4. Don Cheadle – Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Back in the days when Hollywood’s established protocol for filling the role of a British character in a big budget movie was to simply cast an American and hope for the best, Don Cheadle appeared in Ocean’s Eleven. In the heist movie, Cheadle plays Basher, the team’s demolitions expert, who also happens to be British (not that his nationality is ever even remotely relevant to the plot).
Cringeworthy in both its writing and execution, Cheadle’s “cockney” accent is the quintessential American “I can do a British accent” accent. With plenty of shoehorned rhyming slang thrown in – a lazy, transparent and rarely successful way of feigning authenticity – Cheadle’s accent was painfully bad.
The actor himself has since expressed his embarrassment at just how bad the accent was, even going as far as to issue an apology, so let’s not be too hard on him. Plus, due to a billing dispute, Cheadle refused to be credited for his work in the film, so technically, he was never in it. That’s one way to distance yourself from a bad accent.