Star: Anne Hathaway didn’t get ‘Mary Poppins’ because her British accent sucks

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Last fall, Anne Hathaway was being described as a “leading contender” for the updated Mary Poppins film. The film was always going to be a new story, told 20 years after the first Poppins films takes place, but Disney was hunting for the perfect new Poppins. The shortlist included Anne, Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Lea Michele and more. Most people thought Anne had it in the bag. Anne might have even thought she had it in the bag. But it’s looking like the part will go to Emily Blunt anyway. And Star Mag says that it’s Anne’s fault because she sucks at accents.

It’ll take more than a spoonful of sugar to get Anne Hathaway over the fact that she lost out to pal Emily Blunt for the role of Mary Poppins.

“She was telling everyone she had the role ‘in the bag’, but she was way off,” tattles an industry honcho connected with the upcoming remake. “Her terrible English accent was a big factor – it was downright embarrassing.”

Her cringeworthy attempt at an English lilt in 2011’s One Day landed her on Time Mag’s Top 10 Worst Fake British Accents list, branding it “inconsistent, rubbish and awful.”

“For her to think she could pull off Mary Poppins was ridiculous,” says the insider. “She was fuming, because she said Emily hardly had to try. But there really wasn’t any competition because Emily is perfect for the role.”

[From Star Magazine, print edition]

I saw One Day and I don’t remember her accent work, but I do remember her accent in Becoming Jane (where she plays a young Jane Austen), and it was uneven. It wasn’t flat-out terrible, but there were some consistency issues. While I think Annie gets a bad rap for having a ‘tude, I’d be willing to bet that she actually did want to play this and she’s probably upset that she didn’t get it. But I’m glad it went to Emily Blunt. I’ll be interested in seeing what they do with Blunt-as-Poppins.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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65 Responses to “Star: Anne Hathaway didn’t get ‘Mary Poppins’ because her British accent sucks”

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  1. Ilove6kies says:

    I agree – I watched “Becoming Jane” and I suffered second hand embarrassment for her crappy British accent :(

  2. Talise says:

    I the same way they should never have got Streep to play Margaret Thatcher some parts really should only be played by someone from the same country.

    • Guesto says:

      Accent is really important (and it is one of the things that can completely throw a film off if it’s not right) but as long as someone can convincingly inhabit a known role, it shouldn’t matter where they come from.

    • Pinky says:

      Remember how enthralled the Brits were with Gwyneth’s accent in Shakespesre in Love and later Emma? It helped her “win” that Oscar. Some people can do it well. Renee Zellweger did a nice one in the Bridget Jones films. Most other people can’t do it convincingly and consistently. And the default Americsn accent for Brits is something country. I find this gossip about Anne amusing. Sometimes j go around using a British accent and faking people out about where I’m from. I’ve sworn to do so in my next job interview. Life’s too short.

      -TheRealPinky

      • LAK says:

        Paul Dano’s accent in ‘War and Peace’ is pretty spot on.

      • Melody says:

        Costner’s Chicago accent is spot-on in every movie. I didn’t know so many people were from Chicago!

      • Malificent says:

        Costner doesn’t have a Chicago accent. Neither the working class “city” accent or the more muted suburban version. He has some random Midwestern hodge podge accent.

    • holly hobby says:

      Kevin Costner’s missing accent in Robin Hood is tops on the list of Americans who can’t do British accents.

      • Jayna says:

        Horrific.

      • KD says:

        LOL. I had forgotten about that but you are so right. He sounds like a contemporary midwestern accountant who just popped into Sherwood Forest.

        Thinking about that movie though makes me sad. RIP Alan Rickman.

      • love scandal says:

        Kevin Costner, Robin Hood Prince of Lies lol. Yet faired much better than Russell Crowe, not on accuracy but far more tolerable.

    • Malificent says:

      Actually Meryl Streep is not a great example. Among her many skillsets, she’s been infamous for years for nailing every accent that she does. But Dick van Dyke almost single-handedly killed the original Mary Poppins for me with that heinous attempt at a Cockney accent — even when I was a kid. Wonderful song and dance man, but egads no amount of soft shoe could fix that.

      • Robin says:

        I was thinking the same thing…DvD’s accent in that film was absolutely horrendous. Anne Hathaway’s version of an English accent could not possibly be worse.

      • lou says:

        I actually love his accent in that – yeah, I know it’s horribly inaccurate, but it’s really charming and ridiculous and likeable! Or maybe it’s just because he is.

