Showcase blog – bad accents

Here’s a blog I wrote as part of Showcase Cinema’s SEO strategy – to create discussion, encourage suggestions and direct readers to their website and social channels:

7 films with accents to make your toes curl

There seems little else that causes film fans’ blood to boil more than a Hollywood actor getting his or her accent so horrifically wrong.

Characters that don’t develop and storylines that splash around at the shallow end of the film pool are one thing, but really, really bad accents are something else. Sadly it’s the sort of information that’s never made available on cinema listings.

Quite honestly, the list of films to choose from is endless – but here are seven of the most notorious films for actors’ appalling accents stealing the headlines ahead of the motion pictures themselves.

Anne Hathaway – One Day

One Day is a film about true love, in which New Yorker Anne Hathaway attempts a Yorkshire accent. Watching episodes of Emmerdale didn’t pay off. Her accent was wobbly at best, with newspaper columnist Suzanne Moore describing it as “all over the shop,” adding: “Sometimes she’s from Scotland, sometimes she’s from New York, you just can’t tell”.

Brad Pitt – The Devil’s Own

The story goes that Brad Pitt spent time in Belfast to perfect the Northern Irish accent for role of an IRA terrorist in hiding. Of course, a Northern Irish accent is not an Irish accent, nor is it Scottish, or Australian, or whatever the hell Brad thought he was speaking. In a parallel universe, Brad’s career never recovered and he ended up selling uniforms to local transport companies.

Don Cheedle – Ocean’s films

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again – and Don Cheadle did. His Cockney accent was no better in Ocean’s 12, so he had another go in Ocean’s 13. If anything, it got worse. As a result, the films are memorable more for a laughable Landan accent than the clever heists. Don later apologised and everyone forgave him.

Leonardo DiCaprio – Blood Diamond

The Rhodesian accent is considered one of the trickiest to perfect, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in Blood Diamond supports this theory. Over on The South African they’re divided. They can’t decide whether he’s “slaughtering” the accent or reviving it.

Gerard Butler – PS I Love You

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Gerard Butler performing accents that aren’t Scottish. Like Don Cheadle, Butler felt compelled to apologise for what was, apparently, an Irish accent in this rom-com.

Dick van Dyke – Mary Poppins

To this day no one is quite sure whether Dick Van Dyke was seriously trying to do a Cockney accent or having the biggest laugh of his life. Thankfully the accent didn’t stop Maori Parpins from becoming one of the most famous films of all time, although today it’s still synonymous with Van Dyke’s intolerable inflections.

Mickey Rooney – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Mickey Rooney is not Japanese. He doesn’t look or sound Japanese. There is nothing Japanese about Mickey Rooney whatsoever, which makes the decision to cast him as a Japanese neighbour to Audrey Hepburn in this iconic sixties comedy as one of life’s biggest mysteries.

Let us know which actors and accents make your list!

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