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Limey Goes to Hollywood

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"Americans don't notice if I'm actually acting or not, as long as I do it with an English accent!"

A rather common thing for British actors and those of other nationalities to do: decide that they could be better served in their career by going to Los Angeles.

It's the most influential and pervasive film industry in the world. If you want to be not just a national but an international star you pretty much have to spend at least some time there. In addition, you can always come back to the U.K. and use the money from the States for British TV, indies, and theater.

The popularity of British actors is also due to the fact that they are a) cheaper, b) less likely to be doing films (though that's less and less the case) and c) less likely to be barred from gay roles by their agents. And then there's this final selling point for the Hollywood studios, probably the most important: They speak English!

Oddly, Brits and Europeans seem to have an above average chance of playing villains or jerks... See Fake American for when they put on the accent as well.



  • On Extras, Andy tells his agent he want to get on "cool shows- American shows". In the Christmas special, Andy's agent tells him he's had an offer for a movie (Andy perks up)... a British movie (Andy wilts).
  • In The TV Set Ioan Gruffudd plays Richard McCallister, a TV executive who moves from England to Los Angeles to take a job as second-in-command at a fictional TV network, which is headed by Lenny (Sigourney Weaver). Richard tries to counter-balance Lenny's fervent desire for high ratings by emphasizing the need for quality programming and preserving the writer's wishes. Richard's wife Chloe, played by Lucy Davis, hates Los Angeles and eventually leaves Richard to return to England.
  • The dream of the titular (Irish) character from Badly Drawn Roy is to go to Hollywood and try to make it big. He's eventually able to go because of donations from the community and he's shown doing odd jobs at the Walk of Fame. Whether or not he actually becomes famous is left up in the air.
  • The premise of Episodes is that of a husband-and-wife team of British television writers finding themselves living this trope, with all its attendant pitfalls.
  • In Mostly Harmless, Tricia McMillan moves to New York since British accents are in demand on American television. (Ironically, in both the TV and movie adaptations [but not the original radio show] Tricia's played by an American actress as American.)
  • S Club 7 managed to do this in fiction as well as Real Life (see below). Their first set of TV shows and specials were about a struggling band trying to make it in America. The first season Miami 7 was merely a Work Com involving them working at a hotel where they also got to perform, but the second and third seasons show them going to Los Angeles to try and make it.
  • The Supertramp song “Breakfast in America” is about an ordinary British guy who dreams of becoming famous in America and escaping his boring life.

Real Life

Successful ones are listed below; in fact, thousands of non-American actors go over each pilot season hoping to make it big, to the point documentaries get made about it.