Robert Downey Jr. Auditioned for ‘The Holiday’ and Used the ‘Worst British Accent’ Kate Winslet Had Ever Heard

They ultimately went with the Brit

Robert Downey Jr.
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Nancy Meyers’s 2006 rom-com, The Holiday, is quickly becoming a modern Christmastime classic, thanks in part to its winning lead cast, which includes Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. However, it turns out there were a number of other stars who auditioned for roles in the film, including Robert Downey Jr., 58, who tried out for Law’s part as Graham Simpkins. But while Downey may have been able to pull off Mr. Napkin Head, it turns out he was not as successful in doing a British accent.

Back in July, Downey stopped by The Howard Stern Show podcast with Jimmy Fallon, where the pair revealed that they both tried out for roles in The Holiday (Fallon auditioned for Black's part as Miles Dumont).

On the episode, Downey said, “We both got called in just as seat fillers…[Meyers] needed someone to read with the gals and we’re sitting there going, ‘It’s about to happen for us.’”

But while Downey added that he thought he was a “shoo-in” to nab the part from Law, a comment from Winslet quickly changed his mind. “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.’”

Fallon chimed in to say that he was intimidated by auditioning alongside Downey. “I’m sitting across from Robert Downey Jr., and I go, ‘This is the best actor I’ve ever sat across [from] and did a scene with in my entire life,’” Fallon said. “It was mind-blowing for me and I quit the business…that was the last time I ever auditioned for a role.”

Ultimately, the roles went to Law and Black, and Downey recalls director Meyers coming to them with the decision. “Nancy said to me, said to both of us at the same time, ‘It’s great, it’s just not a perfect fit.’” (Of course, things still worked out for Downey, who would end up securing the role of Iron Man the same year that The Holiday arrived in theaters.)

Seems the real-life Brit was the better fit. Sorry, Robert.

Attention, ‘The Holiday’ Fans! Kate Winslet Is Finally Addressing Sequel Rumors

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...