Love Actually was released in 2003
It might be now 19 years old, but every time Christmas rolls around, there’s something new we learn about Love Actually.
The 2003 festive rom-com is a mainstay in the public consciousness, especially come each December, which is also when the cast of the film usually end up being quizzed about it during various interviews.
As such, new facts about filming it keep on being revealed...
Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightley in Love Actually
In the film’s most famous – and divisive – scene, Mark (Andrew Lincoln) declares his love to Juliet (Keira), who is his best friend Peter’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) wife, after turning up at the couple’s house on Christmas Eve with a series of cue cards expressing his devotion to her.
Although fans have speculated about Juliet and Mark over the years, Keria has her own views on who Juliet is with now.
“No, I have not watched the film again. Yes, I know that I stay with my husband,” she told EW with a laugh.
Writer-director Richard Curtis revealed that she did stay with her husband in the 15-minute mini-sequel, Red Nose Day Actually, which aired as part of the 2017 Red Nose Day fundraising campaign.
Mark, meanwhile, is revealed to have married his longtime celebrity crush, Kate Moss.
This scene has proved divisive among fans in more recent years
The scene in which Mark confesses his love to Juliet has been much discussed in recent years, with many critics pointing out problematic aspects to it.
But Martine – who played Downing Street staff member Natalie – revealed she “doesn’t think it’s creepy at all”.
“I think people do crazy things when they are in love with people,” she told Digital Spy “He had his moment where he thought ‘enough now, I’ve told her how I feel, I love my friend too but I had to get it off my chest in the right way’.
“She’d already seen the video, and I think it was his way of making things explained and comfortable.”
Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon
Their hidden romance was unveiled when they were caught kissing backstage at the Christmas play and the curtain suddenly rose, to much applause from the audience.
The pair also reprised their roles for the Comic Relief short in 2017, which confirmed that David and Natalie were still very much together.
However, Hugh seemingly forgot the conclusion of their storyline.
Asked about the possibility of a Love Actually sequel in an interview with Digital Spy, he replied: “I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that... I can’t even remember what happens in the film.”
He explained: “It’s so long since I’ve seen it. You’d have to remind me [laughs]. How do I end up?”
Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant pictured in 2003 at the Love Actually movie premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square, London
During a recent cast reunion that aired in the US, Emma Thompson recalled the first time that she and Hugh watched the finished version.
Hugh’s response, according to Emma, wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy.
“Hugh came up behind me as we were walking out and said, ‘Is that the most psychotic thing we’ve ever been in?’” Emma remembered.
Hugh responded sheepishly: “Did I say that?”
Love Actually's famous airport scene
You’ll no doubt remember the tense scene towards the end of the film, in which schoolboy Sam runs through Heathrow Airport to declare his love for classmate Joanna.
Well, as a deleted scene has revealed the scene almost looked very different.
It turns out that Sam was originally supposed to be a promising gymnast, so as he navigated his way through the airport, he was supposed to put his skills to use, and do an incredible backflip over a barrier.
The stunt was even filmed but eventually abandoned.
6. Richard Curtis kept a big secret from a nervous Martine McCutcheon after she signed on for the film
Martine played Natalie in Love Actually
While the former EastEnders star admitted to having imposter syndrome appearing alongside a number of Hollywood stars, Richard originally hid the fact he’d written the part of Natalie especially for her.
“When I was writing the film, I was absolutely determined that Martine was going to play the woman that Hugh Grant fell in love with,” he said in a video to promote a Love Actually quiz in aid of Comic Relief.
“It was only when we were about to have the read-through, which was actually sort of going to be her audition, that I suddenly realised I had called the character Martine.
“So literally the day before, we did that sort of ‘change all’ thing on the computer. [We] changed everything to ‘Natalie’ suddenly, and then hoped it would be okay, because we didn’t want Martine to see the part was for her and then do so badly and be sad for the rest of her life.
“But she was absolutely perfect at the read-through, as we expected,” he added.
Martine's first scene to film was actually the last in the film
Her first scene was the one in which the whole cast filmed their various reunions at Heathrow Airport, with Martine tasked with jumping into the arms of Hugh’s character, prime minister David.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Martine explained that jumping into Hugh’s arms hadn’t proved as easy as it looked on screen.
She said: “It was one of the only times that everybody was together, if not the only time, and you realise that all these people are actually connected in some way without realising necessarily.
“It was just so special to look around and see everyone around us, Oscar winners, the talent on that set that day was unbelievable.
“But I was really nervous because I had to run and jump on Hugh, that was my first scene, and I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I’m going to kill him!’
“He was like ‘Come on, go for it’, and I was so nervous because I had never had to jump on anybody in a scene in my life and now as I do it, it’s with the heartthrob that is Hugh Grant, in front of everybody, in front of all these amazing actors, and what if I knock him out? What if I do something wrong?”
