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Survey Shows Tom Hardy Is the Hardest Actor for Americans to Understand

Sofia Vergara and Arnold Schwarzenegger were also mentioned as actors that viewers have trouble understanding.

Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy

Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

If you have to turn on subtitles while watching “Peaky Blinders,” you’re not alone.

According to a new survey from Preply (via The Wrap), American viewers have a harder time following Tom Hardy’s dialogue than any other actor. And “Peaky Blinders,” a show that Hardy frequently appears on, was named the hardest-to-understand TV show.

Fans of Hardy will likely find the results to be unsurprising, as the actor is famous for playing roles that require him to mumble. He can currently be seen in the sixth and final season of “Peaky Blinders” on Netflix, and stars in Gareth Evans’ “Havoc” later this year. On the acting side of the poll, Hardy was followed by Sofia Vergara, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Connery, Johnny Depp, Jackie Chan, Ozzy Osbourne, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

When it came to TV, the hardest shows to understand were overwhelmingly ones that take place in Europe. After “Peaky Blinders,” American viewers said they have the hardest time understanding “Derry Girls,” “Game of Thrones,” “Outlander,” and “Downton Abbey.”

The purpose of the poll was to track subtitle usage among American film and TV viewers. The practice of watching television with subtitles has become increasingly common, particularly among young audiences. After surveying 1200 people, it found that 50% of Americans use subtitles most of the time. That number gets even higher as age groups get lower: 70% of Gen Z audiences reported using subtitles most of the time.

The survey then attempts to dig into the reasons for the new trend. Most subtitle users cited practical concerns relating to hearing audio and understanding the shows they watch. 72% of subtitle users cited muddled audio as a key concern, and 61% mentioned difficulty understanding actors’ accents. Other reasons included trying to watch shows quietly, using subtitles to stay focused on one screen, and in some cases, using subtitles to learn a new language.

The poll also looked into viewing habits as a potential explanation, pointing out that younger viewers are much more likely to consume content in public on their mobile devices. Watching shows in environments such as public transportation makes subtitles more of a necessity for many viewers.

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