in Warm Bodies, a romantic-comedy post apocalypse zombie movie, and Jack the Giant Slayer, a retelling of the Jack and the giant bean stalk fairytale. Nicholas is likely to be the next big thing and soon American girls everywhere will be swooning for him.
So why are these actors so beloved in American cinema? They don’t posses the muscular physique that is normally associated with the male “heart-throb.” I think we all know the answer, they’re British. Now I don’t mean to suggest that these actors were only hired because they are British and posses that oh so tantalizing accent. They are all amazingly talented and I know we would love them all even if they weren’t British. But there is something about that accent that makes them so much more appealing.
It’s also interesting to note that in their breakout roles, many of these actors played characters with American accents. It’s like finding out that they’re British in real life is a welcome surprise. “Oh you’re British? Well you just got 10 times hotter!”
So why is the British accent so appealing? Well, it carries a history and a culture with it. If you have a British accent you automatically seem more intelligent. You’re also probably related to royalty somehow, your family probably owns a huge manor house, and you probably ride horses and hunt foxes in your spare time. When someone with a British accent speaks the subtext is “I have class and you don’t” (Parent Trap anyone?) A man with a British accent must be chivalrous and respectful. He could never take advantage of you or take you for granted.
In real life, of course, this isn’t always true. There are Mr. Darcys out there but there are also plenty of Mr. Wickhams. That’s the great thing about our favorite British actors. We can admire and idolize them from afar without getting close enough to see any major flaws. Even British men loose their charm when they start making fart jokes, or playing video game all day, or wearing sloppy clothes.