“Benedict Cumberbatch cannot do a regional American accent to save his life” links

Benedict Cumberbatch is like 99% of British actors, in that he is absolutely hopeless at American accents, especially regional American accents. His Southern accent in The Mauritanian’s trailer is distressingly bad, oh my God. The story (based on the real case) looks interesting though. [LaineyGossip]
This clip of a bonkers conspiracist testifying in Michigan is…wow. [Towleroad]
Katie Holmes, still strolling with Emilio Vitolo. [JustJared]
What are your favorite traditions, holiday or otherwise? [GFY]
No one knows what Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Oreos will taste like. [Pajiba]
Katie Porter didn’t even need her White Board of Vengeance to destroy Steve Mnunchin yesterday. I love her!! [Jezebel]
Emily Blunt is promoting Wild Mountain Thyme. [Tom & Lorenzo]
Ross Matthews lost 50 lbs, good for him. [Dlisted]
90 Day Fiance is getting streaming spin-offs. [Starcasm]
Mario Lopez has glowing balls. [Seriously OMG]

Benedict Cumberbatch at arrivals for Cam...

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59 Responses to ““Benedict Cumberbatch cannot do a regional American accent to save his life” links”

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  1. Andrea says:

    His accent in August: Osage County was ALOT better. Same with Twelve Years a Slave. I guess he forgot about those roles and the accent there.

    This movie looks really good!

    • JustACommenter says:

      Just rewatched 12 Years last night and was wondering about that. I’m not from the US so can’t tell whether a regional accent is good or not, only that they’re trying to sound Bostonian, from the Bronx, from the South, or whatever. What about Rob Pattinson and Tom Holland’s accents in The Devil All the Time?

      • Winechampion says:

        I can pretty much always tell when a Brit is playing American. They don’t get it right. Tom Holland is one of the few Brits who can do a flawless standard American accent. Robert Pattinson’s standard American (the accent he does in Twilight) is also good. I can’t really speak to Devil All the Time because I’m not from the South. When Cumberbatch does standard American (Doctor Strange), he sounds too forced, which is the main problem Brits have. They overenunciate everything and flatten their vowels too much.

    • Ann says:

      I come from Southern origins. My parents are both from the Carolinas, as are their parents and THEIR parents, on down the line. I thought his accent in Twelve Years A Slave was pretty bad, for someone who is supposedly a great actor in what is supposedly a great movie. And it bugged me because there were probably plenty of other option who would have done the accent right, and yes, that matters. He was not the only one in that film who got it wrong. Brad Pitt was woeful. But still.

      • JustACommenter says:

        Brad Pitt was meant to be Canadian in that film though. He didn’t sound Canadian; he sounded like he was trying to do a southern accent.

        To Cumberbatch’s credit, his Australian accent was excellent, 100%, and perfectly imitated how Assange speaks, in The Fifth Estate.

    • OK says:

      I’ve always wondered about Elizabeth Taylors southern accents especially in Raintree County , she said that real southerners told her it was really good. Is that true? If so she said she nailed it because her voice coach had told her to just focus on getting the key words in a line right and the rest would just flow.

  2. Grant says:

    WOOF. That is bad. The Southern Accent is hard to do, even Americans mess it up because people think that Southern = Scarlett O’Hara. Julia Roberts is a big culprit IMO. She has played two roles with dodgy Southern accents: she tried to turn on the Scarlett charm in Steel Magnolias (even though women from Louisiana do NOT sound like women from Georgia) and then, disastrously, she played a rich woman from HOUSTON in Charlie Wilson’s War, in full-on syrupy Scarlett O’Hara cosplay. I’m from Texas and we do not sound like people from Georgia who do not sound like people from the Carolinas, etc.

    • Stellainnh says:

      He also trashed the Boston accent as Billy Bulger in Black Mass.

      • LightPurple says:

        That was horrific. And there are ample recordings of Billy Bulger speaking, including a 60 Minutes interview, but he admitted he didn’t listen to them.

    • Sara says:

      @Grant – I love Steel Magnolias and Julia is good in it but yeah, when her first line is “Pink is mah signuhchuh cullah,” I always cringe a little.

    • Freddy says:

      @Grant—So true! I’m from North Carolina, and each southern state has it’s own regional drawl. The only thing they have in common is the use of “ya’ll”—which has gone so mainstream, all of my New York friends (and several Italian and English friends) say “ya’ll”. It’s cute.

