Love Actually fans discover ‘comically bad’ deleted airport scene

Director Richard Curtis originally intended Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s character Sam to be a brilliant gymnast

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 24 December 2021 09:47
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Love Actually deleted airport scene

With each Christmas comes the annual viewing (or for some people multiple viewings) of the festive rom-com Love Actually, and every year new bits of trivia emerge.

Richard Curtis’s 2003 film is a favourite for many looking for entertainment over the holidays, with its all-star cast including Emma Thompson, Kiera Knightley, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and the late Alan Rickman.

This Christmas, a deleted scene has made its way back into the rounds on social media, having first emerged around 2013.

In an interview, director Curtis explains that Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s character Sam was originally written as a talented gymnast.

When it came to the famous airport scene, where he rushes to tell his crush Joanna how he feels before she leaves for the US, he uses those skills to evade airport security.

However, it was decided that the gymnast references would be removed, and with it the acrobatic version of the airport scene.

Curtis explained in an interview available that the gymnast moves would have been edited for a final cut to appear more polished, but the rough version is available to watch on YouTube.

Fans have found the clip “comically bad” and expressed their relief that Curtis and his team decided not to go with it.

“The body double doing the cartwheels through the seats was about 7 feet tall!” one fan observed.

“Good lord, I'm speechless,” another said. “On reflection, this bit of hilarity might have made the movie better.”

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Stunt coordinator Lee Sheward told Metro.co.uk: “The production actually built a whole airport terminal in Shepperton Studios which I designed with Jim Clay, the production designer, to put in isometric bars into the roof structure.  

“We had [the stunt performers] jumping, vaulting, tumbling, going over seats. We had little carts, the baggage trolleys, we had them going through.”  

He continued: “We timed this routine, shot it in pieces over a couple of days, but with a lot of rehearsal, where I had two gymnastic doubles for [Thomas] and they would tumble and we’d time it so that a cart would just miss them or people would chuck newspapers and they’d vault over their heads, or somersault, they’d run up the escalator which was built and then jump off the roof and do this isometric bar routine at 25 feet in the air to escape the security guards.”

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