Audio: Russell Crowe storms out of interview after 'Irish' Robin Hood jibe
Published 14/05/2010 | 10:02
Hollywood star Russell Crowe walked out on a BBC Radio 4 interview after being riled by accusations that he had made Robin Hood sound Irish.
Expletive-spitting Crowe stormed out of an interview and accused BBC radio presenter Mark Lawson of having “dead ears” after being asked about his Irish-sounding lilt.
He swore repeatedly during the terse five-minute exchange before walking out.
Critics have been even more scathing — accusing Crowe of lurching between London and Liverpool via Yorkshire and Scotland.
Crowe has said in previous interviews that he tried make his character sound as if he was from Yorkshire, where scholars say he may have lived, rather than from Nottingham, his legendary home.
Voice coach Poll Moussoulides from www.voicecoach.ie, who has worked on TV series The Tudors and films such as In America and The General, says Crowe would have worked hard on his accent.
“It is generally easier to teach a person with a strong accent, like Crowe, to speak another strong accent,” he said.
“Outsiders have preconceptions of what Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh accents sound like, from films like Far And Away and Gangs Of New York.
“Crowe plays very macho roles and even in England the accent he was aiming for would be considered hard and manly, a world away from ‘men in tights’.
“He is a great actor who really gets into his roles so I can understand that his pride was hurt when in reality he probably only made a few slip-ups.
“People outside Scotland thought Mel Gibson did a great job in Braveheart, whereas Scots were doubling over in hysterics.
BBC Radio 4's Mark Lawson interviews Russell Crowe
“It’s hard to explain to people that an Irish accent isn’t a mix of Dublin, Cork and Belfast, when Ireland itself could fit into Lake Michigan.
“When you come from a big country, British and Irish accents seem to blend into one.”
The 46-year-old New Zealand-born actor, who was being interviewed for Radio 4’s Front Row show, is notorious for his short temper.
Since 1999 the Gladiator star is alleged to have been involved in backstage arguments and restaurant brawls.
In 2005 he was even charged with second-degree assault by New York City police, after he threw a telephone at a Mercer Hotel employee.
Interview that hit a raw nerve
Presenter: Mark Lawson: The accent you've given him... there are hints of Irish but what have you... what were you thinking in those terms?
Crowe: You've got dead ears mate, you've seriously got dead ears if you think that's an Irish accent...
Lawson: Hints of, I thought...
Crowe answers the next question before they come back to the accent.
Crowe: I'm a little dumbfounded that you could possibly find any Irish in this character, that's kind of ridiculous anyway, but it's your show.
Lawson: So you're... well, I am just asking... so you're going for northern English?
Crowe: No, I was goin for an Italian... missed it? (laughs) F**k me! (Bleeped).
Lawson then asks Crowe whether it is true that he wanted to say the famous ‘I'll take my revenge in this life or the next’ line from Gladiator, at which stage Crowe gets up and walks out of the interview.
Crowe: I don't get the Irish thing by the way. I don't get it at all.
Dodgy accents that have had us howling in the cinema aisles
Angry antipodean Russell Crowe is not the only thespian who’s had us cringing into our popcorn with a bad accent.
Kevin Costner, who played Robin Hood in Prince Of Thieves, didn’t put much effort in and sounded distinctly Californian as he strode through Sherwood Forest.
Perhaps the daddy of them all was Dick Van Dyke with his ‘mockney’ London accent in Mary Poppins.
Irish accents are notoriously hard to pull off for Americans.
Tom Cruise, Tommy Lee Jones and Richard Gere have all come in for ridicule for their ‘Oirish’.
Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt has murdered the accent twice — in Snatch and The Devil’s Own.
Many accents were mangled in 1986’s Highlander, starring the unmistakably French Christopher Lambert in the title role with professional Scotsman Sean Connery as a Japanese-Egyptian prince.
Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula have also had audiences howling.