Fans have wondered for years if Johnny Depp is British. His accent is… well, different. He may live and work mostly in America, but his accent sounds anything but.
Johnny Depp is not British. Born John Christopher Depp II, the famous actor is from Owensboro, Kentucky, USA. He certainly has a unique accent that many find hard in placing, and some even find difficult to understand! As can be heard in this recent Instagram post, it’s no wonder that some people mistake him for being British.
Perhaps a result of the various films he’s acted in, Johnny Depp’s accent has evolved over the years. Let’s take a look at how Depp’s accent has changed and why some might think that he’s British.
An Ever-Evolving Accent
Johnny was born in Kentucky, but he was raised in Florida. In the early 1980s he took a trip to Los Angeles, California, happened to meet Nicolas Cage, and his acting career began! His first role was in the 1984 film, A Nightmare on Elm Street before starring in more than 50 other films.
In some of Depp’s earlier films, he had a sexy and sultry accent that earned him a spot as People’s Sexiest Man Alive. In fact, in his first role, his accent is crisp and clear and reminiscent of anyone who’s lived in Kentucky or Florida. He sounded calm, cool, and collected—but this would certainly change as Depp became more famous and acted in more movies.
More recently, in a 2015 Today interview about his then-upcoming film Black Mass, Depp discussed his character, a Boston gangster, while he transitioned through a variety of accents in the short interview. Some can detect hints of Australian twang while others can pick up on the Boston accent that made its way into the film.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The blockbuster The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl marked a turning point for Johnny Depp. He played the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, for whom he perfected not only the dreadlocked pirate but also the slurring Cockney accent. The movie got him an Oscar nomination—and also a new accent that he would find difficult to shake.
So, What’s the Deal with His Accent?
Depp has been known for several different accents over the years, but his British one has been most prominent. According to some sources, he’s actually been diagnosed with a disorder called FAS, or Foreign Accent Syndrome.
In Depp’s case, FAS seems to be the likely reason behind the changes in Depp’s accent, including the commonly detected British one.
Based on interviews, physicians and speech pathologists alike have wondered if Depp’s strange mix of different accents is a result of the disease. FAS generally presents itself after a victim has been involved in a traumatic situation with a foreign accent.
It’s still up in the air if this is a real condition or not (some doctors believe their patients are simply faking it), but in Depp’s case, it could be the reason behind the British accent.
An interview with one doctor points to Depp’s “muddled mish-mash of several accents” and attributes them to possible brain damage. The area responsible for language skills could have been damaged, leading to Depp sounding English, Irish, and Australian—all in the same interview.
Foreign Accent Syndrome is rare, but has impacted a few famous people. In fact, it’s thought that Madonna, who spent some years living in England, may have suffered from FAS. Johnny Depp has yet to officially be confirmed with FAS, but it could certainly explain his variety of accents.
What’s His Regular Voice?
If his regular voice has been lost to his fans, it’s likely been lost to Johnny Depp himself, too. If interviews are any indication, Depp’s “regular voice” is completely gone, replaced by different accents from around the world. There’s one thing we know for sure though, that Johnny Depp is not British.