We found 4 more things you don't know about Love Actually
Nearly two decades after its release, there’s not much that's gone untold about the much-discussed, much-litigated, quite beloved Christmastime rom-com Love Actually. However, in the spirit of the giving season, writer/director Richard Curtis hopped on a Zoom call with EW to share a few more facts about the R-rated holiday ensemble film that have actually so far gone unmentioned.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” helped Curtis finish the screenplay.
“I love Christmas songs, and am so grateful for them,” prefaces the filmmaker, explaining what Mariah Carey’s smash hit single, famously covered in the film’s climax, meant to him. “I was obsessed with that song, and whenever I was stuck with the movie, I just played that song.” Adds Curtis: “Every one of my movies has had a theme tune that I've had while I was writing it, which often doesn't make it into the movie. So Notting Hill, it was particularly a song called ‘Secret Heart’ by Ron Sexsmith and another song called ‘Downtown Train,’ the Tom Waits song.”
Mark and Juliet’s kiss was shot in one take.
Much has been made over the scene of Andrew Lincoln’s character using cue cards to declare his love for his best friend’s wife, played by Keira Knightley, but true Love Actually heads know the best part is right after, when she kisses him, and he poignantly ends the scene firmly stating, “Enough.” “We only had one take of that, because we ran out of time that day. Whenever I look back at my movies now, they're basically just very expensive diaries,” cracks Curtis. “It was like we promised we'd leave at 10 o’clock, and it was 10:20. So I think we literally did one take of that scene before we were thrown out by the police... It was because the cards had taken so long. That was the reason that we were in trouble.”
Sam’s backstory is even more tragic than you think.
The film specifies that Daniel (Liam Neeson) is the stepfather of Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), but what happened to Sam’s biological father? “Oh, I don't even know if I know the answer to that. Let's presume he's dead,” declares Curtis. “They're a very unlucky family, aren't they? First the dad dies then the mother dies. I think we better presume he's dead.”
Billy Mack’s platonic romance is based on a real-life friendship.
Aging rockstar Mack (Bill Nighy), who finds an intimate connection with his longtime manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), echoes Curtis’ relationship with one of the film’s stars. “That story is in a way based on my life with Rowan Atkinson,” Curtis says of the Mr. Bean actor, who plays a very thorough department-store clerk. The director recalls a chat with his script editor and partner Emma Freud, telling her “I'd spent more time with Rowan than I had with her in my life. Because it’s that weird thing, isn't it? That you look back at your life, and you think, Who did I actually spend my time with? And you spent more time with some ghastly colleague than you have with a child you love. Not that Rowan's ghastly!”