British/European vs. American Actors

Why do European actors and entertainers seem better than American actors? Look at the viral success of Englishwoman Susan Boyle.

In all my experience, including grooming actors Daniel Craig (England, James Bond ), Joseph Fiennes (England, Shakespeare In Love), Matthew Goode (England, Brideshead Revisited), Guy Pierce (Australian, Bedtime Stories),  and Jim Sturgess (England, 21) and doing makeup for the ladies like Tilda Swinton (Scotland, Narnia), Nicole Kidman (Australia/US, Moulin Rouge) and Julie Delpy (France, Before Sunset), they all charm and work their ways into the hearts of audiences and promoters alike. Even the directors like John Madden (English, Shakespeare in Love & Proof),  Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield (English, Disney\’s Earth) command respect. We can extend the list to include photographers like Platon (English, The New Yorker), Ben Baker (Australian), Nigel Parry (English), and Christian Witkin (English).

As an example of an interesting character, Tilda Swinton, the androgynous actor from Scotland, was every bit of polite and welcoming to me when I did her makeup on the press junket prior to Narnia. Tilda showed me her personal family photos she had taken of her twin children. To the right of the photo, down a long, dirt country road, two youngsters (a boy and a girl) with equally long down-to-the-waist hair, drape themselves over a wooden fence reaching for an unknown object perhaps a flower or blade of grass. Time seems to stand still. The observer is drawn into the picture. You can smell the freshness of the midsummer\’s day. You feel the sun beat down on your tender skin. Around you is a vast array of earthiness and space. There is no outside force calling you to come inside. You wish you were a kid again without a care in the world. Since then, Tilda\’s summer\’s day photo, along with many others of Swinton\’s, have been put on display in a gallery in Europe. Tilda is an amazing photographer and yet it is that quality plus her easy way of connecting to others and being there in the moment that drives my interest in her as an actor. Check out her work at the International Movie Data Base site.

With the exception of Laura Linney (US, John Adams) and Josh Brolin (US, No Country for Old Men),  American actors that I meet are less advanced in entertainment and depth.  To her credit, Linney, who was raised in the Theater with a capital T, has a sneaky wit that can go missed if one is not quick enough to grasp her humor. When asked by a fan if she had seen her grandfather, a respected military man, on her current stop in D.C., she said something to the affect that she had just been by to visit in Arlington. Dear reader, what she didn\’t say is that he is buried in Arlington Cemetery. Linney\’s message  is that everything she needed to know about life she learned on the stage. For Brolin, his zest for life and acting seems to be enhanced by the late success in his career. He seems to know what it\’s like to struggle and just enjoys a good laugh. Noting that a particular clothing line seemed to be a favorite of mine, he joked that his young daughter wears Juicy Couture a lot too. I won\’t mention the age difference between his daughter and myself. Brolin is a breath of fresh air in the acting community.

Now the time has come to share with you my extensive scientific research. Actually, I asked a few friends and liked their responses, you may agree or disagree with the results.  I have assembled the best answers to why Americans will generally lag behind the English and Europeans in the entertainment world.

The Top 5 reasons why English/European actors, writers, musicians and any speaker or entertainers are wittier than Americans:

5. The accent always wins

4. They have a longer history of story telling

3.  They are trained in a Shakespearean way

2. Their mum would smack them if they didn\’t behave (manners count for a lot here)

And the Number One reason why Americans have a long way to go baby….drum roll please. . . . . . . . . . .

1. The English have the gift of gab (enhanced at times with alcohol)


5 thoughts on “British/European vs. American Actors

  1. Susan Boyle is Scottish, not English. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, as is England. Susan Boyle is Scottish and British, but most certainly not English.

    1. You are quite right. Thanks for the clarification. UK actors is more appropriate. It’s like saying Andy Murray, the pro tennis player is English although he too is from Scotland. The people of England like to adopt him as their own because they haven’t had a great player from England in a long time.

  2. Hi, I’m English and I just read your piece and it was good, funny but good. We Brits are not all raging alcholics ( The Scots are lol) But we like to have a drink and be wild un our youth. I mean your country (America) is so like the Victorian ways of our country now. Your so polite and non-exiting and not fun ( In my opionon) Like The Hills the TV series is a perfect example, and fake you don’t tell it has it is like we Brits do.
    Your country I think invites us over because they need someone fresh and different cause if you have the same people it would just be boring.

  3. lol. andrew first off don’t deceive yourself into thinking that we need brits over here to make things fresh and different. yeah you have your own little way of entertaining us when you come over here, but your absence wouldn’t bother us in the slightest either. i think we’d survive.

    and second off you’re a bit of a generalizer aren’t you? you think we’re polite and unexciting and not fun? HAHAHA dude we’re the kings of exciting and fun. where do you get your sources from? i’m thinking you’ve never been to the states, in which case you really don’t have much room to talk now do you?

  4. americans and english arguing over who are the most polite/funny/exciting/best at this best at that…two are as bad as each other

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