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Love Actually (2003) Poster

(2003)

Trivia

The airport greeting footage at the beginning and end of this movie is real. Writer and director Richard Curtis had a team of cameramen film at Heathrow airport for a week, and whenever they saw something that would fit in they asked the people involved for permission to use the footage.
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Jump to: Cameo (2)  | Director Cameo (1)  | Spoilers (2)
When casting the part of Sarah, writer and director Richard Curtis auditioned a great many British girls, but kept saying, "I want someone like Laura Linney." The casting director eventually snapped and said, "Oh, for fuck's sake, get Laura Linney then." Linney then auditioned and got the part.
Kris Marshall returned his paycheck for the scene where the three American girls undress him. He said he had such a great time having three girls undress him for twenty-one takes that he was willing to do it for free, and thus returned his check for that.
The lake in which Lúcia Moniz and Colin Firth are "swimming" was actually only eighteen inches deep and they had to kneel down and pretend to be in deeper water. It was also over-run by mosquitoes, and Colin Firth was badly bitten, and his elbow swelled up to the size of an avocado, requiring medical attention.
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A speech given by Hugh Grant in this movie (where he extols the virtues of Great Britain and refuses to cave to the pressure of its longstanding ally, the United States) was etched in the transatlantic memory as a satirical, wishful statement on the concurrent relationship with George W. Bush. Tony Blair responded by saying in 2005, "I know there's a bit of us that would like me to do a Hugh Grant in Love Actually (2003) and tell America where to get off. But the difference between a good film and real life is that in real life there's the next day, the next year, the next lifetime to contemplate the ruinous consequences of easy applause."
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Laura Linney said she wished that her character didn't pick up the phone while Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) was in her apartment.
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The idea for Mark's (Andrew Lincoln's) surprise of the band singing "All You Need Is Love" at Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliet's (Keira Knightley's) wedding came from Jim Henson's funeral (which writer and director Richard Curtis attended) where all of the puppeteers brought their Muppets and sang a song.
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The credits at the end of this movie incorrectly list Tessa Niles as the performer in the Christmas concert scene. Joanna, Sam's crush, does all of her own singing in "All I Want for Christmas is You" at the Christmas concert. She had such an amazing voice that writer and director Richard Curtis had it edited so it sounded more like a child singing.
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Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) and his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher) are the only characters in this movie whose storyline doesn't directly connect to any of the others. All of the other main characters are linked via family, friendship, or work.
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Knowing about Billy Bob Thornton's quite unusual fear of antique furniture, Hugh Grant would sometimes flash a piece of antique (which is abundant in England) in front of Thornton just before the cameras rolled, and watch him freak out in amusement.
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Lúcia Moniz (Aurelia) got the part as a result of a joke by a friend of hers, who is a casting director, and sent her photos to this movie's casting director. Lúcia went to the casting and ended up being chosen.
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Thomas Brodie-Sangster didn't know how to play the drums when he was cast. Fortunately for him, his father, Mark Sangster, plays the drums and taught Thomas how to play them.
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According to writer and director Richard Curtis, they had to put Dame Emma Thompson in a "fat suit" to make her appear heavier because she is actually a thin woman.
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Rufus - Jewellery Salesman (Rowan Atkinson) was initially supposed to be an angel, and disappeared as he walked away from Daniel (Liam Neeson) in the airport scene.
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Andrew Lincoln (Mark) wrote the romantic cards. In 2013, Andrew reminisced about his climactic gesture in this movie with Entertainment Weekly, and revealed, "It is my handwriting. It's funny, because the art department did it, and then I said, 'Well, can I do it?' because I like to think that my handwriting is really good. Actually, it ended up with me having to sort of trace over the art department's, so it is my handwriting, but with a sort of pencil stencil underneath."
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Despite their differences in looks, Keira Knightley (Juliet) is only five years older than Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Sam) in real life.
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The scene where Colin (Kris Marshall) accidentally insults the caterer's food to her face was originally written as a scene for Hugh Grant's character in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), but was cut from that movie.
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Hugh Grant hated the dancing scene, because he didn't think a Prime Minister would do something like that.
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Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who was thirteen years old when he played Sam in this movie, was cast as a thirteen-year-old again eight years later. Brodie-Sangster started playing the young teen Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones (2011) in 2013, when he was twenty-three.
