Top 10 British Icons Played by Non-Brits
# 10 – Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, Emma
These days, Gwyneth Paltrow is dying of bird flu and telling people how to stop being like themselves and start being more like Gwyneth Paltrow on her website GOOP. Back in the day, Paltrow liked nothing better than putting on her best English accent and fannying around in front of the camera (fanny means bum in American). Perhaps most famously she portrayed snooty heroine Emma in the classic novel by Jane Austen (who we’ll get to later).
Who should have played Emma? Gwyneth Paltrow. She was pretty good.
# 9 – Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’ Diary/Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Despite Bridget Jones being a bit of an English institution, the lead role in the film version of the book went to Zellweger, who hails from Texas and had to put on twenty pounds to look more English.
Who should have played Bridget Jones? Renée Zellweger. SHE WAS GOOD OK.
# 8 – Mel Gibson as William Wallace, Braveheart
Oh hello, Mel Gibson, old friend. Made it onto another of our lists have you? Welcome. Come in, you may leave your kilt and mullet at the door.
Listen, we all love Braveheart, the 1995 film depicting the exploits of Scottish icon William Wallace. It’s got a great soundtrack and great fighting and everything. But Mel Gibson is not Scottish and does not do a good Scottish accent.
Who should have played William Wallace? Mel Gibson. We love Mel, despite his terrible, terrible ways.
# 7 – Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, The Hours
She was grumpy, really really clever and she killed herself by walking into a pond or something. You guessed it, it’s Virginia Woolf! (You might have also guessed it because her name’s in the title).
The Hours is some weird film from 2002 which charts three generations of women, played by Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. In the film, Woolf is writing her most famous novel Mrs Dalloway and having a big nose. Critics applauded Kidman’s performance, and she even got an Oscar for it.
Who should have played Woolf? Nicole Kidman. She got an Oscar and the people at the Oscars NEVER get anything wrong.
# 6 – Eric Bana as Henry VIII, The Other Boleyn Girl
Eric Bana is dreamy. Can we all agree on that? He’s also quite good at playing kingly figures, like Hector in Troy. But he’s not so good at Henry VIII. Actually, this whole film was pretty much an affront to British history, casting Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman as the Boleyn sisters.
Who should have played Henry VIII? Eric Bana. He’s dreamy, OK?
# 5 – Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Elizabeth: The Golden Age
“She’s Australian?” we hear you cry. “Only as Australian as the day is long, mate!” we reply, whilst throwing another shrimp on the barbie. Yes, Elizabeth I is one of the most famous British icons, but you know what, Cate Blanchett is a very good actress. Plus, she does a spot on English accent in both these films.
Who should have played Elizabeth? Cate Blanchett. We already covered this.
# 4 – Jessica Chastain as Princess Diana, Caught In Flight
As we reported just this morning, breakout star of 2011 Jessica Chastain is rumoured to be starring in an upcoming biopic of Lady Di. There’s no word yet on the other actors involved, but we’ve decided to go ahead and cast (in our minds) Ralph Fiennes who does look rather fly in Prince Charles’ hair.
Who should be playing Princess Di? Jessica Chastain. Why the heck not? Her hair looks pretty fly like that too.
# 3 – Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Oh hi Kevin Costner. How are you doing there? Oh what’s that? You’re playing Robin Hood, one of Britain’s most popular legendary figures? Cool! How’s the English accent coming along. What’s that? Oh. You’re not doing one? That’s weird.
Come on, at least Russell Crowe attempted an accent, some sort of accent, whatever it was.
Who should have played Robin? Kevin Costner. WHAT I LIKE HIM OK AND NO I’M NOT DRUNK I ONLY HAD ONE DRINK WITH LUNCH.
# 2 – Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady
Ahh Meryl Streep, rubbing her good acting in everyone’s faces all the time all over the world. This upcoming biopic of British PM Margaret Thatcher is getting us all rather excited, though.
Who should have played Thatcher? Meryl Streep duh. SHE SHOULD PLAY ALL THE ROLES.
# 1 – Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen, Becoming Jane
Julian Jarrold’s 2007 film focuses on Jane Austen before she found fame as a novelist. It also depicts her relationship with a young Irishman, James McAvoy (NOT IRISH).
Whose idea was this? Whose? Why? When? How? Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen? NO, WORLD, NOOOOOO!!!! Jane Austen is such a British institution! She should be small and pale and plain and have bad teeth and be miserable and not have any boyfriends!
Who should have played Austen? ANYONE. ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD. MEL GIBSON SHOULD HAVE PLAYED JANE AUSTEN.
Feel like we’ve missed anyone important off our list? Let us know below! And keep the Aussie-bashing to a minimum, please