British actor Idris Elba was so determined to land a role in TV drama The Wire, he spent three years mastering an American accent.
The star grew up in London but knew he would have to disguise his roots if he wanted to build a successful career in the U.S.
So he vowed to perfect an American twang, and tested his efforts by travelling in cabs and trying to pass himself off as a native - but was exposed whenever he tried to woo a woman with his drawl.
Elba tells Britain's Live magazine, "Mastering an American accent was my most difficult challenge. It took me three years to get it right. It seemed to me the ultimate test was to convince real Americans I was one of them - so I'd climb into a cab and try to pass myself off as an American.
"Cab drivers tended to fall for it. It was harder to convince in social situations. Women would look at me suspiciously and ask where I was really from. For those three years, every day was an exam day. Some days I passed, some days I didn't. By the time I came to audition for The Wire, I was able to pass myself off as an actor from Brooklyn."