“Love Actually” writer-director Richard Curtis admitted at the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (via) that he regrets the many weight-centric jokes he wrote into his 2003 Christmas classic. The character Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) is often mocked for her weight throughout the film, with her dad calling her “plumpy,” a colleague noting she has “huge thighs” and her love interest (Hugh Grant) saying “God, you weigh a lot” after she jumps into his arms.
“I remember how shocked I was like five years ago when [my daughter] Scarlett said to me, ‘You can never use the word ‘fat’ again,’” Curtis said. “And wow, [she was] right. I think I was behind the curve, and those jokes aren’t any longer funny, so I don’t feel I was malicious at the time, but I think I was unobservant and not as clever as I should have been.”
Many of Curtis’ films have come under fire in recent years for being outdated, especially when it comes to featuring predominantly white casts. Such is the case in films like “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Notting Hill.”
“I think because I came from a very un-diverse school and a bunch of university friends,” Curtis said when asked about the lack of diversity in his films. “[With] ‘Notting Hill,’ I think that I hung on to the diversity issue, to the feeling that I wouldn’t know how to write those parts. And I think I was just sort of stupid and wrong about that.”
“I feel as though me, my casting director, my producers just didn’t think about it,” he added. “Just didn’t look outwards enough.”
During an interview with Diane Sawyer last year for the ABC News special “The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later,” Curtis said he felt “uncomfortable and a bit stupid” about the Christmas film’s “lack of diversity.”
“There are things you’d change but, thank God, society is changing, so my film is bound, in some moments, to feel out of date,” he added at the time.
“Love Actually” is now available to stream on Netflix.