      • Vizia says:

        “Ya’ll” is such a handy term, as is “all ya’ll”. My midwestern husband has embraced both of those as good, inclusive gender neutral terms :-)

      • Jezebel's Lacefront says:

        If they’re black people in New York, it’s not unreasonable to hear them say “ya’ll” considering the migration from the South. I’m from Philly and black Philadelphians say “ya’ll” because of where many of our ancestors and family members lived.

    • Ann says:

      I’ve lived in Houston for over 25 years. Yeah, she got it wrong.

  3. JanetDR says:

    I’m going to stick up for Benedict! 😍
    It’s no worse than an American would do for any particular British accent.
    And all the heart eyes to Katie Porter!

    • Killfanora says:

      Totally agree! Americans are hopeless at regional British accents and don’t start me on when they’re supposed to do Irish accents! They either do a mangled Belfast accent or even a Scottish accent that we’re supposed to think is Irish FFS….

      • tcbc says:

        It’s worse with the Brits, in my opinion, because somewhere along the line we all agreed to lie and say they were good at it, whereas very few American actors were ever praised at being good at British or Irish accents.

      • Lucy490 says:

        @TCBC definitely true. My English family refuses to believe that what sounds like an American accent to them often isn’t a good accent. It’s a built in assumption.

    • Killfanora says:

      Tcbc…..American actors don’t get any praise for British accents because they think there are only two of them – either posh or Cockney. There are 48 counties that make up Britain and each has its own quite differing accent.

      • MrsBanjo says:

        And there are even more regional variations in American accents, yet Brits aren’t criticised the same way when they try to do them.

      • Ann says:

        Americans are not cast in British shows and films because Union rules there don’t allow it. Game of Thrones was an American show, on an American network, based on a series of books written by an American, with a script written and brought to TV by Americans, yet almost all of the actors were English or European. Peter Dinklage was a big exception, because he had done films in the UK so he had his “papers.” I am not criticizing the cast in any way. They were amazing. But there are lot more Brits in American films than vice-versa, so it’s fine for us to comment on the accents. We know them far better, after all. Fair is fair.

  4. Yup, Me says:

    Why is Benny D dressed like the white guy who suddenly started hanging out with pimps in that last pic, though? 😂

    • Soupie says:

      Thank you. That photo of him is very triggering for me. It reminds me of a plantation owning slave lord from the South. Ugh. (Yeah I know I’m not a student of historical costuming!)

    • North of Boston says:

      That pic was from a Met Gala a while back. I remember reading a rundown of outfits and whatever the theme was, that outfit fit it.

  5. LightPurple says:

    That was bad. Not as bad as his horrible attempt at Billy Bulger’s accent in Black Mass, but still bad.

    • Ann says:

      I still can’t believe someone cast him in that role in the first place.

      • Lightpurple says:

        Right? We’re casting the role of a well known, eloquent politician with a very particular accent that not only indicates where he lives but the schools he attended, who is also very short. Hey, let’s use this tall British guy who can’t do accents and will try to make him sound like an uneducated thug.

  6. Josie Bean says:

    Often when a Brit plays an American the accent is too “hard” and just doesn’t sound right – it is too forced. I listen to BBC Radio 4 plays a lot and can spot the Brit trying to sound like an American.

  7. Eve says:

    Will watch it for Tahar Rahim and for Tahar Rahim only.

  8. FrenchGirl says:

    99% of American can’t do regional US accent either

  9. Jumpingthesnark says:

    Ugh! Aren’t they actors supposed to work with accent coaches for this sort of thing?

  10. ravynrobyn says:

    I love watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and the animated ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ (not the dreadful Jim Carrey one).

    Since my wedding anniversary is on December 30 & I only have fur babies, we usually don’t do anything for Christmas & splurge a bit for each other on our anniversary instead. With the way things are this year, probably we’ll just Netflix & chill for #37 (!!!!!).

  11. Becks1 says:

    I admit, I cant take Wild Mountain Thyme seriously after a thread on twitter from someone in Ireland making fun of it and basically asking – “is this how Americans see us?”

  12. Lizzie says:

    I was charmed by Daniel Craig’s accent in Knives Out. It’s the only movie I have seen him in.

  13. AnUnrulyBody says:

    I love this site. I scrolled down and got to Met Gala Bendy and burst out laughing. Thank you!

