Monday, November 12, 2012

Male on Monday:The Brits in Homeland Damian Lewis and Rupert Friend

PHS Editor and Harlequin Historical Author Michelle Styles takes another look at the British men in Homeland.

Damian Lewis who recently won an Emmy for his role in Homeland as the anti-hero Nicolas Brody surprised many Americans when he accepted the award in his normal voice. Lewis is English and was educated at Eton. He originally came to people’s attention with his starring role in Band of Brothers where he played another American Major Dick Winters. He is married with two children and does a lot of charity work.

Because as  Henry Higgins says in My  Fair Lady, When an Englishman opens his mouth, another one despises him, British actor have to be good at accents. It is one of the things taught at acting school. For such a small country, it is plagued with many accents.  It is why I think the British are possibly better at doing convincing accents than some Americans.

Having done  it with Lewis, I was sort of unsurprised to see Rupert Friend appear as an American CIA agent  peter Quinn in Homeland. Friend played Wickham in Pride and Prejudice. And Prince Albert in The Young Victoria and Cheri in Cheri. He is the former boyfriend of Keira Knightley (they split in 2010) and famously is very private about his private life. He was educated at Marlborough, did his A levels at Cherwell and attended Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art  But I had to wonder how many people watching Homeland realised he was British – particularly as to be a CIA agent in real life you do have to be American.

Are there any actors that you have been surprised to discover are British (or indeed American)?

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty, and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. Her current book Hattie Wilkinson Meets her Match is out now. Michelle is an American who has lived in the UK for 24 plus years and has an accent somewhere over the Atlantic. You can read more about Michelle and her books on


  1. Have to admit I spotted Mr Friend as a Brit straight away in Homeland... Cos I said to DH 'why have they got a British guy there, are MI6 involved now... Then realised he was doing an American accent in the next one (not very well I thought)... Still the whole thing has got so ridiculous now I wouldn't be surprised if a lithuanian turned up next. And actually I think David Harewood does the best accent of the lot of them on Homeland.. Really was surprised to find out he was British.

    But most gob-smacking of all? The discovery that Idris Elba was from Hackney after seeing him as Stringer Bell in The Wire... Dominic West was also pretty good as an Etonian Yank in that.

  2. It makes it fun though -- spotting the accent or not!

    And HOmeland -- having now watched this week's episode. Suspension of disbelief is hard. And I kept going -- how to telegraph things to the enemy...