'Love Actually' Was Meant To Be Longer Before These Stories Were Cut (2024)

The Big Picture

  • Love Actually originally had two storylines that were cut, including a scene in Kenya and a same-sex romance.
  • The African storyline in Love Actually portrayed a simplistic view of Africa and perpetuated stereotypes about hardship, which could have been avoided by showing diversity within the UK.
  • While the inclusion of a same-sex romance would have increased the film's diversity, it also fell into the trope of tragic endings for LGBTQ+ characters, highlighting the need for better representation.

Children experiencing all-consuming love for the first time, couples on the verge of divorce due to poor decisions, unexpected romances blossoming at the highest ranks of power, washed-up rock stars finding out what truly matters thanks to the magic of ChristmasRichard Curtis’ instantly classic holiday movie Love Actually has got it all. Well, almost. Though some the beloved 2003 movie is filled to the brim with stories about love in many different shapes and forms, not all of them made the final cut. Some were left in the cutting room floor alongside botched up takes and unnecessary scenes.

That is, of course, far from being surprising. Most movies, if not all of them, leave additional parts behind in the editing room, and sometimes those trimmed parts are entire plotlines that are deemed too much for the final product. But, when it comes to Love Actually, considering how many stories the film actually features, it can be kind of surprising to learn that there were some that had to be left behind. And it all becomes even more surprising when we learn which are those stories that didn’t make it. They were, after all, stories that would’ve changed the entire movie, and, consequently, the way we look at it today.

Though perhaps calling them stories is a bit of an exaggeration. What we’re talking about here are not developed plotlines, but isolated moments that pointed to something bigger, but didn’t have much to do with the rest of the film. In the end, though these scenes might’ve added something to the movie in terms of diversity, they would also have been some weird, disconnected insertions.

Love Actually

Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England

Release Date
September 7, 2003

Richard Curtis
Bill Nighy , Gregor Fisher , Rory MacGregor , Colin Firth , Sienna Guillory , Liam Neeson

135 minutes

One of ‘Love Actually’ Deleted Storylines Features a Trip to Africa

One of the stories removed from Love Actually isn’t so much a story as it is a tacky inspirational poster brought to life. And we mean that literally. In a scene that the team went all the way to Kenya to film, according to Curtis. In it, the camera zooms in on a motivational poster, somewhere in London, showing two women in an African desert carrying burdens of sticks on their backs. As we get close to them, we eavesdrop on a conversation about how one of their daughters is about to marry an absolute fool. The woman isn’t too enthusiastic about the upcoming wedding, but there's nothing she can do about it, for her daughter loves the man. Furthermore, her own husband was once known for being a famous fool himself.

This “African storyline” had an alternate version, in which a woman and a man discuss moving someplace else after their crops fail and die. Played by uncredited actors, the couple is distraught, of course, but they keep up their hope, knowing for certain that they will be okay wherever they go because they have one another.

The idea behind these two scenes, Curtis explains, was to show that, even in the direst of situations, love is still all around us. In the director’s words, in an interview with Vudu:

"You have a preconception that, in places in the world where life is very hard, love wouldn’t be one of the things that people’s minds are on, whereas my experience, when I go to Africa, is that that’s completely not true. Even when I was in Ethiopia, during the famine, and you talked to people, they were interested in their wives and children and girlfriends and all that."

Now, there’s a lot to unpack both in Curtis’ statement and in the two scenes that were cut. For starters, the director’s words seem to imply that Africa is a hom*ogenous place in which suffering is the only thing that exists, instead of a complex continent where people live a myriad of different lives in countries as varied as Morocco and South Africa. Looking at this continent and seeing nothing but a place in which hardships abound is playing into a series of stereotypes that African artists and scholars have long been trying to debunk. Besides, it’s not as if hardship - disease, drug addiction, people living in the streets - doesn’t exist in the UK, the country in which most of the movie takes place. Curtis could’ve shown us that love is everywhere without going “all the way to Kenya” for a couple of shots.

As for the scenes themselves, well, they certainly would’ve added something to Love Actually in the sense that the movie doesn’t have exactly the most diverse of casts. Adding in a few more actors of color to mix, performing in their own stories, would have certainly made the film a lot more interesting. However, literally making these Black, non-European stories merely a motivational poster is far from great. People of color exist in their own right and should have their stories told for their own sake, not to be inspirational to others. So, in the end, it’s probably best that these two scenes were left in the editing room, even if the crew went through so much trouble to get them filmed in the first place.

‘Love Actually’ Originally Had a Same-Sex Romance

Another story that didn’t make the final cut in Love Actually features the headmistress at the school attended by all of the film’s children, portrayed by Anne Reid, and her wife, played by Frances de la Tour. The major scene shows Reid’s character arriving home after a particularly exhausting day of work and having a chat with her wife, who is apparently suffering from an unnamed disease - possibly cancer. It’s a scene that already shows us that love is present even in the direst of scenarios, rendering the whole African plot senseless, but we digress. The scene ends with Reid’s character struggling to fall asleep as her wife coughs her lungs out, and we cut to Karen (Emma Thompson) making a speech before the kids’ Christmas play to thank the headmistress for being present despite her recent loss.

This cut storyline elicits some more complex feelings than the whole African trip. On one hand, it plays into a tired trope according to which same-sex love always ends in tragedy. But, on the other hand, it also increases the diversity of the film’s cast of characters and shows us a kind of love that no other story portrays: love in the face of distress - more specifically, in the face of disease.