  14. Summergirl says:

    American actors are just as bad–maybe worse–at doing British accents. They always sound too mannered, rather than natural. Some British actors do excellent American accents–at the moment Matthew Macfadyen in Succession comes to mind, Dominic West (hated around here but does a good American accent), Damian Lewis, Sarah Snook (though Australian) and many more who don’t spring to mind now.

    • Emm says:

      I agree, Dominic west in the wire is good and I didn’t even know Damian Lewis was British when I watched him in band of brothers.

      • LightPurple says:

        Several of the actors in The Wire are British or Irish and people didn’t realize it. West. Idris Elba. Aidan Gillen.

    • Juls says:

      True. But American actors and television personalities are taught a non-regional dialect. Like what news anchors use, I guess. So it kind of ‘fits’ anywhere in America, if that makes sense. So its possible that British actors learn this too when they play American roles? Is there a similar type of speak in the UK? To sound…..just, British? with no regional inflection? Genuinely curious.

    • Chartreuse says:

      American actors don’t do accents all that well imo. Australian actors in general do very good American accents (not the hemsworths of course). There are tons of Australian actors on TV and you’d never know.

    • Ann says:

      You know who is amazing? Stephen Graham. He was Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire and was was GREAT. Most convincing Brit I’ve ever seen doing a regional or “ethnic” American actually. Much better than Cumberbatch ever was.

  15. JustMe2 says:

    Wow that is bad Beneficial Cummerbund really butchered that

  16. Tiffany :) says:

    People are so obnoxious when it comes to dialect judging. “Americans can’t do regional UK dialects!” “Brits can’t do regional southern US dialects!”, it’s all so overwrought to me.

    Dialects are so specific, and the regions they apply to can be so tiny. Many times 1 US state will contain several distinct pronunciation differences. If an actor gets close, fine. It’s a high horse that I refuse to jump on because it is a little petty.

    • MsIam says:

      Agree. I expected it to be the worst thing ever but it wasn’t. And southern accents can be hard for anyone.

    • North of Boston says:

      Yeah, that’s how I feel too.

      The only ones that tend to bug me are when actors try to do “Boston” accents that assume everyone in Massachusetts speaks like the Kennedys did back in the day. Almost no one speaks like JFK around these parts.

      I always wonder why dialect coaches don’t sit the actors down and make them watch televised school committee meetings or city council meetings from the places their characters are supposed to be from, to get a feel for how actual people talk in day to day life, and the many variations.

      But generally, if an accent doesn’t stand out or distract from the scene, it doesn’t bother me.

  17. schmootc says:

    I’m not sure the accent is bad so much as that doesn’t sound like his real voice, if that makes sense? He’s doing an Elizabeth Holmes thing. If that voice came from someone else, I wouldn’t think twice about it being American or not.

    • Ellyn says:

      It sounded to me like Cumberbatch was channeling Tommy Lee Jones (owner of a bonafide Southern dialect, who has also been cast in a lot of law enforcement and military roles).

      • Ann says:

        I just wasn’t that impressed with him or Fassbender in this movie. And definitely not by Pitt. Fassbender just came across as a psychopath, whereas he should have been a slaveowner drunk on his own power. His performance did not convey the sick power dynamic of the situation. He just seemed like a loon.

  18. Karla says:

    If I tell you that in Germany all the movies get a German voiceover with normal German. So all those accents and distinct voices get lost in translation. They try to somehow match the German voice to the original voice but it is always a standard German voice. No distinction between Amrican/British/Scottish/Australian whatsoever. They all sound as if they were from Hannover!
    Same with all the foreign movies….

  19. RoyalBlue says:

    but, but…Rick Grimes!

  20. SugarBee666 says:

    So is anyone going to acknowledge that his Dennis Quaid transformation is almost complete? I genuinely thought Benedict was Dennis, especially with that haircut.

  21. Kay Hendricks says:

    I’m from the South, and most actors, including Americans, do an awful Southern accent. I don’t think Benedict’s is bad here, and I love the sound of his voice in any accent. And it doesn’t change the fact that he is a great actor. I don’t know why they chose to have the character use a Southern accent, since it is so hard to do right. They could have made the character from somewhere else in the U.S. I wish they had found a way to let him be British in Dr. Strange, because that is the way he sounds best. But if Patrick Steward can be French with a decidedly British accent, anything goes. I WILL see this move and Benedict is the reason.

  22. emu says:

    Yeah I didn’t think it was so bad either