Jo of the Gates wrote:
You bet we will!
I have no epithets for you, Sandman (well, maybe "chauvinist" suggests itself), but there is no earthly - or Discworldly - logical reason an American could not portray Sam Vimes brilliantly. Many British actors have portrayed Americans without American audiences crying foul. Daniel Day-Lewis (OK, I know he's Irish) played Abraham Lincoln, for crying out loud! My own first choice to play Vimes has portrayed Englishmen at least twice before.
. (Holmes and Chaplin) As an aside here--Renee Zellweger played Bridgit Jones so well that fellow actors who did not know her before refused to believe she was a Texan. And speaking of Texans - going further aside - have you seen Michael Caine in Secondhand Lions? He portrayed a "good ole boy" Texan flawlessly. And I am one Texan who can spot a phony drawl a mile off!
All in good fun, of course, Sandman.
While I enjoyed RDJ in Sherlock Holmes and agree his and Renee Zellweger are examples of pretty flawless English accents, there's still always something off about them to me. It's like... it's undoubtedly an accurate English accent but no ACTUAL English person would sound like that? Same goes for Elijah Wood in LoTR and so on. And I always feel like it's difficult to get past the accent to the performance. Both performances felt slightly stilted to me, like the actors were concentrating so hard on how they were speaking they were unable to be fully natural in the part. With parts like Sherlock Holmes and Bridget Jones, the larger-than-life comedic nature of the characters means this doesn't matter, but I think a Vimes needs to be totally naturalistic.
I guess I'd also just wonder WHY you'd cast an American when there are many Brits who'd be great for the part. I actually think you get a much better class of actor on projects like this in Britain than equivalent ones in America. I think because British actors work for less and there's a smaller pool of them
For example, compare the British and American incarnations of 'Being Human': in Britain a project like that can be a major-channel show and attract actors like Phil Davies and Russell Tovey as regulars. In America (or Canada I think it was filmed), the actors are all beautiful unknowns with considerably less talent and experience, and made very much as a genre show.
I know I'm generalising, but if we're talking about actors you'd realistically get to sign up to this kind of project, I'd have more confidence in the British acting pool than the American.