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When Daniel says "We need Kate and we need Leo and we need them now", a toothpick can be seen in Daniel's left hand as he says "now". Later, Sam has a toothpick in his mouth while he and Daniel are lounging on a couch. What Richard Curtis describes as "this toothpick business" was a result of Liam Neeson never being without a toothpick after he gave up smoking.
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Andrew Lincoln was initially unsure about his character, as he thought the scene with handwritten signs was "borderline stalker territory".
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In the version edited and broadcast in the U.S. on the ABC Family Channel, the entire subplot of John and Just Judy (the characters in the ersatz "porn" movie) was completely edited out, and, even with those and other cuts, this movie ran three hours with commercials.
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Writer and director Richard Curtis was originally working on two movies, one about Prime Minister David (Hugh Grant), and the other about Jamie (Colin Firth). When the plots turned out to be so similar, he merged them into a single movie.
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10 Downing Street in this movie is not, of course, the actual Prime Minister's residence, but a replica. The exterior was created in the Shepperton Studios car park and the interior is a set. In preparation for this movie, Richard Curtis and production designer Jim Clay were escorted on a two-hour tour of the actual Number 10 by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown (Prime Minister June 2007 to May 2010). They were not permitted to take photographs or make sketches of the interiors, and throughout the entire tour they were flanked by security. The "Number 10" that appears in the movie was designed by Clay, solely from memory.
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Writer and director Richard Curtis, and other members of the production, had a forty-five minute meeting to determine what color underwear Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz) would wear for the lake scene.
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In a 2017 interview published in Empire Magazine, writer and director Richard Curtis recounts that Universal Pictures chairman Stacey Snider told him that this movie would make $50 million less at the box office if he kept all of the nude scenes in. But Curtis felt that as a teenager, he only went to the movies to see some nudity, and he didn't want to let his younger self down.
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Laura Linney filmed this movie in London, England, while she was working on Mystic River (2003) in Boston, Massachusetts. She flew across the Atlantic Ocean several times within few months, in order to complete her work on both movies.
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This was the most rented DVD in the U.K. in 2004.
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For her one-minute cameo, Claudia Schiffer received a reported £200,000 (roughly $300,000 U.S.).
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Thomas Brodie-Sangster is the second cousin once removed of Hugh Grant.
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With the exception of Sam's running through the airport scenes, and the footage of people greeting each other, all airport scenes were filmed on a built set, which cost most of the budget for the movie. Some of these scenes include Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall) leaving for, and arriving in Wisconsin, and Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) shouting at Joanna Anderson (Olivia Olson) through the glass, and all footage of the actors and actresses at the airport.
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The dolls that Dame Emma Thompson holds up are Ken dolls dressed in drag. Richard Curtis just asked the prop people to take Ken and put him in dresses. Thompson had such a difficult time with the scene, saying she just could not lift the dolls knowing that they were Ken in drag, but in the end she gave in and shot the scene.
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When Juliet (Keira Knightley) visits Mark (Andrew Lincoln) in his flat to view the footage he shot on her wedding day, a video copy of Sir Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) can be seen. One of the main themes in Rear Window (1954) is voyeurism or watching something or someone, and as we see that is exactly what Mark was doing to Juliet without her knowledge.
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On the DVD audio commentary, Richard Curtis said that the Mark's (Andrew Lincoln's) homemade video montage showing only close-ups of Juliet (Keira Knightley) from her wedding day was inspired by the end of the movie, Cinema Paradiso (1988), where the main character made a montage of all of the kissing scenes that had previously been censored out from all of the movies that were shown in the Cinema Paradiso.
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The video for Billy Mack's (Bill Nighy's) "Christmas is All Around" single is a reference to a series of memorable, and very popular, videos that Robert Palmer had done - "Addicted to Love", "Simply Irresistible", and "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" - in which Palmer sang in a good suit, backed up by an all-female band, all dressed alike, and dancing in a back-and-forth manner.
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The filmmakers stated that Colin picks Milwaukee, a relatively small city in the more sparsely populated Midwest part of the United States, instead of somewhere more common like New York or California, because to foreigners, places like Milwaukee are seen as more "exotic" and to someone like Colin, who has a more offbeat way of looking at things, it would fit his persona to choose somewhere like Milwaukee.
