It’s been 16 years since Love Actually was released, and there are still fascinating details from behind-the-scenes that you probably never knew.
It’s been 16 years since Love Actually was released, and there are still fascinating details from behind-the-scenes that you probably never knew.

What you didn’t know about Love Actually

This Christmas marks 16 years since beloved rom-com Love Actually first hit screens.

Telling 12 intertwined stories of love and heartbreak, the film was a monster success, raking in almost a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office while also being a cherished cult phenomenon.

To honour 16 years of watching Love Actually, we've dug up some things you probably didn't know about the movie.

SHOCKINGLY TINY AGE GAP

There's still one piece of Love Actually trivia that has the power to shock people. Keira Knightley plays Juliet, a bride who finds herself trapped in the middle of a love triangle when her husband's best man confesses his feelings for her.

In another of the film's many subplots, Daniel (Liam Neeson) mourns the recent death of his wife as he tries to raise his young stepson Sam - played by future Game of Thrones star Thomas Brodie-Sangster - alone.

What would you guess the age gap is between Knightly - playing a fully grown, adult, about-to-be-married woman - and the cherubic little child star Brodie-Sangster?

Five years. FIVE YEARS. Knightley was 18 when the film was released, while Brodie-Sangster was 13.

Keira Knightley was only five years older than Sam.
Keira Knightley was only five years older than Sam.

ALAN RICKMAN'S CHARACTER DID HAVE AN AFFAIR

We all remember the heartbreaking moment after the school play when Emma Thompson confronted her unfaithful husband.

The words still ring in our ears as the tears roll down our cheeks: "Would you wait around to find out if it's just a necklace or if it's sex and a necklace or if, worst of all, it's a necklace and … Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse?"

Well, last year during a screening of the film, director Richard Curtis' wife Emma Freud, who wrote the script, answered the question we have all been asking: Was it just a necklace?

Unfortunately, not. When asked if the affair had actually happened she said: "Definitely had an affair. I begged Richard just to make it a flirtation, but no. The whole way."

Crying just thinking about it.
Crying just thinking about it.

HOW THOMPSON MADE THAT SCENE SO HEARTBREAKING

Thompson has revealed the real heartache behind the iconic scene where her character discovers her husband is cheating.

She sobs uncontrollably after opening her Christmas present and realises a necklace her husband had bought was actually for his mistress.

The 58-year-old said she managed to make the scene so convincing because she had felt the pain herself, The Sun reports.

Thompson and Kenneth Branagh, who were together for eight years, split after he ran off with Helena Bonham Carter.

Speaking at a fundraiser for the Tricycle Theatre in London, Thompson said: "That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it's something everyone's been through.

"I had my heart very badly broken by Ken. So I knew what it was like to find the necklace that wasn't meant for me.

"Well, it wasn't exactly that, but we've all been through it."

ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE FILM HAD 14 LOVE STORIES

Four of the originally written stories were cut, two of them before filming and another two ended up on the editing room floor.

The first was about an African couple who supported each other through famine, and the second was about a strict headmistress who nursed her lesbian partner through cancer.

Curtis revealed he cut a love scene from the 2003 film involving the older lesbian couple.

Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Love Actually.
Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Love Actually.

The tragic scene has resurfaced on the DVD's bonus material, with Curtis admitting he regrets scrapping the scene at the last minute as the point of the couple's storyline was to show that everyone had their own complicated love story to tell.

Talking about the deleted scenes, Curtis said: "The idea was meant to be you just casually met this very sort of stern headmistress and the idea was meant to be that later on in the film we suddenly fell in with the headmistress, and you realise that no matter how unlikely it seems, that any character you come across in life has their own complicated tale of love."

CURTIS HAD SPECIFIC ACTORS IN MIND

Curtis always destined Hugh Grant for the role of PM and Thompson to play his sister.

He also wrote Martine McCutcheon's role for her after spotting her years before on EastEnders.

The part that she plays was originally called Martine but Curtis changed the name to Natalie before McCutcheon auditioned so that she wouldn't know she would definitely get the job.

Claudia Schiffer was also never supposed to have a part - Curtis actually just wanted someone who looked like her. But unable to track down an appropriate doppelganger, he offered her the role instead.

He also snuck his own daughter in as one of the lobsters in the nativity play.

THE ONE SCENE HUGH HATED FILMING

It's one of the film's funniest scenes: Hugh Grant - as David, the Prime Minister - dances around his Downing Street home to The Pointer Sisters' Jump.

However, it was somewhat tarnished in 2016 when Curtis revealed Grant really hated filming the scene, claiming the actor was "hugely grumpy" and "kept on putting it off".

After presumably copping heat from fans, Grant later clarified exactly what his problem was - and it was all about the logistics.

"I kept saying to Richard, 'OK, look. I've got the radio on in my room, my bedroom. And I'm dancing, fine. But then I start to dance through the whole of 10 Downing Street. Where's the music coming from? And how does it cut off at the end?" he told PeopleTV.

According to Grant, Curtis brushed his concerns, telling him: "Oh, don't worry about all that. It's film world."

IT WAS MEANT TO BE TWO SEPARATE FILMS

The director once told Vulture that he was originally working on two films, one about Hugh Grant's character and the other about Colin Firth's character.

"I'd worked out whole films on those subjects and then I thought, 'Oh, I don't want to do these because they are just turning out to be a shape I know'," Curtis said.

Bill Nighy in Love Actually.
Bill Nighy in Love Actually.

IT STOLE A SCENE FROM FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL

The scene where Colin accidentally insults the caterer's food to her face while attempting to flirt was originally written for Grant's character in Four Weddings And A Funeral but was cut in the final stages of editing - so it was recycled.

THE LAKE COLIN FIRTH DIVED INTO WAS 45CM DEEP

The lake which Firth and his Portuguese love interest dive into to save his precious manuscript was very shallow.

In order to make their swimming convincing, the pair had to kneel down and bob about in the water.

Could have sworn he was about six here.
Could have sworn he was about six here.

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