Why is it that Brits always seem to one-up American actors with accents? People have watched season after season of House thinking Hugh Laurie is made in the U.S.A. until they hear him speak in an interview. But people still rip on Kevin Costner, who didn’t even attempt to use an English accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Dick Van Dyke, who has a memorably awful one in Mary Poppins.
Even when Brits commit accent errors (Sean Connery using his typically thick trademark Scottish accent as Irish cop Jim Malone in The Untouchables), they still receive awards. Of course, American actresses seem to be a bit better at it, with Renee Zellweger and Meryl Streep receiving praise for their British turns.
Another American actress who faces the accent trial by fire in an upcoming film is Anne Hathaway, who appears as Yorkshire native Emma in One Day. In fact, in an interview with the New York Post, Hathaway admits she was intimidated by learning the accent, confessing, “There were many reasons to say no to this part. One, because I didn’t think I could pull it off. Two, I was very nervous about the Yorkshire accent.” Of course, critics are already out, with the UK’s Daily Mail reporting that some have already tagged her accent attempts as “awkward” and “horrible.” Yikes! Perhaps American audiences will be more forgiven, being less familiar with British accents, but it takes guts for an actor to try for different accents though the results are often great credibility. After all, we’ve all probably sat through a play or movie with awful affected accents of all types, so we know to appreciate the good ones!
One Day opens in theaters Friday.