A lot of us have those moments in life when we wish that we would have done something differently, and movie stars are no different since they have roles that they would have never taken if given a chance to step back and really think about it again. Gerard Butler was a star before donning his speedo and shield to defend Sparta as King Leonidas, but he’s had a few roles that he might not have taken or would have done differently if he could go back and do it again. For a while now we’ve been enjoying him as the hard-as-nails action star that’s able to get in there, mess up the bad guy while taking his lumps, and then stand tall at the end of it, with a couple of exceptions of course. But the one movie that he does wish he could have done differently, or not all, is the much-maligned P.S. I Love You with Hilary Swank. To be fair it was supposed to be a touching love story, but somewhere along the line that kind of fell flat. A big part of what went wrong is that when it comes to his Irish brogue (Gerard is Scottish) he fell extremely flat and was called out for it repeatedly. In fact, he was included in the Try Channel on YouTube as one of the worst examples of someone attempting an Irish accent ever, which isn’t that big of a deal since a lot of people can’t really perfect an Irish accent on film. But when Brad Pitt, an American-born and American English-speaking actor, can produce a better Irish accent, of a sort, than someone who was born not too far away from the country, it does manage to get the attention of quite a few people.
Of course, stating that a Scottish individual should be able to pick up and perfect an Irish accent simply because of their similarities is kind of like saying that a Minnesota citizen should be able to mimic a Canadian accent perfectly. That might actually be easier considering the geographical distance and the idea that the accents are so similar. But try telling an Irish native and Scottish individual that their accents are the same and you might have a fight on your hands. Gerard didn’t hear the end of this for a while since the reality is that the two accents are quite a bit different if one really takes the time to listen, and while it wasn’t the biggest gaffe in the world, it was something that came off in a manner that didn’t allow Gerard to shine as he normally does in a given role, and it’s definitely something that he would go back and change. Interestingly enough the movie did get a bit of hype when it was released, but it also faded off pretty quickly since a lot of people likely came to find it less than appealing. Those in Ireland and Scotland were likely of the mind that it either didn’t matter or it was just easier to forget and let it fade away, much like anyone else. The trouble with accents is that at times they can be insanely difficult to get right, especially for those that have little to no knowledge of the area that they’re trying to emulate in some way. This is perhaps what makes Irish and Scottish individuals stand up initially, since slighting an entire nation by butchering an accent isn’t the worst possible offense on record, but it’s still not considered acceptable by many people.
This is the plight of many actors though, especially when it comes to taking on roles that require different accents and even different appearances since the challenge is to fall into the role so well that people won’t be able to do much save complain that the actor doesn’t come from the country, which is pointless since actors from all parts of the world have taken on various roles that require them to be someone that comes from a place far from their own home. But an accent is a part of a country’s personality, an aspect of who they are, and something that has a lot to do with their identity. While it’s not the same as actively insulting the country, it’s still a testament to how little time the actor might have actually put into studying their role before stepping in front of the camera. One thing that a lot of Europeans pride themselves on, and it’s been heard more than a few times over the years, is that their culture is extremely important to them, and as a result, this would include their various accents. It’s fair to say that Gerard didn’t mean to insult or embarrass anyone, but this role didn’t really make a lot of people happy.