The average resume of a Hollywood actor makes for impressive reading. In addition to a lengthy list of film and TV credits, you’re also likely to find some fairly specific skills and areas of expertise. One skill set that many famous actors fail to promote is proficiency with foreign languages. However, quite a few of your favorite actors and actresses are likely bilingual. Planning on improving your own linguistic skills with online study? You’d be in good company. Below, we explore the multilingual mastery of some of Hollywood’s finest.
Marvel star Tom Hiddleston’s multilingual skills put many polyglots to shame. In addition to his native English, Hiddleston is also proficient with Spanish, French and Italian. He can also speak Russian, Latin and Greek with a good degree of fluency. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the Loki actor has also demonstrated an appetite for East Asian languages, with a conversational grasp of both Mandarin Chinese and Korean. Hyper-polyglots like Hiddleston might be in the minority, but learning more than 10 languages is by no means impossible.
This Oscar-winning actress has long been known for her academic achievements, graduating from Harvard University with a degree in psychology in 2003. However, her multilingual proficiency is even more impressive. Portman was born to Jewish parents in Jerusalem in 1981, learning Hebrew as a mother tongue before becoming bilingual English. Since then, she has demonstrated respectable skills with Arabic, German, French and Japanese.
Portman’s co-star in 2011’s Black Swan is another actor who can claim to be bilingual. Her language skills aren’t quite as impressive as Portman’s, but Kunis can boast full fluency in both English and Russian. She’s showcased her language skills several times during her tenure on the hit animated show Family Guy. In 20211, she also called upon her language skills during a clash with a Russian journalist when promoting a film she was co-starring in with Justin Timberlake.
Penelope Cruz’s commitment to foreign languages is something to be commended. The Academy Award-winning actress is one of 460 million native Spanish speakers in the world, but also speaks several other languages. In her teenage years, Cruz studied at a French school where she picked up her first foreign language. Later, she mastered Italian in preparation for a role in 2004 movie Don’t Move. Since becoming a breakout international movie star, Cruz has also become completely fluent in English.
Although his name suggests a distinctly Italian heritage, Leonardo DiCaprio’s family tree includes many German members. DiCaprio’s father was born to an Italian father and German mother, with the German language being a firm fixture of DiCaprio’s upbringing. At home, German was used almost as frequently as English, making DiCaprio proficient with both languages.
Killing Eve star Sandra Oh can speak no less than three languages. In addition to English, Oh is fully fluent in Korean thanks to being born to Korean parents. She’s also a Canadian national, having been raised in Montreal. Being brought up in the province of Quebec also meant she was regularly exposed to French as a child.