Idris Elba perfected his American accent by sitting in a barbershop.

The 'Pacific Rim' star was so convincing in his portrayal of Stringer Bell in hit HBO show 'The Wire' the show's creator was convinced he was American, however, the London-born star says he picked up his perfect accent by exchanging quips with quick-witted New Yorkers in Brooklyn.

He recalled: ''They used to call me English. 'Yo, waddup, English!' I was like, 'I'm trying to get this accent down, do you mind if I just sit in the barbershop and talk?' And that was it, man.

''When you've got people snapping on you, you can't come back with the rebuttals in an English accent. It's not quick enough. They'd be like, 'What you say? The queen ain't up in here. Ain't nobody can understand you.' So you know, I'd just have to get into it.''

The 41-year-old actor's accent was so strong, 'The Wire' creator David Simon - who gave him his big break in the US by casting him in the show - believed he was from the United States.

He added to Esquire magazine: ''I remember David Simon asked me on the last [audition], 'Where in the US are you from?' This whole time I've been talking in an American accent. So I said, 'Listen guys, I'm English.' David was like, 'Get the f**k out of here!' ''