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

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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam