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Love Actually - UK premiere

Story by: Jack Foley

THE UK premiere of Richard Curtis' Love Actually proved almost as star-studded as the film itself, when some of the top names in the UK film industry took to the red carpet to celebrate the release of the movie, in London on Sunday night (November 16, 2003).

Popular stars, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson joined the rapidly emerging likes of Pirates of the Carribean star, Keira Knightley, at the glittering opening.

The film marks the directorial debut of Curtis, who wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral and the screenplay for Bridget Jones' Diary, and drew a crowd of several thousand outside the Odeon Leicester Square, some who waited for more than five hours to catch a glimpse of their favourites.

The première, held in aid of the Comic Relief charity, was also attended by Martine McCutcheon and Bill Nighy, among others.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the premiere, Grant, who plays the newly-elected UK prime minister, who falls for his tea lady, played by former EastEnders actress McCutcheon, praised the film, but confessed to asking Curtis to change some of his lines, so that he could appear less nice.


But he went on to describe Curtis as 'by far and away the best comedy writer' he knew, adding that 'it's always going to be difficult to turn down a Richard script', even though he had developed a fondness for playing slightly more roguish characters.

Curtis, who was made a CBE in 2000, refused to speculate on whether he now had the director's bug, but predicted his next venture would be the 'usual three years' off.

He also dismissed questions about the mixed reviews the film received in the US - where it has already been released - saying that he was very pleased with its $16m (£9.5m) take so far.

He added that he would rather make a film that most of the audience liked and some critics didn't, rather than a film that critics loved and nobody wanted to watch.

And Nighy, who steals the movie by playing an ageing rock star desperate for his comeback single, a tacky cover version, called Christmas is All Around, to make the Christmas number one spot, urged people to help the record emulate its onscreen success - as it is being released in support of Comic Relief.

Keira Knightley, who is now one of Hollywood's hottest properties, despite being only 18, described the past 12 months as 'completely crazy', before adding that 'the opportunity of working with Richard Curtis was incredible'.

The movie opens in the UK on Friday and is expected to be a massive hit.

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