Bill Nighy played Billy Mack
The British actor played aging rocker Billy Mack, who in one of the film’s most memorable scenes. appears on a kid’s TV show fronted by a youthful Ant and Dec when he addresses the young viewers at home with an important message.
“Hiya kids, here’s an ‘important’ message from your uncle Bill,” he begins. ”Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star and they give you them for free.”
Well, it turns out Billy’s seriously dodgy advice has become so well known that he still gets reminded of it regularly by complete strangers in the most unexpected places.
“I was once going through immigration from Canada to America in the middle of the night, like 4am, and there was no one in the immigration hall except me and there was this guy and I went forward,” Bill recalled.
“And as I was going forward he said ‘hey, kids don’t buy drugs…’, this is the customs guy right… ‘don’t buy drugs, become a rockstar and people give you them for free. Am I right? Am I right?’ I was like, drugs? No, I don’t have any drugs. So it got me into America!”
Lulu Popplewell played Emma Thompson’s daughter Daisy in the 2003 movie.
Lulu Popplewell played Emma Thompson’s daughter Daisy, who most film fans will remember for her star turn as a lobster in the school nativity play.
Well, turns out she’s not a fan of the film as an adult.
While she said she “doesn’t regret” appearing in it, she told the Almost Famous podcast. “Look, softly be it spoken I think it’s a shit film.
“I think it’s aged badly. All the women in it are sort of passive objects. I think that there was an article describing them as passive objects to be acquired.
“On re-watching it’s not great. You also have to remember that [Richard Curtis] was writing in the context of the time.
“I mean, I don’t know how he excuses more recent work. But it was in 2003 or whenever it was out. But it is also not for me because I don’t like cheese. I’m glad people like it.”
Joanna Page and Martin Freeman
Speaking to NME at the Global Citizen Awards, when asked what he would change he said: “That’s a really difficult question“
He then added: “I think the naked people should be wearing more clothes.”
Richard is referring to the sex scene in which Gavin & Stacey star Joanna Page’s character is seen naked as her co-star Martin Freeman cups her breasts.
Hugh Grant hated having to dance in the film
The actor said how “excruciating” he found filming the scene in which he is seen dancing around to Jump (For My Love) by the Pointer Sisters, telling of how he would make up excuses so he did not have to rehearse it.
Speaking on a BBC Two documentary, Hugh Grant: A Life On Screen he said: “There was this dance written and I thought, ‘That’s going to be excruciating’ and it has the power to be the most excruciating scene ever committed to celluloid.
“I certainly dreaded filming it and Richard kept saying, ‘Don’t you think we’d better rehearse the dancing scene’ and I’d say, ‘Uh yes I’ve just gotta learn some lines…my ankle hurts today’. So it was never rehearsed.”
The scene in question sees Alan’s character, Harry, shopping at a department store with his wife. After splitting up to choose gifts, Harry heads for the jewellery counter. Except he’s not looking for a gift for his wife, but for another woman at work.
Rowan Atkinson plays the sales person who prepares Harry’s sneaky gift in a hilariously over-the-top – and prolonged – manner which sees him adding a gold ribbon, rose buds, lavender and a cinnamon stick.
Speaking on The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later, Richard Curtis revealed the prolonged wrapping process was improvised by the Mr. Bean star, to the point where it drove his co-star “insane”.
“Rowan was just taking his time,” Richard explained. “So, he would do 11-minute takes.
“[He’d say], ‘let’s go back and do that. Let’s start again.’ And poor Alan was there all the time, going, ‘Grr, ugh.’”
Emma in Love Actually
In one of the film’s most heartbreaking moments, Emma’s character realises her husband is having an affair after discovering the jewellery he has bought for another woman.
The actor revealed she nailed the scene because she had her heart “very badly broken” by her first husband Kenneth Branagh.
The couple married in 1989 after falling in love on the set of the BBC drama Fortunes Of War, but filed for divorce in 1995 after the director and actor was linked to his Frankenstein co-star Helena Bonham Carter.
“That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through”, Emma told the audience at a fundraiser for the Tricycle Theatre in North West London back in 2018.
“I had my heart very badly broken by Ken. So I knew what it was like to find the necklace that wasn’t meant for me.
“Well it wasn’t exactly that, but we’ve all been through it.”
Emma hasn't watched the film in recent years
During an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s US chat show in 2022, Emma was asked by the host if she ever watches the movie.
“No! It was 20 years ago,” Emma told him.
Jimmy then asked: “Isn’t it kind of fun to put it on and go, ‘Oh, I remember where we were when we were doing that?’”
“Not really,” she replied. “You just think… I don’t think I was very well paid for that and there was that terrible trailer with the loo that really stank, Emma recalled.
“These are the things that you remember,” she added.