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It was Molina's turn as the tempestuous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera in "Frida" that brought him to the attention of "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi.
"I expected him to have a Spanish accent. I was completely bowled over when I found out he was a Brit," Raimi confessed. "I only later realized I had seen him in many other pictures, but he's such a chameleon I didn't know it."
Molina shed his London accent for the role, playing the ill-fated scientist as an American.
"My feeling was that if we gave him a British accent, it's a bit like giving it away right from the start," Molina said. "It's a bit like carrying a great big sign that goes 'Movie Villain' and underneath that, 'Alan Rickman wasn't free.' "