Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two decades, key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths in their lives.Dexter is played by Jim Sturgess and Emma, the "working-class girl of principle and ambition" is played by ... Anne Hathaway. Why? Were there no young British actresses available? I did not buy her as a "Yorkshire lass" in just a few preview clips. I can't imagine having to sit through one hour and 47 minutes of her playing Brit, and then waiting for the inevitable heartbreaking scene. No. Just no.
Dick van Dyke, in his legendary attempt at the Cockney accent
How did an American actress get the part? In a typical Hollywood b.s. fairytale version, Hathaway said in an interview that appeared in the Toronto Sun:
"I got slipped the script ... I flew to London and then I proceeded to have, like, the worst meeting of my life. I ... I got so terrified that I wasn't going to get the part, I grabbed a piece of paper and just wrote a bunch of songs. ... 'I clearly didn't communicate to you what I needed to today. But I think these songs can do it for me.' So she [director Lone Scherfig] went home and gave a listen and she said, 'Can I hear more songs?' I don't know why that worked, but I got the part."Uh huh. I'm guessing that Hathaway's box office appeal had more to do with her getting the part than a mix tape, but whatever she wants to believe, fine. This just brings up the age-old question — Why do American Hollywood actresses insist on trying to do (badly) British (and sometimes even Southern) accents? Apart from Meryl Streep, they should just not do attempt it. Also good at an accent: Frances McDormand in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Instead of trying to fit the square peg of an American accent into the round hole of a British one, it would be smarter for a director or writer to just rewrite the part as an American. If they can't change the character's nationality, as in this film or Shakespeare in Love (Gwyneth does the Brit accent better than most), than give a young British girl a chance. That goes for Renee Zellwegger in Bridget Jones's Diary, too.
We'll see how One Day fares at the box office this weekend; if others are as put off by the casting and the premise as I am.