27 Hollywood Stars You Probably Thought Were American

There is no doubt that Hollywood is the most important film industry in the world, and each year there are hundreds of American actors that launch their acting careers. However, as the years go by, there are more and more foreign actors that star in Hollywood’s greatest hits. However, there are a bunch of very successful actors and actresses that almost everybody thinks are American, but in reality, they’re not. Check out this list of 27 actors who you probably figured were American, but are actually from other countries, mostly from English speaking countries.

#27. Alexander Skarsgard

Alexander Skarsgard has risen to fame thanks to his brilliant performance in the TV series True Blood, where he portrays a dangerous vampire named Eric Northman. He has also won a Golden Globe in 2018 for his part in the TV series Big Little Lies. But where is he from?

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Surprisingly, he’s not American. In fact, not even close. He’s not even from an English-speaking country. He was born and raised in Sweden and even undertook military service at the age of 18 in his native country. After that, he moved to Great Britain to study at university, and that’s when his acting career began. We know the rest!

#26. Nina Dobrev

Nina Dobrev became internationally famous after her role in the hit TV series The Vampire DiariesBut even though she has starred in several American TV series and films, such as The Perks of Being a Wildflowershe was born far from the US.

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Dobrev moved to Los Angeles from Canada, the country where she grew up and spent most of her life. However, Canada is not even her birthplace. Believe it or not, she was born in Bulgaria, but she moved to Canada when she was only two years old.

#25. Dominic Monaghan

Can you recognize Dominic Monaghan in the picture below? Most people know him for his role as Merry in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but he has changed so much ever since that it’s hard to recognize him! Both his parents are British, but he’s not British nor American. Can you guess what his nationality is?

Photo: Courtesy of Mouse – La Tercera

The fellow actor is German. It turns out that his British parents were living and working in West Berlin by the time they had him. A couple of years later, they moved to Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, and then Munster, and only then did they return to England. By that time, Monaghan was already 11 years old.

#24. Idris Elba

Idris Elba became widely popular after playing the character of Stringer Bell in the TV series The Wire, in 2002. The series took place in Baltimore, Maryland, and he made all of us believe that he was a Maryland citizen. But believe it or not, he’s British!

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Elba was born and raised in London. And you know what? Just recently, he proposed to his 29-year-old girlfriend in the local London cinema where he used to go to when he was young. Isn’t he a sweetheart? If you were hoping to date him, you should know that he’s off the table!

#23. Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen is one of United States’ most famous stand-up comedians of all times. He’s also rocked in several comedy movies, such as Superbad and Pineapple Express. However, he’s not really American.

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Like many artists in this list, Rogen was born in Canada. His father is actually American, but he was born and raised in Vancouver until the age of 16. What made him cross the border? He went to audition for the show Freaks and Geeks, and after getting a part, he moved to Los Angeles and never came back.

#22. Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender has acted in several British and American movies, the reason for which both countries claim him as his own. However, he wasn’t born in any of these two countries. He actually comes from Heidelberg, Germany.

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However, he’s actually half Irish, since her mother comes from Northern Ireland. In fact, when he was two years old, he moved from Germany to Ireland with his family. Back then, little did his parents know that he would become a famous actor with two Academy Award nominations (one for Steve Jobs and the other one for 12 Years a Slave).

#21. Hugh Laurie

Everyone remembers Hugh Laurie for his brilliant performance in the TV series Dr. Housein which he plays the role of a grumpy American doctor. But the main reason why most people think he’s American is that they haven’t seen him act in any of his earlier films.

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If you go back in time, you’ll see that Laurie was quite an accomplished and successful actor ever since his 20s in his native Great Britain. In fact, in that country, he’s widely popular for his role in the successful BBC comedy Blackadder.

#20. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is one of the most talented actresses of these last years. If you’ve never seen any of her movies, then start with Monster, where she plays serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Her brilliant performance in that film that earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2003.

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However, this Hollywood icon was born far from Hollywood. She was born and raised in South Africa in her parents’ farm, and her mother tongue is not English but Afrikaans. When she moved to the U.S., she was planning to study ballet, but good luck that she went for acting instead!

