Camilla Luddington has become a fan favorite as Dr. Jo Karev since her debut in season 9 of Grey’s Anatomy Few may realize the British-born actress has to actively hide her English accent to authentically sound like her American character.
Camilla Luddington donned a tiara before a lab coat
Cast as Kate Middleton in the 2011 Lifetime movie William & Kate, Luddington’s accent came in handy for the role. Turns out the actress had some things in common with the Duchess of Cambridge, including their home county of Berkshire.
In a visit to the Today Show in 2018, the Grey’s star told co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb she attended “Princess School” to learn the ways of the Royals. Showing off one of her acquired skills, Luddington offered the NBC personalities a demonstration on how to execute the perfect curtsy.
“You have to keep your back really straight and then you cross your leg and then you get down as low as you can,” she informed Kotb and Gifford. “It’s kind of hard. It’s a bit of a leg work out too.”
Kevin McKidd doesn’t show any signs of Scottish as Owen Hunt
Luddington’s co-star Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt) also speaks with an accent since he is originally from Elgin, Scotland, according to IMDb. The Grey’s star was recruited by Pixar for the 2012 film Brave to voice the MacGuffin father-son duo. McKidd’s Scottish roots added authenticity to the animated movie’s setting in the Highlands and served as invaluable to producers.
“They asked, ‘what kind of accent should they do?’” McKidd told the Hollywood Reporter of Brave’s creative team. “They suggested nonsense Scottish words, but I said I could do that, but [I’d rather do] a dialogue from my hometown Doric, my grandfather used to speak. … it’s hard to understand it. They were blown away – ‘are you making that up or making a real dialect?’ Pixar is so thorough so they like the idea of a real dialect.”
Pixar producers gave McKidd plenty of leeway to interject verbiage and sayings that were straight from his home country.
“The lines they would come up with wouldn’t quite ring true to Scottish ear, so they were flexible to us just changing stuff, say this is what I would say, my mom would speak it or my dad say it,” the Brave star recalled.
The ‘Grey’s’ star who stays in character
Luddington is quite active on social media, often posting and filming while she is on set. Taking to Snapchat in 2017, the Grey’s star revealed a question she frequently receives from fans.
“People want to know why I have an American accent when I am shooting videos behind the scenes of Grey’s Anatomy,” she said.
Comparing herself to her Scottish co-star, Luddington shared that she prefers to stay somewhat in character for the entire workday rather than going back to her English vernacular between takes.
“I cannot do what Kevin McKidd does,” the William & Kate star explained in the video. “He spends the day flipping back and forth between accents for his character. If I did that then Jo Wilson would sound probably very British. So even when I am not shooting in character, I keep this accent because it’s easier for me to maintain sounding American all day.”
The season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy has not yet been scheduled.