Close The Borders: British Actors Will Work For Food

The New York Times has an article about all of the British actors who come over here, expertly feign Yankee accents, and take all of our TV roles. Hugh Laurie was the first to make the jump, and now UK actors like Damian Lewis, Ray Stevenson, Kevin McKidd, Tom Conti, and Julian Sands have followed suit. Classic American superheroes the Bionic Woman and Sarah Connor from Terminator will be played, respectively, by Eastenders' Michelle Ryan and The Long Firm's Lena Headey. So what of it – are they just better actors than us natives? Maybe. But the Times piece suggests it all comes down to the bottom line:

They have still another advantage, which only one network executive was willing to mention: They work more cheaply. "It has gotten so expensive to sign American actors," the executive said, requesting not to be identified because financial terms are never made public.

The executive said it is increasingly difficult to get an American actor in a lead role for less than $100,000 an episode. British actors work for considerably less, the executive said, though the figures vary.

Ah, so while American thesps routinely ask for the moon, British actors, who are used to being paid in table scraps and bottle caps, will accept slave wages, effectively making Hollywood a gigantic sweatshop for the hungry and the classically trained. How can conservatives spin this into an anti-immigration platform for 2008?

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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