Love Actually trivia: Why Rowan Atkinson's Rufus took so long to wrap that gift

Chris Longridge
·3-min read
Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

From Digital Spy

Christmas is coming! Which means Love Actually is coming – it's tradition, after all.

Time, then, to cast new(ish) light on a classic scene. (We did this with Home Alone already.)

Remember the bit where Alan Rickman's character Harry is buying a necklace in a department store while his wife, Karen (Emma Thompson), is nearby? He wants it paid for and hidden away before she comes back, but overzealous shop assistant Rowan Atkinson takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to wrap it. Festive LOLs.

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Watch Love Actually on NOW TV

Rowan Atkinson makes a huge meal out of wrapping the present because he's a total dick, right? Oblivious to Alan/Harry's distress, he isn't concerned with urgency, just determined to do his job the way he wants to do it, irrespective of what the customer wants.

But according to Richard Curtis' wife Emma Freud, the film's script editor, there's a good reason for his obstructiveness – other than that it's funny to watch Alan Rickman squirm – and she laid it all out a couple of years ago.

Cast your mind back to the scene. We think Alan/Harry is in a hurry because he doesn't want Emma/Karen to see her Christmas present before the big day, but we later realise it's actually because he's having an affair and doesn't want her to see him buy a present for his lover.

Sidebar: it's definitely a full-blown affair, by the way, not just a did-they-didn't-they. Take it from Emma:

Though having said that...

ANYWAY. Regardless of the extent of the affair, it turns out that in an earlier draft, Rowan's character was deliberately trying to prevent Alan/Harry from buying the gift:

Because he was an angel! Saving Alan/Harry from temptation!

Presumably Richard Curtis took this element out of the script because if Harry didn't actually buy the necklace, he wouldn't have had the affair and we wouldn't have got to see Emma Thompson sobbing with grief in the bedroom on Christmas Day.

Which would have been... a bad thing?

Love Actually is available to watch now on Sky Cinema and NOW TV.

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