Some of the world’s greatest actors can do it all… except nail a foreign accent. Look, they can’t all be Meryl Streep.
Here are 10 amazingly talented actors who committed the worst accent attempts on film.
Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins
In this classic film for kids and adults of all ages, Dick Van Dyke slays it as the goofy, limber-limbed chimney sweep and jack-of-all-trades Bert. Too bad that he also slays any attempt at a Cockney accent. He’s been quoted as saying, “People in the U.K. love to rib me about my accent. I will never live it down.”
Anne Hathaway in One Day
Hathaway probably truly did try to fake a British accent, but its delivery is, at best, haphazard. One moment it’s there, the next, she sounds like her regular American self. As if that wasn’t enough, when the accent shows up, you can’t even identify which dialect she’s attempting.
Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow
JLaw’s attempt at a Russian accent in Red Sparrow, a sleek spy thriller, is really hard to listen to. She’s almost a caricature of herself and sounds like Yaakov Smirnoff, only in female form. Plus, it’s pretty certain that a true spy, regardless of where she came from, would perfect a language (and accent) that didn’t immediately reveal her origins.
Julie Andrews in Eloise at the Plaza
For a much beloved singer/actress as Dame Julie Andrews — who’s won an Academy Award, a BAFTA Awards, and multiple Emmy Awards, among others — you’d think any accent, especially a British one, would come easily. Nope. Her attempt at Cockney is painful and forced. Maybe that’s why this film went straight to television.
Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York
Known for her comedic, fun-loving persona in modern-day films such as The Mask and There’s Something About Mary, Cameron Diaz tackled one of her rare dramatic period roles in this Martin Scorsese film opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis. She not only shed her famous blonde ‘do for the film, but also traded in her American accent for an Irish one. Alas, it was not meant to be, and she quickly returned to comedies.
Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Keanu will perhaps forever be associated with his comedic Valley boy accent in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but his role as Englishman Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula is cringeworthy along with the British accent he feigns. The accent is barely there, at least in an authentic way. Failing alongside him was co-star Winona Ryder. At least they sank together.
Brad Pitt in The Devil’s Own
Faith and begorrah, the talented Brad Pitt is one of the best actors of his generation, but when he attempts an Irish accent in The Devil’s Own, it’s not any better than Cameron Diaz’s version in Gangs of New York.
Brad Pitt in Snatch
We’re pretty sure Brad’s not the only actor who should make this list twice, but we’ve only got so much room. Rumor has it that his Gypsy Irish accent was so bad that Guy Ritchie (the director and Madonna’s ex) gave up and let Pitt do whatever he wanted.
Julia Roberts in Mary Reilly
Julia is an amazing actress whose Academy Award win and numerous noms prove it. But there’s no award due for her role as Mary Reilly, a maid to the infamous Dr. Jekyll. As with other American actors who’ve attempted Irish accents, she fails miserably.
Heather Graham in From Hell
Heather starred as doomed Jack the Ripper victim Mary Kelly in this movie that also starred Johnny Depp. He accomplished an almost decent Cockney accent, she did not. Maybe her character wasn’t the only one doomed.