Hard to believe but it's been 10 years since Love Actually brought some badly needed holiday cheer to a post 9/11 world still in mourning.
In interviews with The Daily Beast, several of the film's stars and writer-director Richard Curtis reflected on its 10 feel-good storylines portraying various aspects of love and Love Actually's ever-growing popularity in the intervening decade that's cemented its place as a Christmas classic.
The movie features one of the best ensembles ever assembled for the big screen, among them: Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Denise Richards, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bill Nighy, January Jones, Andrew Lincoln and Rodrigo Santoro.
After opening on Nov. 14, 2003, in the U.S., it generated mostly positive reviews from critics, but had moviegoers swooning on its way to grossing a whopping $246 million at the global box office—and that's after hitting theaters initially in limited release.
Since then, Love Actually's template of crisscrossing characters in a tale built around a theme (in this case love obviously) has spawned several copycats, most notably Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve.
If you ask several of Love Actually's actors, they a good inkling that they were committing to something special.
Said Linney: "For me, it was a magical experience from beginning to end. I got a letter in the mail from Richard Curtis saying that he'd been trying to cast this part, and he'd kept saying to his partner, Emma Freud, that he'd been looking for a 'Laura Linney-type,' and she said, 'Why don't you ask Laura Linney?' My part was originally written for another Brit, but he asked me to do it, and I was so excited to be asked."
For Nighy, there was one scene in particular he'll never forget filming.
"I suppose it's a fond memory, of being naked with nothing but an electric guitar and a pair of cowboy boots, trying to mime playing the instrument while the producer, Duncan Kenworthy, shouted "Down with the guitar! Down with the guitar!" every time I fully exposed myself when I got too enthusiastic about the song."
Curtis noted how impressions of Love Actually have changed—and even deepened—over the years as its leads have made names for themselves in subsequent film roles.
"One of the things that's funny about the film is that it's been changed by outside circumstances kind of wonderfully. The sweetness and softness and damage of Liam is probably more interesting now that you've seen him in Taken, and with Keira, it was only her second film," said the filmmaker. "And Martin Freeman turns up as the hobbit, and Andrew Lincoln is in The Walking Dead, and Chiwetel is in 12 Years A Slave. It's a different movie now!"
On Love Actually's legacy, Linney felt like she was part of a "fellowship" given the amazing ensemble.
"There's a part of us where, whether we filmed together or not, there's a connection between all of us," the 49-year-old actress observed. "Maybe because it's such serialized filming no one got sick of each other, but there's a warmth to Richard Curtis and a warmth and sweetness to that movie that really sort of permeated the whole atmosphere."
Added Lincoln: "It's always helpful to have sleigh bells on any soundtrack but it does seem to have entered the language as a Christmas classic."
When asked about the possibility of getting the gang together again for a sequel, Curtis didn't rule it out, but wasn't exactly optimistic given the realities of everyone's schedule.
"Can you imagine anything less likely than a reunion? It's so interesting with people who are famous and busy. You sort of know we'd all enjoy it, but when the call came in, they'd probably think it was duty," he said. "What I might try and do is see some of them and get in touch with some of them when it gets to this Christmas...I may just politely remind everyone that it's been ten years!"
Perhaps a re-release is in order?