Angelina Jolie baffled audiences at the Hollywood Film Awards last week when she attempted what she believed to be a Derby accent, using the East Midlands greeting, “Ay up me duck!” before presenting the New Hollywood Award to star of Unbroken and Derby native, Jack O’Connell.
Jolie said it was a “privilege” to introduce the “least Hollywood person I know, straight from Derby,” before making her ill-fated effort, leaving a number of Hollywood stars looking bemused as the Skins actor made his way up to the stage.
But this isn’t the first time she’s tried – and failed – to pull off the local lingo. Earlier this week, the news was awash with her attempt at an Aussie accent while attending a press conference Down Under…
While promoting Unbroken, her second directorial venture based on the life of POW survivor and Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, Jolie slipped in a “no worries” in her, er, best Australian accent. Although, in the American’s defence, she did say she’d never attempted the accent before, which sadly put paid to any visions of her and the cast wise-cracking “heaps” on set.
But despite these recent blips, the Oscar-winning actress has relatively good form of pulling off accents in the past. There’s her mastery of the English pronunciation, from the clipped Queen’s English of Lara Croft in 2001…
…to an almost Audrey Hepburn-esque effort in this year’s Maleficent:
For the latter, Jolie says she “studied great English theatre actresses” – perhaps, as one interviewer suggested, she should have immersed herself in Earl Grey tea, Radio 4’s Today programme and Midsomer Murders?
Although, rewind all the way back to 1996 and you’ll find the long-buried Love Is All There Is – a loose retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story with two Italian-American families who own rival catering businesses. A young Jolie plays Gina with a hilariously thick Italian accent and a fitting verve…
In 2007 the American star pulled off the considerably harder Cuban-French mix to play Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart – the French wife of an American journalist kidnapped in Karachi. No mean feat.
However, any pretence that Jolie is fairly good with accents is undermined by 2004’s disastrous Alexander. Opposite Colin Farrell, who adopts a strong, Irish lilt in the title role, her imitation of an Ancient Greek accent – which, it should be remembered, no one has ever heard – wouldn’t have sounded out of place coming from the mouth of a Russian moll.