Kate Winslet Roasted Robert Downey Jr. While Telling The Story Behind The Time He And Jimmy Fallon Auditioned For The Holiday

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Written By Maya Cantina

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, long before he was Iron Man or a 2024 Oscar nominee for his staggering supporting work in Oppenheimer, Robert Downey, Jr. was known to dabble in the rom-com genre. There was 1987’s The Pick-Up Artist and ’89’s Chances Are and, of course, that early-’90s fan-favorite Only You, opposite Marisa Tomei. But allegedly, his poor accent work kept RDJ from appearing in one of the genre’s most beloved titles: The Holiday.

Kate Winslet, who memorably portrayed house-swapping Brit Iris Simpkins in that 2006 Christmastime romantic comedy, revealed as much during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The actress and the talk-show host reminisced about how both Fallon and Downey had actually auditioned to be part of The Holiday cast, for the male lead parts that would end up going to Jack Black and Jude Law. Jimmy told Kate:

I remember being in a room with you and Robert Downey Jr. and Cameron Diaz. And the role did not go me, obviously. It went to Jack Black and Jude Law.

Winslet remembered the audition with the famous funnymen, but said that at the time, she didn’t realize that both Fallon and Downey were actually auditioning for specific parts in the movie: 

Correct. This is a really real story, which I remember extremely well…So, we were, sort of, told that you were coming in to do, well, I thought it was just like a reading, and we were just going to have a fun read of the script. I didn’t realize you were auditioning for the part. I’m so sorry you didn’t get it. I’m also sorry if I happened to have been mean to you in any way or rude. I don’t think I was, I’m just checking.

After Jimmy assured The Regime actress that she was kind to him all those years ago, she also shared that she remembered that he was sick at the time and acting like a bit of a germaphobe, continuously reapplying his hand sanitizer. Kate also remembered how Downey’s “English” accent sounded way more Down Under than it should have: 

You were very sick, and you were obsessively hand-sanitizing, and I thought, ‘OK, he’s one of those people.’ And then COVID happened, and I was like ‘I’m going to be one of those people…It was a hotel room somewhere. I don’t remember where. Somewhere on the Upper East Side. And Robert Downey did an English accent, but I thought he was doing Australian. And I thought, ‘That’s bad. That’s not going to work, and who’s going to tell him that he sounds dreadful.’

Fallon gamely tried to support RDJ, saying that maybe the character was meant to be Australian, but Winslet was unrelenting in her roasting of Robert: 

It wasn’t actually that great, but that’s really sweet of you to have said that.

Of course, everything happens for a reason—maybe an Australian-accented Robert Downey, Jr. simply wasn’t meant to be in The Holiday? However, if the self-proclaimed “obsessed” actor becomes tormented by the memory of that failed audition, maybe Winslet can give him a second chance in the much-rumored The Holiday 2? 

Sure, both writer-director Nancy Meyers and the original cast have repeatedly shut down those sequel rumors, but Jack Black has an iconic idea for a second one and it would be awesome to see him back onscreen with his Tropic Thunder buddy Robert. Make it happen, Kate Winslet! (Maybe just let Downey use his real accent though?)

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