Actor Kevin Costner is probably now known for his amazing performance as John Dutton in Taylor Sheridan’s acclaimed neo-Western series Yellowstone. But the actor has a nearly four-decade-long career, which has won him two Academy Awards and earned him much commercial success.
The actor has also had his share of duds that have resulted in his fluctuating career. One such film is the Kevin Reynolds-directed Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Though a commercial success, the adventure film drew a lot of criticism for its screenplay and Costner’s performance. In fact, many still have not forgiven Costner for his lack of a British accent in the film.
Kevin Costner’s Accent In Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves
Actor Kevin Costner and director Kevin Reynolds go way back. Costner was cast in Reynolds’ debut feature film Fandango, which was produced by Steven Spielberg. Reynolds also acted as a consultant and a second-unit director for Kevin Costner’s Academy Award-winning epic Western Dances with the Wolves. The actor reportedly agreed to star in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves only after getting to know that Reynolds was directing.
Costner’s accent in the film was a subject of ridicule even before the film was released, as a report from Entertainment Weekly suggested that the actor sounded more ‘LA than UK’. Reynolds and Costner reportedly had differences when it came to the accent as the latter wanted one but Reynolds felt that it would distract the audience. This allegedly led to an uneven performance throughout the film.
Costner also reportedly had a dialogue coach on-set and in the dubbing studio but the actor alleged that the producers dismissed his coach before he was fully prepared. In a statement to the LA Times, producer John Watson said that Costner did not make it known that he was unhappy with the coaching.
The accent problem of Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves persists to this day as he was recently criticized by a thread on the subreddit r/movies. The user asked the subreddit for examples of actors who had the worst accents in movies while stating their own opinions about Costner.
“Everyone talks about Keanu in Dracula or Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins but I just watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Costner made ZERO attempt at an accent. Just wondering what other movies should be avoided (or maybe watched for fun) due to a terrible attempt at an accent or even lack thereof.”
However, the accent which is widely criticized still has one defender in the form of producer John Watson.
John Watson Defended Kevin Costner’s American Accent
The adventure film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves had a ton of production troubles during filming, with director Kevin Reynolds given a mere ten weeks for pre-production. Kevin Costner too had a busy schedule as he was filming Dances with Wolves, JFK, and Robin Hood back-to-back, giving the adventure film a very small window. The cold seasons in England also did not help the schedule.
Kevin Reynolds walked out of the project due to studio interference and reportedly did not even attend the screening. EW reported that Costner and Reynolds were not taking any more. The studio reportedly interfered during the edit, even sending the editor out of the cutting room. However, none of these woes affected the collections of the film as it earned a whopping $390 million at the box office.
Costner’s lack of a British accent also did not seem to bother the collections of the film. In fact, producer John Watson defended the decision to retain Costner’s American accent in an interview with the LA Times. He said,
“He had a tempered accent, a softened-up Americanization. It was inappropriate to have him sound like Prince Charles. We didn’t want to go all the way to British royalty. But we didn’t want him to sound Californian…the audience loves him. It didn’t bother them at all.”
The producer mentioned that even the British critics have not called out the accent in their reviews. While the film may have been a commercial success, fans still seem to hold the actor accountable for his lack of effort.