        Apparently it’s because his dialogue coach was Irish. So he’s doing a perfect imitation of an Irish guy doing cockney. :)

      • Tarko says:

        Meryl cannot do an Australian accent, she sounded ridiculous

  3. SillyMilly says:

    Who needs an “updated” Mary Poppins film? Leave well enough alone already. No wonder #Oscarssowhite

  4. Lindy79 says:

    Her accent in One Day was all over the shop, not sure if it was just bad casting or the direction they took with the movie as a whole, as she is not who I pictured as Emma, both in looks and mannerisims. She’s meant to be from Yorkshire and a bit chubby but AnnE did the usual American doing a generic British accent that doesnt really come from anywhere.

    • meh says:

      That’s the accent they teach you in theatre school. It’s called received pronunciation or “RP” for short, and it really doesn’t come from anywhere. It’s supposed to sound like a “neutral” British. Then you learn dialects after/on top of RP. But from these comments it sounds like even Anne’s RP isn’t very good.

  5. Aussie girl says:

    Ello gov’nor…… Ok that was beyond bad, but my mind went there when imaging her bad accent. Apologises my British CB’s readers/posters.

  6. Lucy says:

    I think going as far saying it’s her fault it’s a bit harsh. Some people can do accents, some can’t. And I stand by what I said when the news came out: Emily is fantastic and I’m sure she can pull it off, but I wish they weren’t remaking it.

  7. mkyarwood says:

    I was sharply reminded that the author’s wishes were that Mary Poppins be played by a British actress. Maybe someone should consult Julie Andrews!

  8. LAK says:

    this kerfuffle reminds me of the struggle Walt Disney had with P L Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books.

    She held out for decades before allowing Walt Disney to create a film from one of the books, and even then, she was part of the script development process. The tapes of the development process are hilarious. She sounds like a very disapproving Lady Bracknell.

    However, she apparently hated the MARY POPPINS film and music and refused to sign any future remakes/sequels/updates of the original source material and definitely no films/musicals etc from the other books. And refused to have anything to do with Disney ever again.

  9. Eggland's worst says:

    “The shortlist included Anne, Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Lea Michele and more.” I vote for none of the above.

    • Mimz says:

      I think Lea wouldn’t be that bad. She’s quite theatrical, dar haired, no nose jobs yet, and knows how to put on a show. She’s too young though.
      I say that as a big fan of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. But I think they chose best, Emily seems really fit for this role.

      • jammypants says:

        Lea Michele is the age Julie Andrews was when she played Mary Poppins, maybe even a year older.

      • Antonym says:

        But it’s a sequel that is set 20 years after the first movie. Lea’s too young given the setting. I like the choice to go with Emily, and I look forward to the sequel.

      • lou says:

        Let’s face it though – Mary Poppins is clearly a Time Lady, so she’s not going to age.

    • Betti says:

      I love that Emily Blunt got the role but would also have been happy with Amy Adams.

  10. Cynthia says:

    I LOVED One Day the book but was completely underwhelmed by the film adaptation. It wasn’t flat-out terrible, just not as good as the book, but imo Anne was good in it.

    • GlimmerBunny says:

      I liked the One Day movie even better than the book and I LOVED the book! I think the casting of both Anne and Jim Sturgess was spot-on and I just love the entire movie and watch it quite often.

  11. Deedee says:

    Her Genovian accent wasn’t that great, either.

  12. vauvert says:

    Looking forward to Emily as Mary Poopins!
    And guys, it is not a remake. It is based on the sequel(s) by the sounds of it. I would hate a remake, but Travers wrote 5 or 6 books, so plenty of new material for the new movie.

    • LAK says:

      P L Travers never licensed the other books, allegedly hated the Disney film and music to extent that she put a caveat in her will that all other books should never be licensed and definitely not to Disney.

      Since she died in 1996, that’s another 50yrs at least before anyone can use her work without her permission.

      This is a remake of the original film.

      • Chinoiserie says:

        While this is not based on the sequels it is not a remake either, the story will be different.

  13. Decorative Item says:

    I’m soooooo happy to hear this. She is on my list of cannot watch in anything ever.

  14. thaisajs says:

    Thank god. Her accent in One Day ruined that movie for me. (Not that it was a great movie, but it could have been better.)

    Emily Blunt will be perfect for Mary Poppins. Practically perfect in every way.

