A wonderful Christmas-themed comedy movie that hit our cinema screens in 2003, Love Actually explores many aspects of love via ten stories with a big-name cast of largely British actors. Plenty of people love watching it every single Christmas time, so to get you in the festive spirit, below are 10 lovely, snuggly, warm and romantic facts about Richard Curtis’ classic rom-com.
10. It was partly inspired by Pulp Fiction
Love Actually’s writer and director Richard Curtis originally planned to write two separate movies, the ideas for which would eventually make up two of the ten shorter tales in Love Actually.
Curtis’ idea to create a single movie that would feature a number of interwoven stories was inspired by the movies of Robert Altman, as well as Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
9. It didn’t initially have any links with Christmas whatsoever
The movie did not initially have any Christmas theme whatsoever, but Richard Curtis’ love for the festive season eventually encouraged him to introduce such elements.
Curtis’ idea was to make what he described as “a film about love and what love sort of means.”
8. Two completed stories were cut from the finished movie
Love Actually has 10 distinct story threads, but Richard Curtis’ first draft of the script had even more going on with 14 storylines. Though two of these were cut before filming began, Curtis and co. actually shot the other two, but decided to leave them out of the final cut as they didn’t quite fit.
One of the cut stories centred on Anne Reid (the teacher who appears in the film) and Frances De La Tour as her terminally ill partner, whilst the other featured a couple in Kenya. These scenes would have greatly improved the film’s diversity, something which Curtis has expressed regret about.
7. The airport footage was filmed using hidden cameras
The shots showing people welcoming loved ones at Heathrow Airport was shot over a week using hidden cameras.
As soon as the crew saw a moment they wanted to use in the movie, they had to rush to catch up with the people in the shot, to ask them to sign a document allowing their footage to be used.
6. One scene was recycled from Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral, another movie written by Richard Curtis, originally featured a scene where Hugh Grant’s Charles flirts with a woman at a wedding, with hilarious consequences.
This scene was cut from the finished movie but was re-shot for Love Actually with Kris Mashall in the role.
5. Richard Curtis described the movie’s editing as “a catastrophe”
In a rush to get the movie completed in time for a Christmas 2003 release, the editing process was hurried along to the point where Richard Curtis described it as “a catastrophe.”
Curtis went on to reveal that it was “the only nightmare scenario that I’ve been caught in,” and described the time as being like playing “three-dimensional chess.”
4. It proved more popular with audiences than critics
Love Actually received mixed reviews in the US when it hit cinema screens in November 2003, and despite the UK’s critics treating it with a bit more positivity, it was audiences that have turned the movie into a Christmas classic.
Because the movie was a big box office success, making around $250 million on a budget of just $45 million. It was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
3. Newspapers compared it to Gordon Brown’s Labour government
When Tony Blair resigned as Prime Minister of the UK, Newspapers compared Gordon Brown’s Labour government to Richard Curtis’ romantic comedy movie.
This was because a perceived anti-American shift in Gordon Brown’s cabinet was referred to as “a Love Actually moment,” referring to the scene where Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister stands up to Billy Bob Thornton’s US President.
2. The soundtrack spent 348 weeks on the UK albums chart
The Love Actually soundtrack went to number one on the UK albums chart, and it went on to stay in the chart for a quite staggering 348 weeks. It also made the Top 40 of the US Billboard 200, and it went platinum in Australia.
The soundtrack contained a number of specially recorded songs, including Girls Aloud’s cover version of Jump by The Pointer Sisters, as well as Christmas Is All Around, the festive reworking of Love Is All Around by Billy Mack (aka Bill Nighy).
1. Many of the movie’s characters reunited for a ‘sequel’ in 2017
In 2017, 14 years after the original movie, we finally got a Love Actually sequel of sorts in the form of Red Nose Day Actually. Only 15 minutes long, the short film was again written and directed by Richard Curtis and, as the name suggests, it was made specifically air during charity telethon Comic Relief on Red Nose Day 2017.
Red Nose Day Actually reunited many key players from the original film – including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Martine McCutcheon, Thomas Sangster, Andrew Lincoln and Billy Nighy – and showed us what their characters were up to 14 years later.