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These Were the Worst Fake Accents in Movies

For every dazzling Daniel Day-Lewis accent and portrayal, there is bound to be a Keanu Reeves à la Bram Stoker’s Dracula thrown into the fold. While both actors give it their all and push to bring their on-screen personas to life, some accents fair far better than others. It appears that adopting an Irish accent is the bane of many star’s existence, with many famous faces attempting the dialect but falling short. These were the worst fake accents in movies from otherwise brilliant actors.

Keanu Reeves (Bram Stoker’s Dracula)

One of very few blemishes on the charming Keanu Reeves’ impressive resume, his accent in the 1992 Gothic horror film Bram Stoker’s Dracula is undeniably his poorest portrayal to date. In the Francis Ford Coppola picture based on the iconic novel, Reeves starred as Jonathan Harker, fiancé to Mina Reeves and thorn in the side of the infamous creature of the night. His attempt at London vernacular garnered some ridicule by critics, with many questioning why he was cast and believed he was outshone by Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Anthony Hopkins. However, Coppola remained a constant champion of the actor and believed in his talent, having told Entertainment Weekly that Reeves worked extremely hard on his accent: “He tried so hard. That was the problem, actually – he wanted to do it perfectly and in trying to do it perfectly he came off stilted…To this day he’s a prince in my eyes.” Regardless of the chatter around his portrayal of Harker, Keanu Reeves has gone on to have an enduring and colorful acting career that is packed full of smash hit performances like in Speed, The Matrix and John Wick.

Russell Crowe (Robin Hood)

The dynamic and always entertaining Russell Crowe portrayed the legendary heroic outlaw in Ridley Scott’s 2010 action movie Robin Hood, requiring the New Zealand born actor to adopt an English accent for the role. While the adaptation was fairly successful at the box office and with audiences, critics were not too kind to Robin Hood with criticism directed at both Scott and Crowe. The movie star received judgment for his variable accent during the film, with many commenting that it sounded more Irish and Scottish than English. During an interview on BBC Radio 4, Crowe became angered when host Mark Lawson suggested there were hints of Irish in his accent, leading him to describe such a thought as “bollocks” and causing him to storm out. The gifted actor didn’t let the criticism deter him, as he went on to star in the Oscar-winning period musical Les Misérables, biblical drama Noah and 2020 action thriller Unhinged. Crowe will portray the Greek god Zeus in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: Love and Thunder.

Julia Roberts (Mary Reilly)

Undisputedly one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, Julia Roberts is known for her abilities to star in any genre, having appeared in a plethora of rom-coms, thrillers, dramas, and action films. There are very few projects the actress has been involved in that failed to hit the mark, but 1996’s gothic horror picture Mary Reilly may be her least renowned. Roberts portrays a housemaid who falls in love with Dr. Henry Jeykll and his darkly mysterious counterpart Mr. Edward Hyde, and uses an Irish accent that many complained was riddled with inconsistent inflections. Critics deemed the actress miscast as the Irish chambermaid of the famed Robert Louis Stevenson character, but the film itself was also as a whole heavily torn apart in reviews. With a career spanning over thirty years, one poor role has done nothing to slow down the performer, as she has since appeared in lucrative movies like the Oscar-winning Erin Brockovich, Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded Ocean’s 11, and the coming-of-age-drama Wonder along countless others.

Kevin Costner (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)

There must be something innately intimidating about taking on the role of folk tale outlaw Robin Hood, as Kevin Costner fell victim to accent woes just like Russell Crowe did. In the 1991 action adventure Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Costner stars as Robin of Locksley as he fights back against the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Director Kevin Reynolds and Costner were at odds over whether the character should have an accent or not, as the actor wanted one, but Reynolds felt it would only distract audiences. Their lack of agreement and indecision resulted in an intensely uneven delivery in each scene, with Entertainment Weekly reporting: “Even before it was finished, Costner was the subject of embarrassing rumors that his performance was too laid-back and his accent more LA than UK.” Despite the criticism, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was a box office success and led to more remarkable films for the actor, such as The Bodyguard, Mr. Brooks, and the 2016 Oscar-nominated biopic Hidden Figures.

Anne Hathaway (One Day)

America’s sweetheart Anne Hathaway has been captivating audiences since her debut in the 2001 Disney comedy The Princess Diaries, and since then has delivered countless engrossing and charismatic performances. For the 2011 romantic drama One Day, Hathaway starred alongside English actor Jim Sturgess and was tasked with crafting a Yorkshire accent for her role as Emma Morley. Director Lone Scherfig was initially not looking for any American actresses for the character and after a nonproductive meeting between the two, Hathaway left a list of songs for the filmmaker, who after listening to them cast the actress for the part. One Day was a modest hit with moviegoers but was poorly reviewed by critics, with criticism aimed at its lack of depth and emotion; Anne Hathaway’s accent was also considered subpar, with the BBC’s radio programme Front Row commenting, “Sometimes she’s from Scotland, sometimes she’s from New York, you just can’t tell.” The performer bounced back and less than a year later she starred in her Oscar-winning role as Fantine in 2012’s Les Misérables.

Tom Cruise (Far and Away)

The highly esteemed Ron Howard directed the 1992 epic Western romantic drama Far and Away, which stars the then-married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as Irish immigrants seeking their fortune in 1890s America. Taking on the role of poor farmer Joseph Donnelly, Cruise adopted an Irish accent with a cadence that was deemed unconvincing and all around just terribly receievd. Renowned dialect coach Tim Monich worked with the stars to craft an authentic Irish vernacular but seemingly missed the mark; The Irish Post wrote that Cruise “cruises from one dialect to the next in the space of a single scene, sounding like someone from Belfast one minute before switching over to Dubliner the next.” Both he and Kidman were judged for their deliveries, and though Far and Away made a solid profit at the box office, it was hindered by the muddled accents of its A-list leads. Neither Tom Cruise nor Kidman allowed the naysayers to win, as they are two of the most bankable and diverse movie stars in Hollywood and continue making successful pictures.

Cameron Diaz (Gangs of New York)

Mastering a genuine and authentic-sounding Irish accent has proven to be quite the challenge for actors, and Cameron Diaz’s performance in Martin Scorsese’s 2002 historical drama Gangs of New York further proves that assertion. The endearing Diaz took on the part of Irish immigrant pickpocket Jenny Everdeane, showing off great range as an actress in the dramatic role but earning contempt for her attempts at an Irish accent. The king of method acting Daniel Day-Lewis received widespread praise for his portrayal as William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting, and critics felt he outshone both Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio with his accent and delivery. Many felt that Cameron Diaz was miscast as Everdeane, and it has regularly been cited as one of the worst Irish accents in film. Bad accent or not, the star nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress and showed off her talents in beloved movies like In Her Shoes, The Holiday, and Bad Teacher. Diaz confirmed her acting retirement in March 2018.