Because stuff needs talking about.

Top 5 #9

Top 5 Worst British Accents

Every year a plethora of films are released that are set in Britain but for some reason, the people in charge of casting seem to think that instead of hiring real British people, they’ll hire American actors to put on (or not bother) an English accent.  I suppose they’ve got a reason though, I mean, we can’t have Daniel Radcliffe being in too many films can we?

5. Kevin Costner- ‘Robin Hood’:  To outshine Christian Slater’s shoddy accent is no mean feat but Costner succeeds by not making any effort whatsoever to sound like the English fairy tale hero he portrays.  He might as well be wearing a cowboy hat and jeans for the difference it would make.  It might just be down to the bold accent but Costner also seems to be the most American person anyone could possibly be in that film with his perfect teeth and swept back hair.  Mind you, if we’re willing to accept Morgan Freeman as a Mohr then I’m sure we can deal with a Californian Nottingham-ite.  Onwards, to Noddingham!

4.  Anne Hathaway- ‘One Day’:  I don’t how or why they all have to do it, but everytime an American actor does a British accent it amazingly seems to encompass Welsh, Irish and Scottish as well as received pronunciation and a jaunty cockney twang.  It’s quite impressive but horrendous to listen to.  It’s as if no one has bothered to tell them that there are different regions and countries within the UK.  In this film, Hathaway plays a Yorkshire lass and at times gets it right but then lapses and a world of soft t’s and long vowel sounds.  Plus she didn’t say ‘appen once, what’s that all about?  Generally I would expect better from the women who shares a name with the man who championed the English language’s wife.

3.  Don Cheadle- ‘Ocean’s Eleven’:  This one is amazing.  A ruthless attack on everything that is stereotypically cockney.  He even uses rhyming slang! In fact so convincing is this accent, on first viewing I actually thought it was Harry Redknapp on screen.  They really do pull out all the Londoner stops for this accent (maybe why it’s so terribly, terribly bad) including the use of phrases like ‘leave it aat’ ‘tossus’ and of course, ‘Barney, Barney Rubble, Trouble!’  I guessing apples and pears must be in there too otherwise they might have a left an uncockneyfied pause which could really ruin the believability of Cheadle’s character.

2.  Keanu Reeves- ‘Dracula’:  No list about not being able to act very well can be complete without Keanu.  It’s amazing that someone with absolutely no presence keeps getting any lead roles, let alone one which requires more than driving a bus or fighting Elrond.  I can honestly say I don’t think I could imagine an English accent as overly regal as this one.  So posh is this accent, in fact, it even outdoes Stewie Griffin ‘h’ before the ‘w’ thing (y’know, like Cool Hwhip).  Also no posh accent would be complete without the addition of ‘nyes’ instead of yes.  For those of you who haven’t seen this film, this eight second clip is more than enough to catch the drift.

1.  Dick Van Dyke- ‘Mary Poppins’:  Of course he’s number one, he’s the godfather of terrible British accents, the overlord of stereotyping Blighty, the patron saint of, well, getting it wrong.  You can only assume that he’d seen a bit of Sean Connery’s acting and thought ‘Yeah, that’s what these British sound like, they don’t say s’s properly’.  He must have done something right though because he’s inspired Don Cheadle completely.  Sadly, by researching this I actually had to watch the Step In Time song from Mary Poppins but it was worth it to experience once again the wonders of this Dickensian throwback character.

So there’s my list, I really wanted to put Nic Cage in there for his National Treasure accent but despite trying to sway myself I knew he was doing it on purpose, at least I hope he was.  Anyway, I’ve got some Hollywood films to ruin, I better go and brush up on my all-encompassing American accent.

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4 responses

  1. Paul

    Excellent list but, I think Danny Dyer should’ve been on there for having the most rubbish, over the top cockney accent, despite being an actually cockney. Ray Winstone needs to be on the bad american accents for The Departed and Nic Cage in Gone in 60 Seconds.

    February 13, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    • Danny Dyer is a great shout, might have to create a list around him, something like ‘Top 5 One Trick Ponies’! Might have to do a vice versa list as well and Ray Winstone would definitely be in there.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm

  2. Eve

    I have just laughed out loud in work reading this, the clip of Keanu Reeves is class!! So funny 🙂

    February 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm

  3. Completely agree about Don Cheadle in Ocean’s 11, it was like a spoof!

    March 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm

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