Most American audiences are familiar with well-known American actors using an accent from another country like Russia, Ireland or Britain. But what US audiences are less familiar with are actors from other countries using an American accent.
A quick example is revered British actor, Hugh Laurie, who starred as American Dr. Gregory House on the Fox TV series “House M.D.”. Laurie’s character was as American as apple pie. (Sidebar: Laurie is now starring in HBO’s new comedy, “Avenue 5”, where he plays a supposedly American starship captain who turns out to be a British imposter, and whose accent keeps slipping between the two… It’s comedy gold, but a cautionary tale.)
There are more examples, to be sure, but the point is that when foreign actors perform on US soil, at some point they will be asked if they can do a US accent (i.e. lose their native accent).
Voice actor Mike Cooper, of MVO: The Voiceover Guys knows this story all too well. For years, since moving to America and making his home and professional voiceover studio in Asheville, NC, Cooper has been asked numerous times by producers here about his American accent.
“There isn’t one!” he bristles. Mike is so well known for his various British accents, which stands out so nicely among the plethora of American voices here, he thought maybe he shouldn’t wade into the American voice waters. He was a news announcer on the historic BBC World Service, for goodness sake. It doesn’t get much more British than that, unless your last name is Windsor…
Cooper said “A lot of my American clients, and producers I talk to, ask if I’m able to voice in an American accent. They love my voice, but they don’t need British that often.”
With the advent of 2020, Mike decided that now is the right time to present and hone his “American” chops.
“2020 is the year I’m planning on adding a General American Accent to my toolbox. I’m already working with a dialect coach, to get it just right,” Cooper said. “And I see Hugh Laurie in ‘Avenue 5’ as a timely reminder that if it’s going to be done, then it absolutely has to be done well!”
So stand by, American voiceover producers, Mike Cooper’s American voice demo is right around the corner!