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You're Not American?! Christian Bale, Chiwetel Ejiofor & More Actors Who Are Actually British

Christian Bale is Welsh. Yes, the star of American Hustle may adopt an American accent for movie roles—as well as offscreen, while promoting said roles—but he hails from the UK. The same goes for Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose breakout performance as the enslaved Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave is getting him plenty of awards buzz. But there are many more "secret Brits" out there in Hollywood, and The Daily Beast has supplied a comprehensive list. 

Reuters

Reuters

You're Not American?! Christian Bale, Chiwetel Ejiofor & More Actors Who Are Actually British

Guess what? Christian Bale is Welsh. Yes, the star of American Hustle may adopt an American accent for movie roles—as well as offscreen, while promoting said roles—but he hails from the UK. The same goes for Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose breakout performance as the enslaved Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave is getting him plenty of awards buzz (Love Actually, anybody?). But there are many more "secret Brits" out there in Hollywood, and The Daily Beast has supplied a comprehensive list. 

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Christian Bale

He may be Bruce Wayne/Batman, as well as everyone's favorite American Psycho, but Bale was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, to an English mother and South African-born father. It's doubly confusing considering Bale adopts an American accent during many of his press tours. Of the decision, he told Total Film, "I change my accent because it gives me more choice, more choice of roles. If you are born in America and have a non-regional American accent then you’re probably going to get the widest choice of roles around, but still you’re going to be restricting yourself from playing roles from all around the world." 

Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Idris Elba

Yes, Elba has played mostly Americans onscreen, including his turn as crime lord Russell "Stringer" Bell in the HBO series The Wire, which many regard as the greatest television show of all-time, but he was actually born in Hackney, London, England, to a Sierra Leonean father and Ghanaian mother. Elba also, believe it or not, DJ's on the side under the moniker DJ Big Driis. You can currently catch his Golden Globe nominated turn as the titular South African anti-apartheid crusader in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Rachel Weisz

She's fooled us with her believable American accent in films like The Mummy and The Bourne Legacy, but Weisz was born in Westminster, London, England, to a Hungarian father and mother from Vienna. And if that didn't make her British enough, she's also married to James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. Weisz did, however, become an American citizen in 2011. 

Gus Ruelas/Reuters

Damian Lewis

Lewis got his first big break courtesy of Steven Spielberg on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, and has since gone on to portray Sgt. Nicholas Brody, a Marine-turned-terrorist on the Showtime series Homeland. Despite his penchant for playing U.S. military men, Lewis was born in St. John's Wood, London, England, and his maternal grandfather was even Lord Mayor of London Sir Ian Bowater. So yes, he's very British. 

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Thandie Newton

Thought the stunning star of The Pursuit of Happyness and Mission: Impossible II was American? Thought wrong. Newton was born in London, England, to Nyasha, a Zimbabwean health-care worker, and Nick Newton, a Brit. According to Newton, her mother is a Shona princess. 

Phil McCarten/Reuters

Chiwetel Ejiofor

The actor is earning loads of Oscar buzz for his riveting turn as Solomon Northup, a free American black man in 1841 who is captured and sold into slavery in the drama 12 Years A Slave. It's an even more impressive performance when you consider that Ejiofor is British. Yes, the actor was born in the Forest Gate section of London, England, to Nigerian parents. 

Richard Shotwell/Invision, via AP

Mischa Barton

This one's pretty surprising. The star of The O.C. may have adopted an American accent on and off-screen, but Barton was born in Hammersmith, London, England, to a father from Manchester and an Irish mother. When she was six, her father's work took her to New York City, where she grew up. The actress became an American citizen when she was 20. 

Danny Moloshok/Reuters

Gerard Butler

He may play American tough guys onscreen, e.g. a man tasked with saving the U.S. President in Olympus Has Fallen, but the hunky actor was born in Paisley, Scotland, to parents of Irish descent. 

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Catherine Zeta-Jones

She's adopted a very convincing American accent onscreen in period pieces like Chicago and even starred in American Sweethearts, but Zeta-Jones was actually born in Swansea, Wales. A traditional Welsh choir sang at her wedding to actor Michael Douglas in 2000, and her Welsh gold wedding ring even includes a Celtic motif engraved on the inside. 

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Hugh Laurie

He may have played everyone's favorite sarcastic American doctor on the Fox TV series House, but Laurie was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, and his father, William George Ranald Mundell Laurie, even won an Olympic gold medal in rowing at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. You don't get much more British than that.