Love Actually Was 'A Catastrophe' Says Richard Curtis

Ben Arnold

Director Richard Curtis has branded ‘Love Actually’, his 2003 rom-com, ‘a catastrophe’.

The star-laden movie, which Curtis wrote and directed - after writing ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and ‘Notting Hill’ - has often been maligned for its saccharine plot and performances, but it seems it wasn’t this factor which Curtis regrets.

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Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, he said: “The only nightmare scenario that I’ve been caught in was Love Actually, which worked at the read-through, and when we finished the film and I watched it edited, it was… a catastrophe.

“Because there were 12 stories, [finding the right order] was like three-dimensional chess. And that was enormously difficult to finish or get right.

“You could have played with it for all time – but it had to be out by Christmas.”

Curtis also had words to say about ‘Four Weddings’, notably how Hugh Grant really shouldn’t have been the film’s star.

“The absolutely key thing for that film when I was writing it was that the person who was playing the lead would not be good looking,” he added. “That was the absolute starting thesis of the film.

“So when finally we’d auditioned every single young person in the country and we were voting, me, Mike [Newell, the director] and Duncan [Kenworthy, producer], two people voted for Hugh – that was them. And I voted for someone else.”

Grant has recently confirmed that Curtis didn’t want him in the movie.

“I had to audition and in fact I was very much unwanted. Richard Curtis did everything in his power to stop me getting the part after the audition. I remember it was a very traumatic audition,” he told Graham Norton on Friday night.

“It was in the Jim Henson studio for some reason and in front of the writer, director, producer and 50 full size Muppets, which was unsettling. I read the speech I had made at my brother’s wedding, which I thought would charm them but I think it slightly sickened them.

“I think they wanted someone rather more middle of the road and thought I was too hoity-toity posh.

“But I got the part in the end because I don’t think they could find anyone else!”

Image credits: Working Title/Rex Features

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