A Single Word Helped Hugh Laurie Switch Between British And American Accents [Exclusive]


Hugh Laurie starred as an American doctor in “House M.D.” (though one brilliant scene did have him faking a British accent on the phone). I mentioned to Laurie that I hadn’t realized he was British back then, because he was so good at the accent. But “Avenue 5” offered a new challenge.

Laurie said switching between accents is hard on “Avenue 5” than when he was working on “House M.D.” In that series, he would start doing the accent the second he entered the studio lot to keep from slipping up. “From that moment on, for the next 14 hours, in my head, I don’t know if it sounded that way to everyone else, but in my head I was American. I didn’t step out of it.” But that’s not really possible on “Avenue 5.” Laurie explained:

“But to be in ‘Avenue 5’ where, well, first of all, the pace of the production is so very different, and the speed, the back and forth of the different characters cannoning into each other means a kind of … yeah, it needs a kind of mental agility that, frankly, I don’t think I ever had in the first place. Nevermind having it still now.”

Adding to that, he’s working closely in many scenes with Lenora Crichlow, who is also actually British but doing an American accent for her character. There are also a variety of accents around him at any given time. Laurie’s never slips for a second, which is an absolute marvel. So how does he do it?



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