#19. Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth is currently one of the most popular actors in the world, especially ever since he starred as Thor in Thor (2011) and The Avengers (2012). These roles have also earned him a nomination for the BAFTA Awards for the category of Rising Star Award.

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But against popular belief, this handsome actor is not American, but Australian. Who would’ve thought? We’re so used to listening to him speak in an American accent in all of his films, that we just can’t picture him being from anywhere else than the US.

#18. Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried has become widely popular during the last two decades, especially after her roles in Mean Girls, Mama Mia!, and Les Miserables. But even though she was born and raised in Pennsylvania, she has German heritage.

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It turns out that her grandparents were German, but despite her Germanic roots, she can’t speak the language. However, she often complains about the mispronunciation of her last name, which sounds like “Sigh-frid”.

#17. Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis has spent the last two decades working in the acting business, but she gained international fame after her role in Black Swan. In fact, her performance in that movie earned her a Golden Globe nomination. But although she now has American citizenship, she grew up on the other side of the world. Literally!

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Kunis was born in ChernovtskyUkraine, and she had no ties to the U.S. until her parents chose to move there when she was 7. At the time, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, so we can say she’s Soviet. Can you believe it?

#16. Jamie Dornan

I’m pretty sure all of you know Jamie Dornan from his part in the trilogy of 50 Shades of Grey, and he’s become a sex symbol ever since. However, he has also starred in many other successful films and TV series, including the BBC crime thriller The Fall.

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Dornan was born in Holywood. I know what you’re thinking: that name is missing an “l”! Well, he wasn’t born in America’s Hollywood, but in Northern Ireland’s Holywood, a small city really close to Belfast. Who would’ve thought he was Irish?

#15. Charlie Hunnam

Charlie Hunnam is widely known for his role of Jax Teller on AMC’s biker show Sons of Anarchy. He has starred in this show for so many years, that it’s hard to picture him playing anything else than a tough American biker seeking justice and revenge.

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But before landing his role in this series, he was one among hundreds of British actors and actresses hoping to hit it off at Hollywood. He was born and raised in Newcastle, England, and he studied Performing Arts at Cumbria College of Art and Design in Carlisle.

#14. Diane Kruger

Actress Diane Kruger is famous for her roles in Inglourious Basterds and Troy, and since she has a perfect American accent, one would think that she’s actually American. However, as they say, appearances can be deceptive.

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Kruger was actually born in Algermissen, West Germany. However, she grew up mostly in Paris, where she currently lives. As a result, she’s fluent in both English, German, and French. Who would’ve guessed that language skills were her hidden talent?

#13. Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst became famous after her role in Spider-Man, where she played the superhero’s girlfriend. Several years later, she earned two Golden Globe nominations for her roles in the TV series Fargo and Interview with the Vampire.

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But even though she was actually born in the US, she has held German citizenship ever since 2011. The reason behind this is that she wanted to avoid having to get Visas and work permits when shooting movies in Europe. She was granted German citizenship because her father was born in Hamburg.

#12. Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly is one of the greatest movie icons of the 20th century and has starred in several classics such as High Noon, Mogambo, and To Catch a Thief. She has also won an Academy Award for her role in The Country Girl in 1954.

Photo: Courtesy of RTVE.es

Even though she was born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kelly has German roots, since both her grandparents were German immigrants. It is also worth mentioning that she married the Prince of Monaco, the reason for which she has European citizenship as well.

#11. Christopher Walken

Veteran actor Christopher Walken is most famous for his role in The Deer Hunterwhich has earned him his first and only Academy Award. But although he was born in Queens, New York, he also has European citizenship. But why?

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He was born to a Scottish mother and a German father, who came to the United States in 1928 and opened a bakery. Even though he’s not fluent in German, he can understand it. At least that’s what he says!

#10. Christian Bale

Christian Bale has been in the movie business for quite a while now, but he became a legend after playing Batman in Batman Begins and The Dark KnightHe also hit it off in the 2010 film The Fighterwhich earned him his first and only Academy Award.

