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John Wick 4: Bill Skarsgard's Marquis Backlash Makes No Sense

After debuting "John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum" to critical and commercial success back in 2019, franchise director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves were quick to jumpstart production on a fourth outing. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically delayed the film. But the wait was truly worth it, as audiences who graced their local multiplex in March 2023 were treated with one of the most chaotic and focused action films in recent memory.

Looper critic Alistair Ryder absolutely adored the latest "John Wick" effort, praising it for its polished and jaw-dropping action sequences and intriguing character threads. "It's a love letter to decades of genre cinema from all over the globe, masquerading as a straightforward franchise entry," Ryder concluded in their review, awarding the fourth film in the franchise an 8/10. And as well received the film is — it boasts an A CinemaScore from audience members, there are a few issues... mostly surrounding its antagonist.

Some fans are taking issue with Bill Skarsgård performance as the nefarious and extremely extra Marquis Vincent Bisset de Gramont. "Chapter 4" serves as the debut for the Marquis, pitting the character up against a very exhausted John. While the character is definitely intriguing, some just can't wrap their heads around the Marquis' "French" accent.

"Bill Skarsgard's French accent is possibly the worst acting I've ever seen from a great actor, in a great movie," shared Twitter user @Triton204. It turns out, however, that the Marquis doesn't technically have a French accent, as revealed by Stahelski during an appearance on the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast. "[Skarsgård] came to me, he goes, 'I want to do a little bit like f–ked up French like Cajun accent,'" Stahelski revealed, before adding that the Marquis was never supposed to have a traditional French accent.

Some fans don't like Bill Skarsgard's French accent

Watch "John Wick: Chapter 4" and it's hard to disagree with the fact that Bill Skarsgård's French accent is... far from perfect. But when you realize that the actor's intention was to create a varied and almost cartoonish accent, it's easy to see how the feedback the actor received wasn't really warranted. Following the film's release, several fans of the Lionsgate franchise took to social media to criticize Skarsgard's "French" accent. "If I wouldn't have read on twitter that he was playing a French guy I would have never guessed !" wrote Twitter user @allthelovelh in a lengthy thread, adding, "And when he was speaking French I couldn't even understand what [...] he was saying. And I am French [...] like that was so bad," they continued. 

"They had enough $ to make 4 John Wick movies but not enough to train Bill Skarsgard proper French???" user @lo_works hilariously pondered. Technically, the Marquis is French, but he's not occupied with a traditional accent. In his chat with the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast, director Chad Stahelski made it clear: Skarsgård's devious accent was on purpose. "Some people gave us [expletive] a little bit because it's not a good French accent," the director recounted. "I'm like, 'Guys, it's not supposed to be French.' Like, he wasn't trying to be French, he's a guy that speaks French." Indeed, the Marquis is blending a French and Cajun accent to create something that's truly unique for the "John Wick" film, a creative choice that some fans actually appreciated. 

"Bill skarsgard putting on the worst french accent you've ever heard and pacing around the opera garnier dressed like a shoujo anime headmaster for three hours yeah this is the best 'john wick,'" shared Twitter user @olsencassidy

The mysterious origins of the Marquis

Now that we know that the Marquis doesn't really have a typical French accent, we can understand the mindset Bill Skarsgård had when he approached the "John Wick" character. Details on the Maqruis are ultimately slim, which makes sense, considering the High Table goon is shrouded in mystery. While he does speak French and seems to have a number of ties to the city of Paris, it's unclear where exactly the Marquis is from. While speaking with Total Film Magazine, Skarsgård opened up about his eccentric "John Wick" character's origins. "The Marquis is a young man of unknown origin who has quickly climbed the ladder within the High Table doing god knows what," the actor told the outlet. "I always saw him as someone from the gutter that now savors the glittery suits he's wearing." 

Is it possible that Skarsgård's Marquis is more Cajun than French, hailing from the likes of Louisiana or Nova Scotia? One fan on Reddit is convinced that the Marquis is simply indulging in French culture to gain clout. "In order to adopt the refined nature and social presence befitting his position at the Hugh Table, as well as with his growing taste in the 'finer things' he tried to modify his normal accent to sound more French," shared Reddit user u/BARGOBLEN on the r/JohnWick fan subreddit. "So it's kind of a cartoony accent, but it's because he's trying to be something he's not – a refined cultured individual at the high table." 

It's anyone's guess where the Marquis is from but half the fun of the "John Wick" universe is just accepting the diverse and comical characters that the maverick hitman comes across. As for his French accent, it will likely remain a matter of contention for years to come.