In South Africa, a Call for Fake Americans


For more than 10 years, international film and TV productions have been flocking to South Africa, drawn by a favorable exchange rate, generous rebates and the fact that locations in the country can easily be made to look like other places around the world.

Consequently, many of the movies and shows shot there aren't set in South Africa, or in Africa at all. American producers are happy to recreate Arizona or Malibu on the other side of the globe if they can save money, and physically, adapting the locations isn't all that hard. The bigger challenge? Populating these fake Americas with fake Americans.

It turns out, sounding like a Californian isn't so easy when you grow up in Cape Town. Actors are turning to accent coaches for help, and I went to see one, too.

This story aired on KPCC's "The Frame," PRI's "The World" and the BBC's "London Calling" in 2016.