15 Bilingual Celebrities Who Learned a Language for a Role

Have you ever marveled at the linguistic talents of your favorite celebrities on the big screen?

In this post, we'll share some intriguing stories about bilingual celebrities who speak multiple languages, and those that learned a new language for a specific role.

We'll also show you why they learned each language, and the interesting circumstances that led to doing so.

From mastering Elvish for "The Lord of the Rings" to acquiring Mandarin Chinese for business deals, these stars showcase the extent of their language skills beyond their native tongues.

So, let's get into it.


1. Viggo Mortensen: A Man of Many Languages

Viggo Mortensen, renowned for his role in "The Lord of the Rings," boasts a linguistic repertoire that goes beyond Elvish. Growing up in Argentina, Mortensen spoke Spanish and English, adding Danish to the mix due to his heritage.

His diverse language background became a valuable asset in mastering Elvish for his iconic portrayal of Aragorn in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy trilogy.

2. Sandra Bullock: A German Opera Connection

Sandra Bullock's linguistic prowess extends beyond the ordinary. In preparation for her role in the opera-themed film "Love Potion No. 9," Bullock embraced the challenge of learning German.

The decision to immerse herself in the language was driven by her character's profession and the authenticity she aimed to bring to the role.

Bullock's dedication to mastering German for this specific project reflects her commitment to the craft of acting and her willingness to go the extra mile for authenticity.

3. Bradley Cooper: A French Affair

Bradley Cooper's journey into the French language was motivated by artistic inspiration. When preparing for his role in "Burnt," where his character runs a restaurant in Paris, Cooper decided to learn French to convey a genuine portrayal.

His dedication to understanding the language and its nuances demonstrates a commitment to elevating his performances and ensuring an authentic representation of the characters he embodies.

4. Natalie Portman: Multilingual

Natalie Portman, known for her intellectual approach to roles, has claimed she embraced multilingual challenges for the sake of authenticity.

While preparing for various films, including "V for Vendetta" and "Jane Got a Gun," Portman learned multiple languages, such as British English and Spanish. She also speaks Hebrew as her native language, having been born in Jerusalem.

Her commitment to linguistic accuracy highlights her desire to fully inhabit the characters she portrays, showcasing a level of dedication that goes beyond the surface of her on-screen presence.

5. Colin Firth: True Italian Love

Colin Firth's venture into the Italian language was sparked by personal connections. In love and married to an Italian woman, Livia Giuggioli, Firth chose to learn Italian to communicate more deeply with his wife and her family.

This personal motivation translated into his professional life when he took on roles that required him to speak Italian.

Firth's decision to learn the language for both personal and professional reasons reflects a genuine commitment to understanding and embracing the cultural nuances associated with language.


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6. Jodie Foster: Benefited from Early French Education

Jodie Foster, unlike many on this list, acquired her second language, French, not for a role but through early education. She attended a French school in Los Angeles as a child, providing her with fluency in the language.

This early exposure not only allowed her to dub her own English films in French but also opened doors for her to star in French films like "Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles," showcasing her versatility in a multilingual cinematic landscape.

7. Anya Taylor-Joy: Fluent in Spanish

Anya Taylor-Joy's linguistic journey began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she grew up speaking Spanish. Despite later moving to England and learning English for working purposes, her proficiency in Spanish remains evident.

Taylor-Joy often conducts interviews in Spanish for movie promotions or magazines, demonstrating her commitment to maintaining and showcasing her fluency in the language she acquired during her early years.

8. Mark Zuckerberg: A Mandarin Speaker

Mark Zuckerberg, the tech giant, surprised the world with his knowledge and fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

Motivated by the desire to communicate more effectively in business deals with China, Zuckerberg's dedication to learning this notoriously difficult language has inspired many.

Since revealing his Mandarin skills during a speech in 2014, he has demonstrated that language learning can be a valuable tool in fostering international relationships and conducting successful business negotiations. He is learning other languages right now so maybe we will soon update his chapter.

9. Charlize Theron: Rare Afrikaans Tongue

Charlize Theron, despite her expertise in changing accents for movie roles, possesses a native South African accent.

Theron's mother tongue is Afrikaans, a language she spoke until she was a young adult. Although she didn't learn to speak English until she was 19 and living in the United States, her Afrikaans roots remain a distinctive part of her linguistic identity.

