Hugh Laurie directs an episode of ‘House’

When Hugh Laurie gets an hour off from shooting scenes on his hit Fox drama “House,” he generally stretches out on a couch in his comfortable trailer, though not because he needs a quick nap to recover from playing one of television’s most complicated lead characters.

No, Mr. Laurie is taking a break from an even more arduous task: talking American.

“You are messing up my afternoon,” Mr. Laurie said pleasantly in his distinguished Oxford English accent. (Distinguished because he was born in Oxford and educated at Eton and Cambridge.)

After this interview interlude in his native tongue, he said he would have to return to the set and relocate his American accent, one he has delivered so convincingly in his six years as the tormented-genius diagnostician in New Jersey that many of the show’s fans are still shocked when he turns up on a talk show and describes his acting “proh-cess” instead of “prah-cess.”

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