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Love Actually director Richard Curtis admits he made a ‘dreadful mistake’ in Christmas film

Pop-rock band Keane reveal they sent the director a song that he ultimately turned down for the soundtrack, just before they achieved a No 1 debut album

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 22 December 2023 11:40 GMT
Hugh Grant's Love Actually dance scene

Love Actually is known for many things, from that notorious flashcard scene to the much-parodied Keira Knightley performance where she admits she has terrible taste in pie.

Arguably one thing it doesn’t get enough credit for is the soundtrack, which includes “All You Need is Love” played by a live band during a wedding, and Hugh Grant dancing around Number 10 Downing Street to “Jump” by The Pointer Sisters.

Now, director Richard Curtis has revealed that there is one song he regrets omitting from the Christmas favourite, which has since been released as a standalone track by English pop-rock band, Keane.

The song, also titled “Love Actually” was originally written for the 2003 romantic comedy, while the group were still unsigned.

“In 2002 we were an unsigned band; and our friend and manager Adam was working for the producer of Love Actually,” keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley said.

“While they were making the film, Adam suggested we should quickly write a song and he’d see if he could get it into Richard Curtis’s hands…and maybe we could sneak onto the soundtrack and get our big break!”

Of course, the band never got to have their track included in the film, but Curtis later told the band he regretted leaving it out – particularly when Keane went on to score a No 1 album with their debut, Hopes and Fears.

“Love Actually” was kept under wraps until last week, as the band decided to record and release it to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary.

Cover art for Keane’s single, ‘Love Actually' (Press)

“Everyone makes mistakes, even if they’re understandable ones,” Curtis said. “When I first listened to ‘Love Actually’ by this totally unknown combo called Keane, I thought it was beautiful.

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“I tried really hard to put it in the film, but in the end it was a little melancholy and, dare I say, a bit DEEP for the film I’d made.”

‘Love Actually’ director Richard Curtis (Getty Images for Global Citizen)

He continued: “Of course, I realised what a dreadful mistake that had been when six months later Hopes and Fears was No 1 in the charts. It is SO wonderful that the song is now being released for everyone to hear.

“I’ve listened to it a lot over the years and love it even more now than I did then. And this time, myself and my son Spike have made a little edit of the whole film to go with the song. I think I actually prefer that 3 minute version of ‘Love Actually’ to the long, chaotic film that’s been doing the rounds now for 20 years.”

Curtis recently spoke with The Independent about his thoughts about the film 20 years after its original release, including the “weird” Andrew Lincoln scene and the criticism surrounding the film’s lack of diversity.

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