Joaquin Phoenix's strange accent in Napoleon trailer confuses viewers; "sounds like he's from Omaha".

Joaquin Phoenix plays Napoleon while staying true to his American roots.

July 12th 2023.

Joaquin Phoenix's strange accent in Napoleon trailer confuses viewers;
Ridley Scott has dropped the trailer for his upcoming biopic of French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Revolution - and fans are ecstatic. The Blade Runner director’s latest project stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon, with Vanessa Kirby as his ‘one true love’, Josephine.

The trailer is full of big wartime fight scenes and political power grabs, as the titular historical figure rises to become Emperor of France. However, one thing has rubbed some viewers the wrong way - although the film takes place in France, neither Joaquin nor Vanessa are attempting French accents.

Despite being born in Ajaccio, Corsica – an island off the coast of France – Joaquin has stuck to his American accent for the role and Vanessa has kept her British accent for playing Josephine.

This has caused some consternation among fans, who were expecting a little more ‘je ne sais quoi’ from the movie’s cast. ‘That Napolean trailer would’ve been more enjoyable if Joaquin had a French accent,’ said one disgruntled viewer.

However, Vanessa Kirby addressed this concern in an interview with Variety. She explained that it was a ‘collective decision’, citing the same approach taken in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, where Russell Crowe did not use a different accent.

Vanessa shared how when preparing for The Crown, in which she played young Princess Margaret, a decision was made to soften the harsh accent of the Royal Family in 1950. She said: ‘We’re not speaking French so to all collectively speak in French accents, really it would make more sense if we all spoke French because why are French people speaking English even though they’re native tongue is French.’

This explanation has been welcomed by some fans, with one adding: ‘Thank God Scott learnt from House of Gucci and is not making people in Napoleon do an accent.’ Although others still remain unconvinced and have continued to question why Joaquin Phoenix did not adopt a French accent for the role.

Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, is set to release in cinemas on November 24th, 2023 before premiering on Apple TV+.

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