The World’s Best Actors and Actresses – But Where Are They From?

Film and TV. Two leisure activities that just about every Brit loves. Thanks to the rise of instant streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime, we can officially say we’re living in the golden age of screen entertainment.

Mega shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are just the start, today there is a blockbuster TV show or film for just about every audience. Fancy a futuristic sci-fi? Firefly. Craving a thrilling crime drama? True detective. Need an absurdist show to challenge the casual reasoning of life? Westworld has you covered.

Behind each Breaking Bad, every episode of Game of Thrones and each blockbuster movie is a dedicated and talented team of actors assembled from all over the world who bring these on-screen epics to life. This can often leave you wondering, where do all these talented people come from?

With the launch of the latest series of Game of Thrones we decided to put our addressing software to the test. Plugging in the names of the actors and actresses of 12 of the world’s favourite TV shows and films we’ve mapped the birthplaces of each. See how they differ for each film below.

map showing the birthplaces of actors and actresses

Breaking Bad


While we didn’t expect to see any major birthplace distribution in the series, we were quite surprised to see that not a single major actor in the show was born in Mexico. With the show set in Albuquerque on the border of Mexico and large contingents of the show featuring the highs and lows of working with the cartel, this was quite an interesting discovery.


Out of all the main characters only two were born outside of the United States. Laura Fraser who played Lydia (ricin poisoning) in the series was born in Glasgow, Scotland and Michael Mando who plays Ignacio (Nacho) was born in Quebec City, Canada.

Star Wars

As one of the largest and most loved film franchises in the world and with 69 million known colonies (according to Wookieepedia) it’s no surprise to find that Star Wars is the most nationally diverse series we analysed. With over 352 major actors across the films, the cast features actors and actresses from 34 different countries. The most popular birthplace was England with 46% born in the land of the green and plentiful, along with a further 4% being born in the wider United Kingdom.



Game of Thrones

The land of ice and fire. The number one TV show in the UK with over 2 million tuning into the premier of season 7. Based across the seven kingdoms (and beyond) we were expecting to see a highly diverse cast in the series. Surprisingly, 67% of the major cast were born in the UK with the large majority born in England.

Outside of the UK, the cast is largely dominated by Europeans including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister) who was born in Denmark and Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish) who was born in Dublin, Ireland. Another surprise was that only two actors came from the United States. Tyrion who is played by Peter Dinklage was born in Morristown in the US and Khal Drogo played by Jason Momoa was born in Honolulu in Hawaii.

The Avengers

Superhero movies are Hollywood’s cash cow right now. The crown jewel of superhero movies is the Avengers series. Raking in 1.5 billion, the series features a complex array of the most loved marvel comic book characters that has turned the blockbuster into a comedy and romance movie as much as it is an action movie.

As for its cast, we were not surprised to find most were American. With so many of the films characters based in the US (Captain America), it was no surprise that a director would cast Americans for the major roles. In fact, 72% of the major cast was made up of Americans with a further 5% being born just north of the border in Canada.




map showing the birthplaces of harry potter and house of cards actors

House of Cards

American politics. After 2016, it was hard to see how House of Cards could ever top reality. But just like all the greatest TV shows, the political drama, which follows the rise of Congressman Frank Underwood, just kept getting better.

As for the make-up of its cast, we were surprised to find that quite a few of the major cast were born outside of the US. Not that you exclusively have to be born in America to be a US politician, it was interesting to learn that Cathy Durant who was played by Jayne Atkinson was born in Bournemouth, England and that Gillian Cole who was played by Sandrine Holt was born in London, England.


Lord of the Rings

The journey to Middle-earth. One of the greatest books ever written and followed with an equally impressive fantasy blockbuster.

With the majority of the film shot in New Zealand it will be no surprise to learn that the cast is 43% Kiwi. Outside of the land of the Long White Cloud, 23% of the cast were born in England with the United States and Australia the joint third most popular birthplace both taking 10% of cast’s national identity.


Harry Potter

As the second most successful movie franchise of all time making $2.4 billion at the box office, the Rowling classic has been viewed by hundreds of millions of children and adults all around the world.

Set in the fantasy world of witches and wizardry, the theme of the show is quite British with the cast reflecting this theme. In fact, 84% of the major cast was British with only a select few in Emma Watson (Hermione) who was born in Paris and Richard Harris (Dumbledore) who was born in Ireland making the cut after being born outside of the UK.


The Walking Dead

It’s a fantasy that every boy will have in their life. What will I do in zombie apocalypse? While many shows have tried their best to capture the despair and fear of surviving a post-apocalyptic landscape, the best by far is the AMC hit show The Walking Dead.

Set in the Bible belt region of the United States, The Walking Dead cast is of course 81% American. The other 19% of the major cast is made up of several Englishmen including the show’s star actor Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), a South Korean in Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee) and Canadian actor Steven Ogg (Simon).




map showing the birthplace of sherlock and the dark knight characters

Sherlock

In the contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories you get to watch the magnificent Benedict Cumberbatch play the enigmatic master of deduction that is Sherlock Holmes.

Staying true to Doyle’s books, the show is set on Baker Street, London. As you would expect with a British literacy classic, the cast is made up of largely British actors (74%).


The Dark Knight

Touted as the greatest trilogy of all time, the Christopher Nolan recreation is the darkest and most thought provoking Batman to hit the big screen.

Featuring world class performances from the likes of Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Tom Hardy, the cast of the Dark Knight series is surprisingly varied. While the majority of the films' major roles are played out by Americans, the trilogy also features Irish, Scottish and even Japanese nationalities.


Dexter

Dexter Morgan. Not only is he a master blood splatter analyst who solves murders, but he commits them too. With a plot that will leave you warming to a serial killer, the show is something of a twisted favourite for audiences across the world.

Set and shot almost exclusively in Miami, the show’s cast was almost exclusively American with 75% of the actors and actresses born in the US. The only exceptions are David Zayas (Angel Batista) who was born in Puerto Rico, C.S Lee (Vince Masuka) who was born in South Korea and Australian actress Yvonne Strahovski (Hannah McKay).


Pulp Fiction

If there is one film you should see in your lifetime, the Tarantino classic Pulp Fiction is it. To call it a masterpiece is still underselling it. Following the interwoven lives of gangsters in a non-linear plot structure, it’s said that Quentin specifically wrote many of the films characters for specific actors before even casting them.

Out of the 36 major roles in the film, over 80% of the roles were given to American actors. In fact only six of the show's major roles were given to actors born outside of the United States. Some of these include the American hero Bruce Willis (Butch) who was born in Germany, Tim Roth (Pumpkin) who was born in England and Marie De Medeiros (Fabienne) who was born in Portugal.
 

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