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Andrew Lincoln has stated in interviews that looking back, his character Mark is creepy and inappropriate in his behavior, and that he wished they would have rewritten his scenes to make him appear more reasonable and normal about his feelings for Juliet.
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Olivia Olson (Joanna Anderson) went on to play another love interest of Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Sam) on the television show Phineas and Ferb (2007), where Brodie-Sangster was the voice of Ferb and Olson was the voice of Vanessa.
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Billy Bob Thornton accepted his part in the film without even reading the script, he was so flattered by the accompanying letter asking him to be part of the ensemble.
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In 2017, a handful of the main cast members re-united for a one off special for Comic Relief. Aired on the BBC in March 2017. The sketch lasted ten minutes and followed-up on some of the cast members and their lives in 2017. One highlight was Hugh Grant dancing to Drake's Hotline Bling.
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Directorial debut of Richard Curtis.
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Originally, this movie had some small scenes that showed Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) as being a brilliant gymnast. The ending where he rushes through the airport to see Joanna would involve a long chase where he dodges objects and people through a series of jumps and gymnastic moves. All allusions to Sam's physical talent were eventually removed, and the special effects-heavy end scene was cut back to what is seen in the movie.
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The word "actually" is spoken twenty-two times by various characters throughout this movie.
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In the scene after Sarah leaves Harry's office following their conversation about her feelings for co-worker Karl, two clocks can be seen on the wall, showing the time in New York City and Brazil. Laura Linney (Sarah) is from New York City, and Rodrigo Santoro (Karl) is from Brazil.
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The vicar used for Peter and Juliet's wedding was a real vicar.
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In the scene where Juliet watches the wedding video for the first time, Keira Knightley had to wear a hat to cover a massive spot that had blossomed on her forehead the night prior to filming.
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Richard Curtis wanted Michael Parkinson to appear as a talk show host, and Michael accepted without hesitation.
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When Prime Minister David (Hugh Grant) addresses his speech to the press, after the meeting with the President of the United States (Billy Bob Thornton), he talks about the great things about Britain and candidly mentions "Harry Potter". Grant was set to appear as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), but left that movie due to scheduling conflicts. Harry Potter co-stars Dame Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, and Frances de la Tour appeared in this movie, although the latter is seen only in deleted scenes.
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All four leading stars of Sense and Sensibility (1995), technically appeared in this movie, with Hugh Grant, Dame Emma Thompson, and Alan Rickman playing leading roles, and Kate Winslet appearing in stock footage of Titanic (1997).
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Jack and Judy's job was a source of confusion for many viewers. The characters were lighting doubles for a film shoot, so their job is to place themselves in the positions that the film's stars will later be in so that the lighting and camera crews can arrange the lights and focus the cameras for specific scenes without bothering the actual stars for the hours it can take to prepare to shoot a scene. Lighting doubles, unlike body doubles, or stunt doubles, do not appear in the actual film, but they do need to have the same coloring and basic size as the actor for whom they are doubling, hence Jack's comment about doubling for Brad Pitt--even though their faces do not look much alike, Martin Freeman and Pitt have similar hair and skin tones.
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For Brazilian movie posters, and VHS/DVD/Blu-ray covers, the image of Bill Nighy was replaced with one of Rodrigo Santoro.
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The property surrounding the house, in which Jamie (Colin Firth) stays in France, including the dock that was specially built for this movie, were heavily damaged by fire during the 2003 heat wave, but the house survived.
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Mia (Heike Makatsch) was originally going to be the girl that cheated on Jamie (Colin Firth) before Sienna Guillory was cast as his unnamed girlfriend.
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The school used for the Nativity concert at the end of this movie is Elliott School, Putney, South West London, England, and is where Pierce Brosnan went to school until he was fifteen.
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The Diane Warren penned track "Too Lost in You", performed by Sugababes, appeared in the U.K. version, but was replaced by Kelly Clarkson's "The Trouble With Love" in the U.S. release. Writer and director Richard Curtis felt bad for the members of the British band, Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Heidi Range, as they missed out on exposure in USA. To make up for it, he later placed them on the soundtrack for his movie About Time (2013). Heidi Range went on to name her daughter Aurelia, after the character in this movie.
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For the role of her lovelorn character Karen, Emma Thompson has said that she drew on the immense heartbreak she experienced over former husband Kenneth Branagh's affair with Helena Bonham Carter with whom he had co-starred, and directed in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994). This extramarital affair ultimately led to their divorce in 1995. Curiously, Thompson and Bonham Carter had first co-starred as sisters in Howards End (1992).
