Screenplay by Richard Curtis (director)
Studio: Universal (released Nov. 7)
Storyline: Love actually, is all around us, says Hugh Grant, who plays the newly elected British prime minister smitten with one of his staff. And so it is, budding, blooming or coming apart in the nine or so (depending on how you count) love stories intertwined in this romantic comedy set against the London Christmas season. Twenty-two main characters people the parallel stories, yet none ever speak the words “I love you.”
Biggest challenge: “Making it work at all is, I think, the answer. You should try to give the audience, after each scene, the next scene they most desire. If you see two people have a fight, then in the next scene you want to see the person walk away and break that person’s television. So it was rash to embark on an endeavor where you would necessarily keep people from that next scene.”
Breakthrough idea: “I wanted nine good beginnings and nine good endings with no dull stuff in between.”
Favorite Scene: “The thing that gives me most pleasure in the film is the real-life footage in the beginning and the end because you just can’t beat it. There’s real love and real joy in those people’s faces.”
Lines we love: A man in love with his best friend’s bride regales her with a series of placards that proclaim his love, one of which says, “My wasted heart will love you until you look like this.” This particular declaration is followed by a photo of a mummy.
Writer’s bio: After false starts as first a pop star and then an actor, Richard Curtis became a writer. From 1979 to 1989, Curtis created, with comedian and fellow Oxford alum Rowan Atkinson, some of the U.K.’s most popular TV comedies, including “Mr. Bean” and “Blackadder.” In 1979, Curtis broke into American film with the screenplay for “The Tall Guy.” He is best known for romantic comedies “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Notting Hill” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”