December is the time of year we all come together to celebrate love, family and friendship. The giving and receiving of gifts, the making and eating of delicious meals, the myriad holiday traditions carried over from generation to generation… these are all hallmarks of this very special time of year. But no tradition is more emblematic of the holiday season than the annual deluge of articles by a bunch of film snob grinches explaining that your favorite Christmas rom-com, Love Actually, is actually terrible/problematic/ridiculous.*
This will not be one of those articles. Instead, I have something wonderful to share with you all! An anonymous party recently sent me several reels of footage cut from Love Actually that shed light on some of the more troubling plotlines of the film. I am not authorized to show the footage to anybody else, but I will share the most intriguing tidbits with you all as a special holiday treat:
Colin Firth’s character, Jamie, is not actually a crime novelist but a vampire hunter. Cut footage reveals that the “writer” alias was merely a front to allow him to keep odd hours and to explain away any strange behavior as just the quirks of an eccentric artist. The film was meant to serve as a setup for a sequel called “Blood Actually” in which Jamie and Aurelia would travel throughout Europe fighting the forces of darkness. Colin Firth pulled out during early contract negotiations and therefore the only vestige that remains of this key storyline is the shot above, in which Jamie puts a fuckload of garlic in his trunk.
Once the vampire plotline was nixed, director Richard Curtis felt that he needed to eliminate the other supernatural storyline originally planned: the fairy-tale element of the doomed romance between Laura Linney’s Sarah and Rodrigo Santoro’s Karl. See, as a young man Karl hit it and quit it with a lovely young lady who turned out to be an ancient witch in disguise. In retaliation for his disgusting “screw and adieu” maneuver, she put a curse on him wherein if he ever found himself in a sexy situation but did not complete the deed by midnight, his wang would turn into a sea cucumber FOREVER. Therefore when Sarah chose to take a call from her mentally ill brother (who has seemingly unlimited phone privileges) instead of boarding the bang train with him, Karl was rendered incapable of consummating their love.
The original cut of the film was deemed too cynical by test audiences, so the post-script in which it was revealed that Martine McCutcheon’s Natalie was not in fact in love with Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister, but was actually an investigative journalist writing an exposé on sexual harassment in the political world, was axed. In this delightful epilogue, both the Prime Minister and the President’s careers were effectively ended by her article and she went on to become a world-famous journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner.
The Wisconsin orgy was actually a dream Colin had on the flight over and he spent his vacation striking out at every bar in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Harriet was a struggling actress he hired to save face with his buddy when he returned to England. Male members of the test audience found this reveal to be too heartbreaking and it was removed to placate them.
Alan Rickman’s affair was far more complicated than it appears in the final cut of the film. Harry (Rickman’s awful character) thought that Mia wanted him for his rugged good looks and sexy voice, but she was actually a spy on the run from German mobsters who had pursued her from her homeland after she was burned during an undercover mission. They eventually caught up to her and only agreed to let her live if she carried out a revenge mission for them: breaking up the marriage of their sworn enemy Karen (as played by Emma Thompson). Prior to her marriage Karen was a member of MI6 who was instrumental in the takedown of certain German smuggling operations. Sadly Mia’s fascinating backstory was deemed out of step with the romantic tone of the movie and Curtis opted to portray her instead as an inexplicably horny sociopath. Even more sadly, this forced them to cut the uplifting ending in which Karen and Mia reveal their spy identities to one another and fall in love and start their own super spy agency (using an insurance company as a front). It’s rumored that after Blood Actually fell through, Curtis intended to turn this story into a standalone sequel (Love Actuarily) but the lesbian content was deemed too risky for audiences in 2003.
Similarly, the ending of the Billy Mack plotline (in which Billy and his manager Joe make sweet and tender love to one another) did not delight bigoted test audiences and a “no homo” version was reshot in its place.
The elimination of these storylines left a bit of a hole in the film, which Curtis filled with the Martin Freeman/Joanna Page nude stand-ins plotline, because when in doubt, put some boobs on screen, am I right? Speaking of which though, and as a concluding point to this post, what in the fuck sexual position are they supposed to be imitating here?
Kudos to Martin Freeman because that’s exactly the face I would make if a lady was sitting with her junk on my abdomen and her legs in a position from which I could only assume she was planning to thigh-choke me.
Sadly the world will never see Love Actually as it was originally intended, but we can all still enjoy its watered down dregs!
*Full disclosure, I love reading these articles despite loving Love Actually unreservedly.
Pictures via movie-screencaps.com