"I'm surprised that anyone's surprised that a writer would look back 10 or 20 years and say, 'We live in a very different world.'"
At Christmas, you tell the truth — and to Richard Curtis, the "stalker scene" from Love Actually is far from perfect.
The writer and director of the 2003 holiday rom-com didn’t initially think there were stalker-ish overtones to the iconic scene, which sees a character named Mark (Andrew Lincoln) use handwritten signs to silently declare his love to Juliet (Keira Knightley), who is married to his best friend (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Twenty years later, however, Curtis has mixed feelings about the scene.
"He actually turns up, to his best friend’s house, to say to his best friend's wife, on the off chance that she answers the door, 'I love you,'" Curtis said in a new interview with the Independent. "I think it's a bit weird."
Curtis, who has also penned rom-coms like Notting Hill and Four Weddings and Funeral, went on to recall the first time he learned of the scene's complex reputation. "I remember being taken by surprise about seven years ago," he said, "I was going to be interviewed by somebody and they said, 'Of course, we're mainly interested in the stalker scene,' and I said, 'What scene is that?.' And then I was, like, educated in it. All I can say is that a lot of intelligent people were involved in the film at the time, and we didn't think it was a stalker scene… but if it's interesting or funny for different reasons [now] then, you know, God bless our progressive world."
Earlier this year, Curtis expressed regret over a lack of diversity in his films, saying, "I think I was just stupid and wrong about that. I felt as though me, my casting director, my producers just didn't look outwards."
Curtis' more recent movies have had actors of color in leading roles. "Paapa [Essiedu]'s in [Genie], and Himesh [Patel] was in the film before [Yesterday], and you're just choosing now from a wider range of actors," Curtis told the Independent. "And I'm sure those actors were there, as it were, but they weren't on telly as much when I was young. So I do think that diversity, which should absolutely be part of the way that you think about life and the way that you portray people in movies, is one, important, and two, easier to do now."
Curtis' prior reckoning with his past work came at a public event hosted by his daughter, Scarlett Curtis, who called out some of the more dated aspects of his films. "I think she's right on almost everything she says, and I hope that she'll like [Genie] and that I'm making progress," the filmmaker said. "I'm surprised that anyone's surprised that a writer would look back 10 or 20 years and say, 'We live in a very different world.'"
Genie, a new Christmas comedy written by Curtis, is now streaming on Peacock.
Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.