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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 09:36 GMT
Brit actors 'judged on accents'
Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry recently filmed a cameo in US TV drama Bones
British actors may be getting rewarded in the US for their accents and not their abilities, Stephen Fry has said.

In the Radio Times, the actor asked whether US audiences were "fooled by our accent into detecting a brilliance that may not really be there".

His comments came after a "blitz of Brits" won awards at the Golden Globes, including Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons and Fry's comic partner Hugh Laurie.

But Fry admitted the views might be seen as "high treason" by some.

When American TV and movies call for a twist of limey in their cocktail, it's usually a character they're after
Stephen Fry

He said: "I mean, would they notice if Jeremy Irons or Judi Dench gave a bad performance? Not that those two paragons ever would, but it's worth considering."

Fry, who recently filmed a cameo in US forensic science drama Bones, also said US actors were natural in front of the camera while their British counterparts were more "artificial".

He said: "I've always believed Americans have one huge, ready-made gift when it comes to acting in front of a camera - the ability to relax.

"[Take] the supreme relaxed authenticity of a James Stewart or a George Clooney compared with the brittle contrivances of a Laurence Olivier or a Kenneth Branagh, marvellous as they are."

He added: "Generally, we admire the thing we are not. On the set of Bones I have been amazed and impressed by the naturalness of the cast, and berate myself for sounding as if I'm speechifying instead of talking."

'Constipated academic'

British actors remain typecast by Hollywood, he said.

"When American TV and movies call for a twist of limey in their cocktail, it's usually a character they're after - supervillain, emotionally constipated academic, effete eccentric, that kind of thing."

Dame Helen Mirren won two awards at this year's Golden Globes - for The Queen and Elizabeth I - as well as winning an Oscar.

Irons won best supporting actor in a mini-series at the Golden Globes, also for Elizabeth I, and has also won two Emmys and a best actor Oscar in 1991 for Reversal of Fortune.

Hugh Laurie's portrayal of a grumpy medical consultant in House earned him top TV drama actor at the Globes in January.


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