On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Stephen attempted an interesting but bizarre thought experiment: what would Downton Abbey sound like with American Accents? He was in luck, three of the cast: Michele Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Alan leech were all on hand for promoting the final season. So he gave them some dialogue from last season,a nd asked if they would do it again–but this time, Americanized.
Now, we’re talking three British actors, for whom American accents are as foreign as us doing a plummy British one. It’s interesting what their immediate go tos are to achieve the proper inflections when put on the spot to perform an American accent. Bonneville goes for something that sounds vaguely Northern Eastern, yet pirate. Dockery and Leech both go Californian. Suffice to say, the romance of the British aristocratic system collapses almost at once.
Also note that Leech has the hardest time holding the accent, and migrates from Cali to Brooklyn before giving up all together and asking Lady Mary who she’s wearing tonight.