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Top 10 Totally Wrong Casting Choices in British Movies

VO: Karen Young WRITTEN BY: Andrea Buccino
Why did they pick them? Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Totally Wrong Casting Choices in British Movies. For this list, we take a look at casting choices that, for a variety of reasons ranging from accent to an actor simply not fitting the role, proved to be a serious disappointment. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Totally Wrong Casting Choices in British Movies


Why did they pick them? Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Totally Wrong Casting Choices in British Movies.

For this list, we take a look at casting choices that, for a variety of reasons ranging from accent to an actor simply not fitting the role, proved to be a serious disappointment.

#10: Keanu Reeves as Don John
“Much Ado About Nothing” (1993)

One year after his rather dreadful performance as Jonathan Harker in the otherwise excellent “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, Keanu Reeves took on another classic British character, with equally poor results. If you thought his London accent was bad, see what happens when Keanu’s given a handful of lines from Shakespeare. It's not just the accent though, Reeves’ trademark wooden performance also leaves much to be desired. That sort of unaffected acting style has no place in an adaptation of the bard, especially not when sharing the screen with the likes of Kenneth Branagh, who also directed the film.

#9: Charlie Hunnam as Pete
“Green Street” (2005)

If you’ve seen a few episodes of “Sons of Anarchy”, you almost naturally expect a California accent to come out of Hunnam’s mouth whenever he speaks, never mind the fact he’s from Newcastle. But when he attempts Cockney, he gives a few of his American colleagues a run for their money in the sense that it’s so all over the place, you wouldn’t believe the guy’s British. Baby-faced Elijah Wood was supposed to the fish out of water in this movie about hooliganism, but ultimately, it was Hunnam’s warrior of the streets who most often took us out of a scene.

#8: Josh Hartnett as Brian Allen
“Blow Dry” (2001)

This hairdressing comedy will make you laugh for all the wrong reasons. Josh Hartnett never was particularly good with accents, or depending on who you ask… acting(outside of romcoms)… But make him try to sound like a lad from Yorkshire and you’ll see one of the most painfully miscast roles of the 21st century. And if you really want to drive the point home, top it all off by having him act together with the legendary Alan Rickman, who most certainly knew a thing or two about British accent. It’s chalk and cheese, it really is.

#7: Sean Connery as Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez
“Highlander” (1986)

“Highlander” didn't do well on release, but has since become a cult classic, spawning a plethora of sequels and a TV series. For a film that takes much of its lore from the Highlands, it’s strange that the one Scottish actor ended up playing a Spanish Egyptian who, unfortunately, looks and sounds more Scottish than anybody else in the film. And that’s including the leading man Christopher Lambert, whose attempt at actually sounding Scottish never really works. Connery does what he can in the role of the mentor, but his accent-swap is a persistent distraction.

#6: Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones
“The World is Not Enough” (1999)

It’s true, the Pierce Brosnan era of 007 is mostly remembered for being bloody awful, but that wasn’t entirely the lead actor’s fault. When it comes to co-stars, however, things begin to get painfully funny, and not in a good way. Picking bombshell Denise Richards to play a nuclear physicist certainly didn't help the credibility of this entry in the Bond series. “The World is Not Enough” has its fair share of problems, but Richards’ Raspberry Award-worthy performance might just be its greatest. Let’s just be thankful that they made her character American and didn’t add an accent into the mix.

#5: Pierce Brosnan as Sam Carmichael
“Mamma Mia!” (2008)

Enough people loved this film for a sequel to have been made, but that doesn't make Pierce Brosnan's singing any better than it is. And it’s really bad, especially when he sings along with Meryl Streep, who clearly has much better control of her voice. More comfortable in the clothes of a suave English spy or shady prime minister, Brosnan doesn’t seem to have much fun onscreen in his turn as musical star, and we can’t really blame him. For those who grew up with him as Bond, though, it can certainly be amusing.

#4: Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride
“Robin Hood” (2010)

Apparently nothing was learned from Kevin Costner's turn as the thief from Sherwood, California, because Ridley Scott picked New Zealander Russell Crowe to play the character in this ugly mess of a Robin Hood movie. It's not just the weird, nondescript accent, either: the whole thing is just plain wrong, with high production values not enough to eliminate that feeling of a bad Sunday afternoon movie repeat. And Crowe, known for being not an especially relaxed chap, reportedly stormed out of an interview when asked about his accent – which had a notably Irish lilt to it.

#3: Laurence Olivier as Othello
“Othello” (1965)

In some respects, the performance itself isn’t at fault: it's Olivier we're talking about, after all, one of the UK’s finest ever Shakespearean actors. But the ridiculous use of blackface to transform the actor into the titular character is inexcusable and horribly distracting, even for a film made in 1965. British reviewers of the time didn’t seem bothered by it, but The New York Times wasn’t impressed, as nobody today would be. Colour and race haven’t mattered for decades in Shakespeare productions, which makes this even more offensive.

#2: George Lazenby as James Bond
“On Her Majesty's Secret Service” (1969)

Often considered one of the best stories in the James Bond canon, the film is sadly let down by the uninspired performance of Australian George Lazenby as the most famous British spy in the world. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that he hasn’t given it his all: it’s just that he has the charisma of a wooden board come unstuck. And right after Sean Connery, to many the greatest Bond that ever was, that’s a pretty big problem. He may even be worse than David Niven in the “Casino Royale” spoof.

#1: Colin Farrell as Alexander
“Alexander” (2004)

Oliver Stone’s take on the life of one of history’s most important figures didn’t quite work out as planned. Though a huge co-production involving the UK as well as other European countries and the US, and based on a book by Oxford historian Robin Lane Fox, the film spectacularly bombed in theatres and was panned by critics. Casting choices were not the only thing to blame, but Farrell’s performance as Alexander the Great lacked the presence and charisma required when playing such a formidable character. And seriously… what’s with his hair?
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