Man About Town: Richard Curtis enters a world of what-ifs with new film 'About Time'

What if you’d made a different decision about something in your past?

Share

Do you wish you’d gone in for that kiss, quit that job or taken that other fork in the road? Those are the sort the questions at the heart of Richard Curtis’s new time travel film About Time.

“We’re always thinking ‘if I’m more successful I might be more happy, that’s obviously not true, and if I’d done things differently in the past I might be in a better position now, and that’s probably not true,” Curtis told me at the film’s premiere at Somerset House. “So it leads you pretty clearly to the idea that you’ve got what you’ve got and you should just try and relish it.”

Curtis, who wrote the now-classic Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, remains one of the few of his contemporaries who hasn’t chased the Hollywood dollar, preferring to write “movies set in the street where I live”. He has no regrets about folding up the director’s chair for the last time with this film, which takes on some areas he has visited before: such friends, families and the guy next door getting the girl of his dreams.

“There is an element of wish fulfilment,” he said. “Four Weddings started with something that happened to me and I made the other choice. I met a girl at a wedding, she said are you staying at the hotel, and I said ‘no, I’m going home with friends’, which is what Hugh’s character says and I went with the friends. And it was what would have happened had I made the better decision. And then I remember in Notting Hill I used to go and have dinner with the same friends every week, and I used to think whilst I was driving down there ‘what would happen if I turned up there with Madonna?”

He added “life turns out to be fifty fifty happy and you don’t seem to be able to change the odds very much”.

He might wonder what if, but had he made different decisions maybe he wouldn’t have created some of the biggest British movies of the past 20 years. It seems like he might have a point about not wanting to go back and change things...

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

From Sam Smith to Taylor Swift, candyfloss pop perfectly reflects the selfie generation

Rosie Millard
Natalie Bennett, Leanne Wood and Nicola Sturgeon embrace at the end of the debate  

General Election 2015: Female audacity has made the male leaders – all of them – look cowardly

Yasmin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own