British actor Ioan Gruffudd is relieved his fake American accent was good enough to earn him the lead role in sci-fi movie THE FANTASTIC FOUR - after it took him seven years to perfect.

The 31-year-old Welsh star is taking Hollywood by storm with his performance in the Marvel Comic adaptation - in which he plays MR FANTASTIC alongside his onscreen girlfriend Jessica Alba.

And Gruffudd is pleased his expensive dialect training has finally paid off with a major Hollywood role.

He says, "I have had to work so very hard on the American accent. It doesn't come naturally to me at all. But this time I was determined not to have anybody comment on it.

"I've been working on it for seven years since I first came to Los Angeles. I've been going to auditions and working with a dialect coach. I've invested a lot of time and a lot of money.

"It's just hard work, like for an athlete. You use muscles in your mouth that your not used to working."

11/07/2005 09:29