Emma Thompson Opens Up About 'Love Actually'

Universal Pictures

Every so often, I need a reminder of who my most favorite celebrities are in the whole world. And on Friday, this happened when Emma Thompson explained why she isn't doing the Love Actually sequel. True to form, queen that she is, Thompson managed to simultaneously warm and break my heart at the same time when giving her reason: the tragic and untimely death of Alan Rickman. Love Actually is pretty much the epitome of a star-studded movie, so when the list of cast members who are returning for the sequel was originally released, it might not have immediately leaped out at you that there were two high-profile names not included, and a whole portion of the plot not represented. That was the storyline of Thompson's character Karen, married to Rickman's Harry, who gets involved with his secretary Mia (played by Heike Makatsch) and heart-wrenchingly botches Christmas.

And while I'm sure we're all curious about what happens with these characters, and whether they found their way to a deep, respectful friendship like I imagine in my head, the devastating truth is that you can't catch up with Karen without catching up with Harry. Rickman's death is still far too fresh to do something like working it into the plot. As Thompson told Reuters,

"Richard [Curtis, the director] wrote to me and said, ‘Darling, I can’t write anything for you ’cause of Alan,’ and I said, ‘No, of course, of course you can’t.' It would be sad, too sad. It’s too soon. You know, it’s absolutely right."
Universal Pictures

I'm not surprised, since Thompson always acquits herself so wonderfully in interviews that it makes me fall a little bit more in love with her, but I'm really struck by the self-awareness and empathy evident in her words. She realizes that this is bigger than her, bigger than the movie, and bigger even than Rickman — the sequel is about a charity. She said,

"It’s absolutely right, it’s supposed to be for Comic Relief and there isn’t much comic relief in the loss of our dear friend really only just over a year ago. … We thought and thought but it just seemed wrong."

This is neither the time nor the place to tackle an issue like the death of a friend and colleague, and I'm so relieved that Richard Curtis didn't try to shoehorn it in, and that Thompson didn't insist on it. It feels like a very respectful way to treat the cast, the film, and the charity. My heart grew three sizes this day, while also weeping out big, sloppy heart-tears. Well done, all, this is a very confusing sensation for my body.