Kate Winslet Once Gave Robert Downey Jr. Hell For The ‘Worst British Accent I’ve Ever Heard’

Robert Downey Jr. has a new movie out: He’s in Oppenheimer, in which the plays the titular physicist’s chief antagonist. That means he’s doing the press rounds, revealing his two most important movies of the last quarter century — the answers may/will surprise you — and telling fun stories. One is that a prominent British actress gave him hell for one of his lesser attempts at her accent.

As per Entertainment Weekly, Downey joined Jimmy Fallon on a recent episode of SirusXM’s The Howard Stern Show. What do they two have in common, apart from being performers? Well, they both read for roles, sort of, in Nancy Meyers’ 2006 rom-com The Holiday. Neither of them, as you may recall, is in Nancy Meyer’s The Holiday. Downey’s story was particularly embarrassing.

“We both got called in just as seat fillers,” Downey recalled, saying Meyers just “needed someone to read with the gals.” Downey read for the part that would wound up going to Jude Law, the future Watson to his future Sherlock Holmes. He apparently wound up trying to sound like Law, i.e., British. It didn’t go well.

“And I was like, ‘I’ve got to have a better English accent than Jude Law at this point,’” he told Winslet. “And Winslet said, ‘That is the worst British accent I’ve ever heard.'”

That should be a bit of a shock: Downey had done a British accent before, in his Oscar-nominated turn as the titular comedy legend in Chaplin, and he’d do it again in the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes movies. His accent isn’t bad in any of them. Maybe it was an off day.

How did Fallon do? Better, it sounds like. “I thought, honestly, I said, ‘If Jack Black says no to this movie, I’m so in,'” Fallon told Stern. “‘I’ll do it for half his price.'”

Or maybe it didn’t go so well, partly because he was awestruck…by Downey. “I’m sitting across from Robert Downey Jr., and I go, ‘This is the best actor I’ve ever sat across and did a scene with in my entire life,'” Fallon recalled. “It was mind-blowing for me and it kind of, I quit the business. I never went back. That was the last time I auditioned for a role.”

But that’s all in the distant past. These days Downey’s getting good marks for Oppenheimer, in which he plays Lewis Strauss, the Republican businessman who, as the chair of the Atomic Energy Commission, launched a sleazy campaign to strip our hero of his government security clearance and tarnish his reputation, in turn scaring off untold left-leaning scientists from ever putting their brains to use for the greater good of the country. And to think tons of people are going to be seeing it the same day as Barbie!

(Via Entertainment Weekly)