21 Things You Didn't Know About 'Love Actually'

Love actually is all around. This is what we've learned from watching Love Actually every Christmas for the past ten years. We also learned that Laura Linney should have never answered that phone call, that American girls do indeed love British accents, and surprise orchestras playing Beatles cover songs are the perfect addition to any wedding. But despite these truisms, there are a handful of fun facts we never new about the holiday classic. Like what, exactly, makes Billy Bob Thornton squirm, and why does the name Bernard appear in all of director Richard Curtis' screenplays? The answer to these questions, and more little known tidbits below:

1. Billy Bob Thornton really hates antique furniture. So much so, that Love Actually co-star Hugh Grant would taunt Thornton with a piece of antique just before the director yelled "Action!" and watch him squirm in amusement.

2. In the film, David (Hugh Grant) is the big brother of Karen (Emma Thompson), but the actress is actually 17 months older than Grant.

3. Colin Firth's love interest in the film, Portuguese actress Lucia Moniz, was never supposed to be in the film. Her friend sent the movie's casting director her photos, and she ended up being chosen for the role.

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4. Love Actually was the most rented DVD in the UK in 2004. 

5. Director Richard Curtis and his team had a 45 minute debate to decide what color underwear Lucia's character should be wearing for the scene where she strips down and jumps in the lake. 

6. The very slender Emma Thompson had to wear a fat suit to make her appear heavier. 


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7.In the Milwaukee scene, Colin's character orders a Budweiser. Ironically, Milwaukee is the home to three of Budweiser's major competitors: Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz.

8. The "Lake" that Lucia Moniz and Colin Firth jump into was actually only 18 inches deep. When filming, they had to walk on their knees and pretend they were swimming in deeper water. Unfortunately for Firth, the water was covered with mosquitoes. The actor was badly bitten, and had to seek medical attention for his elbow, which swelled to the size of an avocado.

9. Kris Mashall handed back his paycheck for the day he got to have three American girls undress him for a scene. He said he had such a good time, he was willing to do it for free. Attaboy! 

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10. In the infamous scene where Andrew Lincoln's character holds up signs to tell Keira Knightley's character that he loves her, the signs were actually written by Lincoln. He told EW

"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."

11. While his character is hell bent on learning how to play the drums, actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster didn't know how to play. Luckily, his dad, Mark Sangster, plays the drums and showed his son the ropes.

12. The word "actually" is spoken twenty-two times in the film.


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13.When director Richard Curtis was in college, his girlfriend left him for a man named Bernard. As a literary form of revenge, Curtis writes an unpopular character named Bernard into each of his screenplays. In Love Actually, Bernard is Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman's "horrid son." 

14. In one scene, Colin accidentally insults the caterer's food to her face when he's attempting to flirt. This scene was originally written for Hugh Grant's role in Four Weddings and a Funeral, but was cut in the final edits.

15. Richard Curtis auditioned many actors for the part of Sarah, but kept saying he wanted someone "like Laura Linney." Eventually, the casting director snapped and said: "Oh for fuck's sake, get Laura Linney then." She auditioned, and as we know, the rest is romcom history.

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16. The airport footage at the Heathrow airport is real. A team of cameramen hung out at the airport for a week, and filmed real families, friends and lovers reuniting.

17. The young actress who played Joanna, Olivia Olson, actually sang "All I Want for Christmas is You" during the Christmas concert. But she had such a phenomenal voice, Curtis had to edit it in post-production to make her voice appear more child-like.  

18. A staple of holiday broadcast lineups, when ABC Family airs the film, the entire plot of John and Just Judy (the porn stars) is completely cut. But even with that cut, it still runs 3 hours with commercials. 

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19. Liam Neeson is seen several times with a toothpick hanging out of his mouth. This is because after he quit smoking, he was never without a toothpick to take its place.

20. Hugh Grant did not want to do that dancing scene. According to director Richard Curtis in an interview with The Daily Beast, he said: 

[Hugh] was HUGELY grumpy about it... The fault line was the dance, because there was no way he could do that in a prime ministerial manner. He kept on putting it off, and he didn’t like the song—it was originally a Jackson 5 song, but we couldn’t get it—so he was hugely unhappy about it. We didn’t shoot it until the final day and it went so well that when we edited it, it had gone too well, and he was singing along with the words. When you edit a dance sequence like that, it’s going to be a third of the length, and the bit he’s singing the words to isn’t going to be the bit of that moment, so it was incredibly hard to edit." 
21. Emma Thompson had a hard time filming the scene where she holds up two Barbie dolls for her daughter's friends Christmas presents. That's because the dolls weren't Barbie, but Ken dolls dressed in drag.

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Unless otherwise noted, all facts via IMDB.

Image: Universal

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