First, there was Brigadoon, which made shortbread tins look hip. Then Braveheart, with its phoney romance between William Wallace and a French princess. And Trainspotting was dubbed into “English” because Americans could not understand it.
Now, one of the greatest Scottish characters in the superhero universe has suffered the worst ignominy possible at the hands of film-makers ... she has been turned into an American.
Moira MacTaggert is one of the key characters in the X-Men comic books. And she figures prominently in the new movie X-Men: First Class, which has just opened in cinemas. Her bizarre transformation has left fans around the world deeply unhappy and angry.
There was a lot of speculation about how Rose Byrne, the Australian star of Troy and forthcoming comedy Bridesmaids, would cope with a Scottish accent. Now it turns out she did not even try.
X-Men: First Class has been rated by critics as one of the best in the series, but fans are outraged at changes from the comics.
In the comics some mutant humans – the X-Men – use superpowers to help mankind while others see man as the enemy.
MacTaggert is a key character in the X-Men stories. An expert on mutation, she speaks in a broad Scots accent when she first crops up in the comic back in 1976, posing as the new X-Men housekeeper. “Mah name is Moira MacTaggert,” she says, “an’ ah’ve been engaged as housekeeper … d’you want to make somethin’ of it then?”
In the comics she was the fiancee of X-Men leader Professor X – played by Scottish actor James McAvoy in the new film – and Moira had her own base on the fictional Muir Island off Cape Wrath, running her own superhero team.
One Arab news site broke the story to fans, in a less than Scots-friendly way: “With apologies to haggis-eaters everywhere, this originally Scottish character has been given an American makeover.”
Moira is now a CIA agent in X-Men: First Class, which is set years before the other films and shows how the first X-Men got together.
Alan Grant, a Scottish writer who has written Batman and Judge Dredd, said: “It’s an American publisher, it’s an American movie company. I shouldn’t think that the Americans care very much about Scotland … it might matter to the diehard fans though.”
Franklin@MokongX3M tweeted that he thought the film was “awesome”, but added: “One thing I didn’t like about X-Men: First Class was Moira and Banshee not being Scottish or Irish, silly Hollywood.”
One fan wrote on their Mrs Meows Says blog site: “They made almost all the characters American – another strike against what makes X-Men so appealing. Mutants were sourced from all over the world.”
Peter Watson, a sales assistant at the Forbidden Planet book store in Glasgow, said: “It’s disappointing they have gone that way, but it’s understandable – the Scottish accent is not exactly the easiest to master, as Simon Pegg proved in Star Trek.”
Executives at the film company 20th Century Fox were unable to say if Rose Byrne had tried a Scottish accent or if it had always been intended to make the character American in the film.