Theron's ability to effortlessly switch between accents showcases her versatility as an actress. Right now she is on her new language-learning journey and soon enough we will hear her speak French in theaters.

10. Gwyneth Paltrow: A Spanish Speaker

Gwyneth Paltrow's language journey took her to a small town in Spain when she was 15 years old. During her year abroad, she learned to speak Spanish, a skill she later advocated for by teaching her children the language.

Paltrow's commitment to language learning and her embrace of Spanish reflect her belief in the benefits of multilingualism which she used for her roles in later years.

Beyond the realm of acting, she encourages others to explore the world through the lens of different languages. Now she speaks three languages fluently.

11. Novak Djokovic: A True Linguist

The best tennis player we have speaks more than one language out of respect for every country he plays in. He speaks Spanish, knows Chinese, and French as is also but is also fluent in German.

Novak is Serbian and his native language is Serbian but he makes an effort to speak as many languages as possible to play his role - the best in everything.

He speaks Russian the best but that is simply because his native language is very similar. It looks like Novak can win any match and learn any foreign language.

12. Leonardo DiCaprio: German and Italian

Leonardo DiCaprio's linguistic pursuits go beyond movie roles, positioning him as a linguistic activist. His father's German and Italian heritage sparked DiCaprio's interest in these languages, and he learned to speak both from an early age.

In his movies, we heard him speaking fluent German and speaking French very well. Maybe soon enough he too will learn Spanish.

DiCaprio has been caught on film using both German and Italian to speak at press conferences and events, showcasing his dedication to honoring his heritage and maintaining proficiency in multiple languages outside the realm of film.

13. Tom Hiddleston: Multilingual

Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, possesses a genuine passion for languages. Fluent in Italian, Spanish, and French, Hiddleston also learned Ancient Greek while studying Classics at Cambridge.

His linguistic prowess extends to Russian, Latin, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Korean.

Hiddleston's commitment to learning and using multiple languages reflects not only his dedication to his craft but also his genuine interest in connecting with people from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

14. Timothée Chalamet: Real French Connection

Yes, our Wonka is on the list. Timothée Chalamet's proficiency in French is not just for show tho. Born to a French father and an American mother, Chalamet grew up bilingual.

His fluency in French adds authenticity to roles that require him to speak the language, such as in "Call Me by Your Name."

Chalamet's ability to seamlessly switch between English and French showcases his multicultural background, contributing to his versatile on-screen presence.

15. Mila Kunis: Fluent in Russian

Mila Kunis, originally from Ukraine, is fluent in Russian, her native language. Moving to the United States at a young age, Kunis maintained her linguistic ties to her roots but she had to learn English in order to become what she is now.

Her ability to speak Russian fluently has not only allowed her to connect with her heritage but has also proven beneficial for certain roles.

Whether she's speaking English or Russian, Kunis's talent transcends linguistic boundaries, contributing to her success as a versatile actress in Hollywood.


Are you starstruck yet? In this section, we provide answers to commonly asked questions relating to this topic.

What famous person is bilingual?

Natalie Portman is bilingual, and proficient in both English and Hebrew. Raised in a multilingual environment, Portman's fluency in Hebrew adds depth to her cultural identity.

What actress speaks 6 languages?

Sandra Bullock is known for her linguistic versatility, reportedly speaking English, German, French, Spanish, Romanian, and Arabic. Her commitment to mastering languages enhances her performances on an international scale.

Is Johnny Depp bilingual?

Yes, Johnny Depp is bilingual. His mother, Betty Sue Palmer, was a German opera singer, exposing Depp to the language from a young age. While Depp may not be fully fluent, his early exposure contributes to his understanding of the language.

Who is a famous person who speaks Spanish?

Gwyneth Paltrow is a notable figure proficient in Spanish. Having spent a year in Spain during her teenage years, Paltrow became fluent in the language, showcasing her commitment to cultural and linguistic exploration.

Summing up: Bilingual Celebrities Who Learned a Language for a Role

As you can see, there is no shortage of foreign language speakers in Hollywood and beyond. These bilingual celebrities show that their linguistic capabilities go beyond the languages they speak on screen.

If you're eager to witness these linguistic talents in action, remember that Lingopie offers a platform to explore movies featuring these stars, providing an immersive experience into the world of language and cinema.

Why not sign up for a free trial today and start your journey towards bilingualism?

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