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Recently I've noticed that the original programming output from AMC seems to feature what I consider to be a disproportionate amount of British talent - a distinction that is amplified by the fact that these British actors are invariably playing American characters.

The Walking Dead brought it to my attention by casting Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey as the show's key protagonist/antagonist during one season, but this was nothing particularly unusual at that point.

Preacher, however, is another slice of southern gothic set in the American south; but this show features an entirely British principal ensemble; Jessie, Tulip, Cassidy, Emily, Fiore and Deblanc (although, granted, the latter of these two don't play American characters.

AMC also co-produced the British hit series The Night Manager and Humans, the latter of which acquired William Hurt in their casting, perhaps in some kind of exchange.

So, to get to the point:

Is there some kind of overt exchange going on between specifically AMC and British talent?

This doesn't necessarily have to be an explicit formal agreement - for example, AMC may have appointed someone high up in their acquisitions or production department with a lot of experience in the British market.

Or is this all simply coincidence?

21

Possibly it's coincidence... but good actors are good actors. :)

Gale Ann Hurd was asked about the prevalance of English/British actors in the Walking Dead and other shows:

We asked Hurd why she thinks this keeps happening in American television and films – so many Brits/non-Americans playing these roles of Southerners – and she attributed it to open casting calls.

“When we do the casting, all of the auditions are posted on the website, and we don’t know necessarily where they’re from. So it’s completely equal opportunity. It just so happened that Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan and David Morrissey all are based in the U.K.”

Carlton Cuse on casting Bates Motel (other comments at that link):

"We looked at a lot of actors, but the truth is, there currently seems to be a big gulf between Australian and British actors and American actors. The American actors just don't seem as well trained or as deep and complex."

Finally, from 2015 Guardian Article...

Spike Lee:

Lee put it down to the skills that British actors learn. Their training, he said, “is very proper, whereas some of these other brothers and sisters, you know, they come in here, and they don’t got that training”

Richard Hicks, president of the Casting Society of America:

Hicks and his colleagues put the problem down to a failure to train American actors in character work. It is by building up a portfolio of cameo roles that a talent can develop, he argued.

  • Good answer! I'm going to wait and see if anyone can attribute something specifically to AMC, or if it's truly a broader phenomenon before accepting though... – John Smith Optional Jul 12 '16 at 11:30
  • I've been looking for a Preacher quote althouh Ruth Negga is Ethiopian-Irish and not "British" technically. :) ...but I think you can see it's a general phenomenon. – Paulie_D Jul 12 '16 at 11:34
  • Even more - ew.com/article/2015/01/28/selma-british-actors – Paulie_D Jul 12 '16 at 11:40
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    "building up a portfolio of cameo roles" - For me this is the key. A lot of the great American actors I have admired in the past I had seen in a number of minor roles on TV and in movies before hitting their larger, more recognised roles. – camden_kid Jul 12 '16 at 12:36
  • @camden_kid You make me think of Gary Oldman. – Todd Wilcox Jul 12 '16 at 12:37
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Have you checked if maybe the producer or director of the show is a Brit? Or if he maybe worked with the same cast on his last projects?

If yes, that's your answer right there. Of course it's also possible they received so kind of funding from the U.K., or the BBC (coproducers).

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    Hey! Welcome to Movies & TV. Hope ya enjoy it here! However, since this is more than just a run-of-the-mill chat forum, it would be appreciated if you gave more of a well-thought-out and well-explained answer. When you get more reputation and such, you'll be able to post something like this as a comment on the original question. However, for a proper answer like this, it would be appreciated if you gave an actual answer. (Maybe even (help to) look up the exact things that you are proposing that John look up!) – ghostdog Aug 23 '16 at 2:07

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