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In Daniel's eulogy, he says that one of his wife's joking requests was to "bring Claudia Schiffer as my date to the funeral." Claudia Schiffer played the mother of one of Sam's classmates, whom Daniel meets, and develops an interest in, near the end of this movie.
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The character Natalie was originally called Martine. It was changed to Natalie before Martine McCutcheon auditioned.
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One of the working titles was "Love Actually is All Around" taken from The Troggs' song "Love is All Around", written by Troggs lead singer Reg Presley. An alternate version by Wet Wet Wet, featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), was at number one on the U.K. charts for fifteen weeks in 1994, and Richard Curtis thought it would be amusing to start this movie with the same song that had driven everyone to distraction nine years earlier. For this movie, it was re-worked by Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), who turns it into a Christmas song. "Christmas is All Around", the resulting tacky joke theme song, was released in Britain in hopes that it would be "Number 1 for Christmas 2003".
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Hugh Grant and Colin Firth were born one day apart. Grant on September 9, 1960 and Firth on September 10, 1960.
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Although Karen refers to David as her big brother, Dame Emma Thompson is one year older than Hugh Grant.
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In the scene in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a Budweiser is ordered, even though Milwaukee was the home to three of its major competitors: Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz.
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When deciding to cast the part of Prime Minister David, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Michael Gambon, and Michael Crawford were possible candidates. But all three had been unavailable at the time of filming (Hopkins was working on The Human Stain (2003), Gambon on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Crawford had returned to Broadway to star in the American version of "Dance of the Vampires").
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An additional plot that was dropped in editing concerned the children's headmistress (Anne Reid) and her dying lesbian partner (Frances de la Tour).
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The art gallery where Mark works was based on a real Southbank gallery called "La Guff". It specialized in arty, but rubbish black-and-white pictures of butts - some of which can be seen in this movie.
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Early in the casting process, Richard Curtis expressed interest in casting an actual rock star for the role of Billy Mack, and considered David Bowie, Sting, Mick Jagger and Peter Gabriel for the role, but producers thought an actual rock star would make major demands to the script and music choices, so they convinced Curtis to cast an actor instead.
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Initially, the scene with Colin returning to London Heathrow, he was to wear Green Bay Packers gear. However, the filmmakers were unable to secure permission from the National Football League, so this idea was dropped.
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Simon Pegg was considered for the role of Rufus.
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For German movie posters, and VHS/DVD/Blu-ray covers, the image of Martine McCutcheon was replaced with one of Heike Makatsch.
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A line from this movie was quoted by King Harald V of Norway in a speech made during a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in February 2018.
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Lynden David Hall appeared singing "All You Need Is Love" in the church.
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Dame Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant played brother and sister in this movie. They previously played lovers in Sense and Sensibility (1995).
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Most of Edward Hardwicke's role was removed from the final print.
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Of the five "American dream girls" in this movie, only three were born in the U.S. Ivana Milicevic was born in Bosnia and later moved to the U.S., and Elisha Cuthbert is Canadian.
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In the movie, the opening montage was real footage of passengers meeting their loved ones at the airport, shot with hidden cameras. Richard Curtis said that when something special was caught on camera, they would rush up to people and ask for their permission to use it in the movie.
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Joe Alwyn auditioned for the role of Sam, but lost out to Thomas Brodie-Sangster. It took him another thirteen years to land his first role in a movie.
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The cast includes three Oscar winners: Colin Firth, Dame Emma Thompson, and Billy Bob Thornton; and four Oscar nominees: Liam Neeson, Kiera Knightly, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Laura Linney.
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In the Czech Republic, this movie went by the name "Heavenly Love" (a saying expressing "The greatest love possible").
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Daniel (Liam Neeson) is a widower trying to get over the death of his wife. Neeson became a widower six years later after his wife, Natasha Richardson, died in a skiing accident.
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(At around twenty-seven minutes) Daniel owns a huge "Launderette" sign. Annie returns to Lisbon. (At around one hour and twenty minutes) Tony is shown living upstairs from a launderette with the identical "Launderette" sign, and a delicatessen called "Lisboa".