Though it still remains an adorable movie, Love Actually hasn’t exactly aged well. Many of its jokes are downright transphobic, fatphobic, and even misogynistic. Sure, watching the film can still be a delight, but you can also come out of it feeling more than a little bit uncomfortable with some of its moments, such as the godfathers at the wedding complaining about the call girls at the bachelor party actually being men. Add to that the fact that the movie doesn’t feature a single romance that isn’t between cis, straight people and, boy, does the movie feel dated!

In that sense, cutting a love story between two women isn’t particularly a good look for the film. Leaving the scene with the headmistress and her wife would certainly have made the movie feel a bit more inclusive. And to avoid the “bury your gays” trope, all that Curtis needed to do was cut off the mention of Geraldine’s (de la Tour) death in Karen’s speech. Indeed, if the director had played his cards right, this could’ve been a precious addition to the film. But, alas, Curtis felt that the scene was too clumsily thrown into the mix. He’s probably right, as the scene would’ve certainly felt a bit out of place without further development, but it’s still a pity that we lost those characters.

Love Actually is available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.

Watch on Netflix

'Love Actually' Was Meant To Be Longer Before These Stories Were Cut (2024)


'Love Actually' Was Meant To Be Longer Before These Stories Were Cut? ›

Love Actually originally had two storylines that were cut, including a scene in Kenya and a same-sex romance. The African storyline in Love Actually portrayed a simplistic view of Africa and perpetuated stereotypes about hardship, which could have been avoided by showing diversity within the UK.

Are there two versions of the movie Love Actually? ›

The 2009 US Blu-Ray actually contains the UK cut of the film, while the original US DVD had the US cut. An airplane safe version of the movie removes the intimacy stand-in storyline, as well as all nudity and swearing.

What is the end quote of Love Actually? ›

The final lines of LOVE ACTUALLY, are the Prime Minister telling his new lover, who is fit but about whom fat jokes have been made throughout, "God, you weigh a lot," to which she replies, "Oh shut your face." That's it. That's the end of the movie.

Is The End of Love Actually real footage? ›

Arguably one of the most joyful scenes of the whole film, the footage of loved ones reuniting in Heathrow Airport at the end of Love Actually is entirely real. The camera crew set-up shop at the bustling airport for a week, filming friends and families meeting once again.

What is the most famous line of all time? ›

A jury consisting of 1,500 film artists, critics, and historians selected "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", spoken by Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in the 1939 American Civil War epic Gone with the Wind, as the most memorable American movie quotation of all time.

What is the most famous scene in the Love Actually? ›

On Christmas Eve, when Juliet and Peter are snuggling on the couch, the doorbell rings. She goes to see who it is, and it turns out to be Mark, who has written out his message of love on a series of cue cards so that Peter can't figure out what's going on from the other room.

What did Hugh Grant say about Love Actually? ›

Although many remember this sequence with nostalgia, Grant recently recalled it was quite “excruciating” for him. “I saw it in the script and I thought, 'Well, I'll hate doing that,'” Grant told Diane Sawyer in the ABC News special The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later.

What is the first line of Love Actually? ›

Prime Minister : Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.

What happened to Mark at the end of Love Actually? ›

Juliet reveals she and Peter are very happy, while Mark moved on and did, indeed, marry a supermodel, who is played by Kate Moss.

What storylines were cut from Love Actually? ›

But something doesn't sit quite right with us, and that's the two storylines that fell by the wayside. Love Actually originally featured two additional plotlines: one featuring a lesbian couple, and the other a man and woman in Africa. Neither ever made it to the final cut.

How old was Hugh Grant in Love Actually? ›

When Love Actually was released in 2003, Hugh Grant was 43 years old. Since Love Actually, Hugh Grant has continued to have a successful career with many roles in films such as Paddington 2 and The Undoing. He has also become a father to five children and got married for the first time in 2018.

What happened to Sam's dad Love Actually? ›

Things are complicated by the fact that Daniel is only Sam's stepfather. (Sam's real father's fate is never mentioned, he could be Tony Blair for all we know). The two negotiate their grief together as Sam is in love with a 10-year-old chanteuse named — heavy sigh — Joanna.

What is the most famous quote about love? ›

Finest Philosophical Love Quotes Of All Time
  • "In love, one and one are one." ...
  • "The greatest pleasure in life is love.” ...
  • "At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet." ...
  • "One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. ...
  • "Love is the beauty of the soul."

What does Bill Nighy say in Love Actually? ›

Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free! Billy Mack : I realized that Christmas is... is the time to be with the people you love.

What is actually love quotes? ›

Use these quotes to know that life is all about ups and downs, even in love.
  • “There is never a time or place for true love. ...
  • “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” – ...
  • “Love never dies a natural death. ...
  • “He is not a lover who does not love forever.” –
Apr 26, 2023

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Last Updated:

Views: 5731

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Birthday: 2001-01-17

Address: Suite 769 2454 Marsha Coves, Debbieton, MS 95002

Phone: +813077629322

Job: Real-Estate Executive

Hobby: Archery, Metal detecting, Kitesurfing, Genealogy, Kitesurfing, Calligraphy, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Gov. Deandrea McKenzie, I am a spotless, clean, glamorous, sparkling, adventurous, nice, brainy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.