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Kate Winslet Says Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Dreadful’ Accent During ‘The Holiday’ Audition Left Her Thinking: ‘That’s Bad. That’s Not Going to Work’

Robert Downey Jr. revealed last summer that his audition for Nancy Meyers’ “The Holiday” went poorly after Kate Winslet roasted his accent work. Now Winslet herself is admitting to hating Downey Jr.’s interpretation of the character ultimately played by Jude Law. Winslet recently appeared on “The Tonight Show” while promoting her new HBO series “The Regime” and was asked by host Jimmy Fallon if she remembered Downey Jr.’s audition. Fallon was in the room for it as he was reading for the role played by Jack Black, while Winslet and Cameron Diaz had already been cast and were reading their roles.

“I remember it extremely well. I really do,” Winslet said. “We were told it was just a reading. I thought it was just a reading, like a fun reading of the script. I didn’t know it was an audition for the part. I am so sorry you didn’t get it. I’m sorry if I happened to be mean or rude to you in any way…you were sick, very sick and obsessively hand sanitizing. I thought, ‘Okay he’s one of those people.’ You were very sick.”

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“Robert Downey Jr. then did an English accent but I thought it was an Australian accent,” Winslet continued. “I thought, ‘That’s bad. That’s not going to work. Who is going to tell him that sounds dreadful?'”

Fallon told Winslet that Downey Jr. might actually have been trying to do an Australian accent, even though the character was not from Australia. Fallon said Downey Jr. “sounded great. It sounded perfect.”

“It wasn’t actually that great,” Winslet responded as the two laughed. “But that’s sweet of you to have said that…what a hoot. Here [Robert] is now winning everything [for ‘Oppenheimer’].”

Downey Jr. said on “The Howard Stern Show” last year that he went in to read for “The Holiday” fully knowing that Jude Law was the frontrunner for his role.

“[Jimmy and I] got called in just as seat fillers…[director Nancy Meyers] needed someone to read with the gals and we’re sitting there going, ‘It’s about to happen for us,’” Downey said, adding that he felt he was a “shoo-in” to steal the part away from Law. “And I was like, ‘I’ve got to have a better English accent than Jude Law at this point.’ And Winslet said, ‘That was the worst British accent I’ve ever heard.’ And I was like, ‘I’ll check out now, but I’m taking the gummy bears from the minibar.’”

“The Holiday” stars Winslet and Diaz as two lovelorn women from opposite sides of the Atlantic who swap homes during the Christmas season. Diaz’s Amanda falls for Law’s book editor Graham, while Winslet’s Iris sparks a romance with Black’s film composer Miles. Sony released “The Holiday” in 2006 and the film was a box office hit with $63 million. The romantic-comedy made it to the $205 million mark worldwide.

“People come up to me in the street more about ‘The Holiday’ than ‘Titanic.’ I promise you,” Winslet said during her recent chat with Fallon. “Especially at Christmas. Mothers and daughters come up to me at the grocery store and say it’s their ritual at Christmas. It’s a tradition. I love that. That’s something I never would have expected, that mother-daughter connection around a film like that.”

Rumors popped up online in 2022 that Meyers and Winslet were eyeing a sequel to “The Holiday,” but both women shut down such speculation at the time.

“I read something about that, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Winslet told People magazine. “I promise you not an agent or a representative or anyone from the first one around has had any conversation with me about that. Hand on heart, that’s never come up.”

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