Kumail Nanjiani has a lot of love (actually) for director Richard Curtis. And it’s not because of that movie.
The Silicon Valley actor revealed Wednesday on Twitter that the Four Weddings and a Funeral filmmaker gifted him with four frames from his personal reel of the 1994 rom-com after Nanjiani gushed to Curtis recently about his deep affection for the movie.
In a series of posts, Nanjiani admitted he’s been a big fan of the Hugh Grant film since high school, elaborating on his connection to the story and the opportunity he got at February’s Writers’ Guild of America Awards to tell Curtis how much it means to him. Fearing he had “utterly & completely” embarrassed himself, he was pleased to later hear from Curtis’ partner Emma Freud how much the kind words meant to the director. But Nanjiani didn’t believe her … until Monday, the same day Nanjiani premiered his new movie The Big Sick, a film he co-wrote and stars in based on his own relationship and his wife’s illness, when he received the gift from Curtis.
Nanjiani recounted the entire story — itself worthy of a rom-com — on social media. “Thread. (WARNING: Sappy content.) [Anyone] who knows me knows how much I adore Four Weddings & a Funeral. I saw it first in high school,” he wrote. “Had a crush on a girl who wanted nothing to do with me & in my head I was Hugh Grant & she was off with another guy but she’d come around.”
He revealed that the film inspired him to go into stand-up comedy and that it had a major impact on The Big Sick and his own relationship with his wife and co-writer Emily V. Gordon. “I’ve seen it probably about 50 times since. It makes me laugh every time. It makes me cry every time,” he wrote. “I started stand-up cuz of Hugh Grant’s best man speech in the beginning. My first few comedy years is me doing my best Hugh Grant. The day that @emilyvgordon & I walked into City Hall to get married, we watched Four Weddings & a Funeral. I laughed & cried. When we got the chance to make our movie, The Big Sick, Four Weddings was a constant reference point. ‘Is she a Duckface?’ We also explicitly reference Four Weddings in the movie when I show Emily my high school Hugh Grant inspired hair. My constant thought was “If 1 person loves our movie as much as I love Four Weddings, this will be a raging success.’ It’s unlikely.”
Recounting his first encounter with Curtis at the WGA Awards, Nanjiani explained, “2 months ago, I’m presenting at the WGA Awards. Richard Curtis is there. I blab for too long, unscripted, about how much his work means. I utterly & completely embarrass myself. After, his partner @emmafreud, reaches out to me & says it meant a lot to him. I don’t believe her.”
The chance meeting led to a partnership on Red Nose Day, a charity Curtis and Freud help run and for which they produced and directed a Love Actually sequel. “They run a charity, Red Nose Day, & ask me to do a live video. I eat a spoonful of insane hot sauce & read my favorite Four [Weddings] quotes,” Nanjiani continued. “I end up jumping in a pool with my clothes on to cool off. I’m just trying to impress Richard Curtis. A week later, I see him at a concert. I just run up to him. He is incredibly kind & hilarious in person. He tells me a Hugh Grant story that just makes me love him even more.”
And apparently, the feelings are mutual, evident by the writer-director’s gift. “The premiere for our movie, The Big Sick, was 2 days ago. Just as we’re about to leave, I get a package. It’s from Richard Curtis,” he wrote, sharing an image of the gift. “This is what he sent me. He cut it 4 frames from his personal reel of Four Weddings. Of course, I recognize the scene instantly. It’s Hugh Grant having 2nd thoughts before the final wedding. I get to hold it in my hands. I have no words.”
Nanjiani ended with a heartfelt message about passing along the love and kindness he received from Curtis, writing, “So I guess I’m saying: be nice to someone who loves what you do. It’ll mean more to them than you can ever understand. Anyway, I’m gonna go watch Four Weddings & a Funeral now. I’m sure I’ll laugh, but I bet I’ll cry more this time. /END”