Last night I watched “Deadfall,” a new crime thriller opening this weekend in limited release. Afterwards, I struggled for a while with the horrible — and I mean horrible — Southern drawl Eric Bana uses in the film. Bana is an actor I like and admire, and in the past he’s put on convincing American and Israeli accents for roles. Not this time; his accent might be one of the worst I’ve heard delivered by a good actor in thirty years of watching movies.
That, naturally, got me thinking about other contenders for the title. A few notable stinkers popped to mind, but you know how this goes; you have a question, you put it to the hive mind on Twitter. So I asked my followers: “What is the worst accent you’ve ever heard come out of the mouth of a good actor?” The responses were immediate and overwhelming, and the suggestions — some of which I had seen, some of which I’d never even heard of — prompted a highly entertaining hour YouTubing clips of brilliant thespians doing stupid accents. It was so much fun, I decided I had to share my favorites, in this list (ranked in no particular order except for number one, which is clearly the worst ever) I’m calling “When Bad Accents Happen to Good Actors.”
These men and women are indeed very good actors, some of the finest to ever appear on the silver screen. Let this be a lesson to everyone: pretending you’re a Romanian philanthropist with an interest in diamonds and gorillas is not as easy as it looks. Even for the professionals.
When Bad Accents Happen to Good Actors
10. Jude Law in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”
9. Tim Curry in “Congo”
8. Ben Kingsley in “Sneakers”
7. John Malkovich in “Rounders”
6. Leonardo DiCaprio in “Blood Diamond”
5. Katharine Hepburn in “The Iron Petticoat”
4. Michael Caine in “The Weather Man”
3. Ewan McGregor in almost any movie where he talks like an American (i.e. “The Men Who Stare at Goats”):
2. Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins”
1. Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”
BONUS: A single, magical line by Keanu “Dude, I’m, Like Not British” Reeves from “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”