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Most people believe Christian Bale is American, mainly because of the fact that if you listen to him speak in an interview, he does sound American. However, he’s actually British. He’s also a unique actor and has a great talent in improvising different accents.

#9. Robert Pattinson

When Stephanie Meyer wrote Twilight, little did she know that it would later become one of the most successful movie franchises in modern history. The saga starred Robert Pattinson in the role of Edward Cullen, and his good looks earned him millions of both female and male fans all over the world.

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But guess what? Pattinson is not American, but British. He grew up in Barnes, southwest London, until the age of 18, when he decided to move out of his parents’ house and live abroad. Did you realize how many actors were born in England without the world knowing about it?

#8. Rachel McAdams

Everyone believes that this beautiful actress is American, but actually, she moved to America in 2002, right after landing her first important American role in the comedy film The Hot ChickA couple of years after, she gained international fame after playing the role of Regina George in Mean Girls.

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But even though she starred in countless American classics, McAdams was actually born in Canada. She grew up there and studied theatre at York University in Toronto. After graduating from college, she starred in a couple of Canadian TV shows, and only then did she move to Hollywood.

#7. Justin Bieber

Singer and actor Justin Bieber became famous with his 2009 single One Time, followed by his first EP album My WorldThat year, he became the first artist to have 7 songs from a debut album on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2012, he really hit it off with his new album Believeand it’s after that album that his fans are known as “Believers”.

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But do all Believers know that Bieber is not American? Surprisingly, he was born in a town called London in Ontario, Canada. He has French, Irish, German, and English heritage, so there’s actually nothing American about him at all!

#6. Bruce Willis

Are you telling me the American action hero is not really American? You’ve got to be kidding! Bruce Willis was actually born in Idar-Oberstein, Germany to a German mother and an American father. However, he only spent two years of his life there, and after that, he moved to the US.

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The actor can speak a few German words, but he’s not fluent at all. Nothing compares to his acting skills, and we will always remember his brilliant performances in Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, and The Sixth Senseamong many others.

#5. Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell is not only famous for his good looks. He has also starred in dozens of Hollywood films and has achieved a Golden Globe nomination for his role in The Lobster in 2015, and a Golden Globe Award for his performance in In Bruges in 2008.

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After starring in so many Hollywood classics, most people think he’s American. However, he was actually born in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. He grew up in the Dublin suburb of Castleknock, and he moved to the US as an adult.

#4. Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix is one of Hollywood’s most talented actors of the 21st century. In fact, he has received three Academy Award nominations for his brilliant performances in Gladiator in 2001, Walk the Line in 2004, and The Master in 2012.

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But although he has American citizenship, he wasn’t born in the US. If you consider that he has a Spanish name, it’s no surprise that he was born in Puerto Rico, and he lived on the Caribbean island until the age of 4.

#3. Sandra Bullock

Did any of you know that the famous actress Sandra Bullock is 100% fluent in German? Even though she was born in Virginia, she has a German mother, and she spent 12 years of her childhood living in Nuremberg. Who would’ve thought!

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Bullock has also publicly accepted several awards in German. If you don’t believe me, look it up on Youtube! Apart from her fluent German, she’s also an amazing actress, having won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Blind Side.

#2. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger is famous for his acting career as well as his political career. Without a doubt, he has become one of Hollywood’s greatest action stars after his performance in the Terminator saga, but he has also left his mark in politics after becoming California’s governor in 2003.

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But do any of you know where he’s from? He was actually born in a small Austrian village called Thal. He lived there until the age of 19 when he moved to the US to become a bodybuilder. According to LA Weekly, he’s America’s most famous immigrant.

#1. Leonardo DiCaprio

What? Are you serious? How can American film-legend Leonardo DiCaprio not be American? Well, actually, he’s only half-American. Born and raised in Los Angeles, DiCaprio’s parents are both European. His father is half Italian and half German, while both his grandparents are Russian. What a rich heritage!

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DiCaprio is actually fluent in German, which was his father’s mother tongue. In fact, he even has a German name, since his full name is Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio. He has also proven his language skills by doing a couple of interviews in German. Who would’ve known?

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    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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