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The song "Christmas is All Around" is a reference to "Love is All Around", the song from Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), which also starred Hugh Grant.
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Gregor Fisher landed the role of Joe at the insistence of Emma Freud, Richard Curtis' wife. Apparently, after seeing with her kids, Gregor perform in the 2000 remake of 'The Railway Children', Emma liked him so much, she insisted that Richard cast him as Joe, and Richard, according to Gregor Fisher, ''did as he was told!''.
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Hugh Grant and Colin Firth appeared in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), but only Firth appeared in Bridget Jones's Baby (2016).
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In Russian-language markets, this movie's title is "Realnaya lyubov" ("Real Love").
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In 2020, Dua Lipa and Jimmy Fallon performed a cover of "Christmas Is All Around Me" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014).
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Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Colin Firth, and Dame Emma Thompson appeared in Nanny McPhee (2005).
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Laura Linney and Liam Neeson appeared in Kinsey (2004), The Big C (2010), and The Other Man (2008).
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Karen (Dame Emma Thompson) and Harry (Alan Rickman) have a son call Bernard. In real life, this was the name of Alan Rickman's father, who died when he was just eight years old.
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The last seconds of the movie, the screen is filled with more and more scenes, each smaller and smaller, of people reuniting with loved ones. In the last split second, they form a big "heart" (or "valentine").
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Whenever Sarah (Laura Linney) talks to her brother on the phone (three different times), she says, "Fire away."
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Karen expresses surprise at the inclusion of (at least) two lobsters amongst the characters in her daughter's school Christmas nativity ("there was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?"). Although there is a variety of small lobster (Palinurus elephas, also known as the common spiny lobster) native to the Mediterranean Sea, its habitat doesn't stretch as far east as the land that is now known as Israel. Furthermore, since Jesus' family was Jewish, and shellfish such as lobster is forbidden to devout Jews, who observe the rules for keeping Kosher, Karen is correct that it is highly unlikely that there was any lobster present at Jesus' birth.
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One of the carpenters is called Paul Carpenter.
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Christopher Parker was offered a featured role but chose a stint on British soap opera EastEnders (1985) instead.
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Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson later star together in Men In Black: International (2019)
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Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman worked together in Fargo first season
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Olivia Olson's debut.
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Hugh Grant's character, David, is the Prime Minister of England, and, like his earlier predecessor Margaret Thatcher, he would also have the title of The Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party of the United Kingdom, or the chief executive of the Conservative Party.
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Kate Ashfield was considered for the role of Sarah.
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Emma Thompson's 1st Christmas movie. Her next Christmas movie was Last Christmas (2019).
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(At around thirty-one minutes) A painting of Sir Winston Churchill shows up in the background.
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The music video of Billy Mack's "Christmas is all around" is based on Robert Palmer's "Addicted to love" video.
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Joanna Page and Julia Davis both starred on Gavin and Stacey (2007) as well as this.
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Cameo 

Rebecca Frayn: Daniel's dead wife, Joanna, in a slideshow during the funeral scene.
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Jo Whiley, Wes Butters: Jo Whiley and Wes Butters appeared as cameo voices in the movie as disc jockeys, who were on Radio 1 at the time. Emma Freud worked as a Screenwriter for this movie, and was also a Radio 1 DJ in 1994.
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Director Cameo 

Richard Curtis: As a trombone player.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

For many years after this movie's release, viewers have argued about whether Harry (Alan Rickman) actually cheated on his wife, Karen (Dame Emma Thompson), with his co-worker Mia (Heike Makatsch). In December 2015, Emma Freud (who was the movie's script editor, and is the life partner of writer and director Richard Curtis) confirmed on her Twitter account that it was indeed a full-fledged sexual affair, and not just an inappropriate, but non-physical flirtation, as some viewers assumed it was. Freud also confirmed that Karen and Harry stayed married after Karen discovered the affair, "but home isn't as happy as it once was."
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A deleted scene explained that Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is friends with Mia (Heike Makatsch), and it is his gallery (with all of the nude art) that she rents from him to organize her company's Christmas party. In the scene, she announces her plans to start an affair with her married boss, Harry (Alan Rickman). When Mark discourages this, she suggests starting an affair with him, which he politely rejects. The only remnant of this character connection that remains in this movie is during the party, when Harry asks Mia if Mark is her boyfriend before taking her to dance.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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