Filming in London [pictures left] and France [pictures below] started September 2002
DIRECTOR: Richard Curtis
PRODUCER: Duncan Kenworthy for Working Title Films, Universal Pictures and Canal Plus
CAST: Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson, Martin Freeman, Keira Knightley, Lucia Muniz, Heike Makatsch et al.
STORYLINE: The film is set in contemporary London in the two months before Christmas. It is an ensemble piece featuring more than 80 actors, with several overlapping storylines running at once. The title, Love Actually, is short for Love Actually Is All Around, a jokey reference to the Reg Presley-written theme song from 1994's Four Weddings And A Funeral.
From Variety, 29 July 2002: As Britain's only billion-dollar screenwriter, and a legendarily persuasive fellow to boot, Richard Curtis was never going to have trouble casting whomever he wanted in his directorial debut, Love Actually, even though the number of leading roles stretches well into double figures. The previously announced Hugh Grant (as the British Prime Minister) and Emma Thompson (playing his sister) have now been joined by former soap starlet Martine McCutcheon (as the tea girl Grant's PM falls for), Alan Rickman (as Thompson's husband), Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, and, in a key cameo, Rowan Atkinson. Alongside those established players, there's also Keira Knightley (from "Bend It Like Beckham"), Andrew Lincoln (most recently in the C4 series "Teachers"), Chris Marshall (ITV's "Dr. Zhivago") and stand-up Martin Freeman.
From Weekend Australian, July 20, 2002: Firth's next project is Richard Curtis's Love Actually. Featuring a stellar cast including Grant, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson, it is a series of interwoven pieces examining that slippery emotion called love. Firth plays a man who discovers his girlfriend has been having an affair, and promptly flees to France, where he embarks on a relationship with a woman who doesn't speak English. "My piece is about two people falling in love who don't share a language," he explains. No doubt according to Firth's own convoluted philosophy, they will communicate all the better for it.
From Screendaily 19 March 2002: Working Title Films and National Lottery franchise DNA Films have teamed to produce leading UK writer Richard Curtis' directing debut, a romantic comedy in which Hugh Grant is to play a bachelor PM who falls in love on his first day in office with the girl who brings him his tea.
The film interweaves ten separate stories about Londoners looking for love in the run-up to Christmas, climaxing on Christmas Eve. Shooting is scheduled for the autumn. "I know Richard will make an excellent front-seat director!" said producer and DNA Films co-chief Duncan Kenworthy. "And with 20 leading roles in the film, it will be exciting to work with a really wide range of talented British actors." Having first teamed with Curtis on Four Weddings And A Funeral, Kenworthy went on to produce Curtis' Notting Hill, also with Hugh Grant, outside DNA. The franchise takes an in association credit on Love Actually, but is not investing in the production.
Working Title co-chiefs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are also producing, making this their sixth film with Curtis. Along with Notting Hill and Four Weddings, Working Title collaborated with Curtis on Bean, The Tall Guy and Bridget Jones's Diary. "We are excited about Richard channelling his comic brilliance into directing the same way he does into scripts," said Bevan. "Let's hope there's fun in store," added Curtis.
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