Tom Hollander disputes Benedict Cumberbatch’s theory on British baddies in Hollywood

The Star Trek into Darkness star thinks it's all about accents, but his compatriot says the American penchant for casting us as villains has its roots in history

Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent portrayal of villain John Harrison in Star Trek is just one in a long line of British baddies in Hollywood and the Sherlock star recently explained his theory as to why the Americans seem to enjoy casting us as villains.


“We sound our consonants a lot more which usually means intelligence and thoughts and manipulation – the colder edge of reason – rather than emotion which is all vowels, which is American,” he told Absolute Radio.

But Cumberbatch’s compatriot and fellow actor Tom Hollander disagrees, believing instead that America’s stereotyping of British actors boils down to the history of our conflict with the United States that ended with US independence in 1776:

“With respect to Ben, it’s because we are seen in America as baddies as a nation,” Hollander told The Telegraph. “It’s because we were their oppressors once, and they had to fight us off, so the sound of our voices brings all that back and they hear evil.”

Risking the wrath of Cumberbatch’s ardent fan base, The Pirates of the Caribbean and Rev star went on to further refute the actor’s hypothesis, saying “It can’t be pronunciation as though anything that sounds a bit different can be seen as negative, it would mean that we’d always have Americans as the villains in our drama, which just isn’t the case.”


So who’s right – Cumberbatch, Hollander, both or neither? Why do you think America loves a British baddie? Post a comment below and share your theories…