^ OG article
This was one of many fun pieces I wrote during my year of interning one day a week with Marie Claire Australia- It was so much fun and so interesting being a part of the digital team and writing stories that aren’t really examples of hard hitting journalism but fun to write nevertheless!
It’s December: which means it’s time to pull out the Christmas gear, the shopping lists, brace yourself for a messy Christmas office party and of course have your annual Love Actually, viewing session.
From Hugh Grant’s reluctance in THAT dance scene, to Billy Bob Thorton’s facial hair phobia, here are 9 things you didn’t know about the beloved Christmas movie.
1. The Cast was meant to be completely British.
Director Richard Curtis apparently intended the whole cast to be British but changed his mind during casting. Laura Linney told The Daily Beast in 2013: “I got a letter in the mail from Richard Curtis saying that he’d been trying to cast this part, and he’d kept saying to his partner, Emma Freud, that he’d been looking for a ‘Laura Linney type,’ and she said, “Why don’t you ask Laura Linney?” My part was originally written for another Brit, but he asked me to do it, and I was so excited to be asked.”
3. Billy Bob Thorton’s phobia of past US president Benjamin Disraeli’s facial hair affected filming.
In an Elle Interview in 2003, Director Richard Curtis said “[He told us,] ‘The strangest phobia I’ve got is I’m disturbed by photographs of Benjamin Disraeli. Specifically his facial hair.’ It was really unfortunate for him that this would be the only time in his life that there is a photograph of Disraeli on the stairs in a major film he’s going to do [at the prime minister’s home]. We just had to walk him past the photograph. [He said] ‘I’ll just turn away at that moment and I’ll be fine.’
3. Hugh Grant wasn’t a fan of the best scene in the film aka. the dance scene.
Hugh Grant, playing the character of the British Prime Minister, refused to rehearse his charmingly goofy dance scene that infiltrated the hearts of audiences and was “hugely grumpy about it,” according to Director Curtis. Grant wanted to approach the role of Prime Minister in a more serious light and was not happy with the song choice: originally a Jackson 5 song before rights were refused.
4. Emma Thompson wore a fat suit and improvised that heartbreaking crying scene.
“I knew just how to play that part [of a wife who has stumbled across evidence of what might be her husband’s infidelity], I’ve had so much bloody practice at crying in a bedroom and then having to go out and be cheerful, gathering up the pieces of my heart and putting them in a drawer.”
5. The Director’s kids were in the movie.
Richard Curtis, the director and Emma Freud, his wife and screen writer watched the film for the first time since the premier last year, with Emma live tweeting the affair and providing glorious new insights into the classic.
6. She was also the “kissing consultant,” and designed the kiss between Colin Firth and Lucia Moniz.
7. Andrew Lincoln’s giant cards scene was based on Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues,’ video and he wrote them himself because he thought he had good handwriting.
The Director also wrote 5 versions of the scene and then enacted them on female crew members to make sure it wasn’t too cheesy. Perhaps It was. But adorable nevertheless!
8. Actual Claudia Schiffer was cast instead of ‘someone who looks like Claudia Schiffer.’
Liam Neeson’s character has a crush on Claudia Schiffer in the movie and was meant to meet a potential love interest who looks like her… No such actress surfaced so Richard Curtis cast the real Claudia Schiffer.
9. Colin Firth and Lucia Moniz had to pretend to swim in 18 inches of water.
The lake in the movie was actually more a puddle in terms of depth and was also infested with mosquitos, which led to Colin Firth requiring medical attention with an avocado sized elbow.