  15. Birdix says:

    Perhaps I’m just grumpy, but Emily Blunt’s smug face bugs me as much as Hathaway’s earnest face. Though Poppins seems at least as smug as she is earnest, so maybe it will work.

    • love scandal says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with your accurate description of her smug face. Too matey matey with Tiny Tom as well stomach churning. Yet during a Graham Norton talk show, she happened to be on same one as Russell Brand. She made horrible quips and digs about how marriage was merely a tattoo to him, this really was very soon after his marriage separation. Regardless of opinion, it seemed too soon to be taking a pop at him. It also wasn’t the time or her place totally unnecessary.
      Blunt appears to be full of herself.
      But thank God Hathaway didn’t get it.
      Love Julie Andrews never could anyone come close to her portrayal of Mary Poppins. Technically that film was a piece of absolute brilliance 1965. Ain’t Christmas in my house until Mary Poppins has been watched.
      It’s ridiculous to remake, just like dirty dancing. Different genre same principal. POINTLESS.

  16. Melissa says:

    She lost me forever when she looked adoringly at her Oscar and said in a baby voice, “It came true.” Anne with an E, you are insufferable.

  17. AlmondJoy says:

    I LOVED One Day. But I’m not an expert on British accents so I wouldn’t have noticed if hers sucked 🤔

  18. TheGrandSophy says:

    Sorry love – the better actress got the part.

    Life is hard isn’t it? Better take a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down.

  19. Rhiley says:

    Her accent work in One Day was awful. It was like Julia Roberts in that stupid Cinderella movie awful. Well, maybe not that awful, but close.

  20. lila fowler says:

    Anne’s entire career is aimed at becoming the next Julie Andrews so yeah, she undoubtedly wanted this role and is probably pissed. She can’t do accent work though, and that’s something that she should work on.

  21. Soprana says:

    How about Anne didn’t get Mary Poppins because THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANOTHER MARY POPPINS MOVIE DID WE LEARN NOTHING FROM THE ‘SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE’

    No offense Emily Blunt, but jump this ship. It won’t do you any favors.

  22. SJO says:

    Anyone check Dick Van Dyke’s accent in the original? I love me some DVK but that was the worst British accent on film EVER.
    (I almost wrote I love me some D**k. Snorts and drinks more coffee….)

  23. Maya says:

    My pick is Gugu Mbatha-Raw, she looks elegant, beautiful and already has the perfect upperclass English as Mary Poppins.

    • jmacky says:

      @Maya oh i love this idea!!! Gugu has the most beautiful face with kind eyes, perfect nanny with magical powers. little ones would trust her immediately if she said to jump on a chalk painting or feed the pigeons with their allowance.

  24. Jenna says:

    I don’t like her as an actress at all, but it’s kind of sad seeing her career kind of bottom out. Like I imagine she’s probably fourth or fifth choice for parts in her age range now, and I don’t think she’s all that popular with people anymore.

  25. Bridget says:

    Can I just request that this not be made at all?

  26. WinonaRyder says:

    In Anne’s defence, her character in One Day was supposed to be from Yorkshire (I think) and that’s a difficult accent for most people to do. Her attempt was awful, but understandable.

    I much prefer Emily as Poppins, she’s fantastic.

  27. Sarah01 says:

    Emily will be a great Mary Poppins. Love Anne’s dress she looks good.

  28. Jayna says:

    I loved Becoming Jane. And I love Anne and think she would have been a fantastic Mary Poppins. A great dialect coach spending a good amount of time with her could probably have improved her accent for the movie. But I love Emily also as an actress, so I’m fine with Emily.

  29. Jayna says:

    Thank God, it’s not Lady Gaga. I”m sure she put her name in the ring.

  30. TheOtherSam says:

    I highly doubt this story, only because Anne’s moving her career in an entirely different direction and type of role. She’s doing much riskier, left-of-center indies with top new directors, like Colossal with Nacho Vigolando and The Modern Ocean by Shane Carruth, as well as developing her own projects. She’s also producing/starring in the offbeat comedy The Shower which was a Black List script.

    Doing Mary Poppins might have been her goal a few years ago but it would be like a step back for her now given where she’s at. She seems to want to move away from a ‘twee’ image – maybe a backlash from the Oscar criticisms she received. After doing darker and action roles recently (Edge of Tomorrow, Sicario) Blunt might be better suited here, for a change of pace for her.