Compiled by: Jack Foley, from an interview by Martyn Palmer
Q. So what was it like working with Richard and this huge
A. It was about five scenes! (laughs) Two weeks and I laughed
my way through the whole thing. I never stopped laughing. It was
me and Chewy (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Andy Lincoln. Andy is fantastic
and I knew of him, Id met him through friends of friends,
and Chewy is one of the most exciting British actors around at
the moment. Have you seen Dirty
Pretty Things? Or Blue Orange? He is stunning. Hes a
Q. So you obviously liked your immediate co-stars?
A. Oh yeah. It was really exciting to get the chance to work
with two people I admired so much and really, we werent
doing anything (laughs). I got married, got to kiss a couple of
really good looking guys and you know, all is good! Lovely costumes,
lovely hair and lovely make up - and no corsets, which was nice.
It was really cool.
Q. And Richards first time as a director. How was that?
A. Oh hes got nothing to worry about. and hes
a nice man, a really good bloke. Richard is just a really great
guy, and I know he was very nervous doing it, but having written
it, he knew everything inside out and he just knew what he was
doing. You would get in, in the morning, and it was all there;
it was done and dusted.
Q. Its a pretty amazing wedding scene. What was that
like to film?
A. It was quite possibly the most romantic thing Ive
ever seen. And you know, we had some real lads there, sparks and
ADs and the rest of the crew and they were all standing there
with little stupid grins on their faces during the marriage scene.
It was great. And I was thinking to myself oh, yes, this
Q. Do you like the genre?
A. I love romantic comedies, I think they are really important.
They are 100 per cent escapism. You just sit there and lose yourself
in this world. Lovely. I cry my eyes out, or laugh, or both. I
Q. And how about Richard Curtis films in particular?
A. Oh yes. The thing about Richard is that he makes feel good
movies and he makes them well, and thats very difficult
to do. Because the thing about the feel good movie is that its
something they all try and do and there is nothing more disgusting
than a patronising feel good, smarmy movie, because you just think
my brain has been turned to mush and that was a disgusting
experience... So to be able to do it well is an amazing
talent. There are very few who can do it, and Richard is at the
top of that list, no question. Its absolutely incredible
how you can sit through all of his films with a stupid grin on
your face and you do - no matter if you come out and say oh
no its not my sort of thing, Im very art house...
you still smile at those films. I defy anyone not to.
Q. I understand that the whole cast was brought together for
a read through in a hall in Notting Hill. What was that like?
A. Agony! (laughs). I have five scenes and I have never been
more nervous in my entire life. I mean, Ive done read throughs
before. Ive done them with Johnny Depp, and that wasnt
terrifying. But there were, like, 50 people sitting around this
It was astonishing. You looked up and there was Hugh Grant, over
there is Alan Rickman. Oh theres Liam Neeson, theres
Emma Thompson. I mean, come on, can you blame me for being nervous?
I mean, just the fact that all of those people turned up for this
read through shows how much respect they have for Richard. It
was huge, huge. And at the end of it, I was like ah! I cant
handle this! And I ran away, I got out of there as fast
as I could.
Q. Presumably Bend It Like Beckham had come out at that point?
A. Yeah it had. But that didnt make any difference.
I was still so nervous (laughs) We were in this old church hall,
near Richards office.
Q. The film has a lot of different stories, loosely connected.
Did you feel like you were working in your own little movie with
A. Yeah, you did really. Me Chewy and Andy. And we did our
big wedding thing and we were like the stars of the show (laughs).
Q. But then you have the scene at Heathrow where virtually
of all of you are there at the same time...
A. Yeah. And then suddenly youve got all these other
people with their stories. And it was like excuse me! I
know youre Alan Rickman but get of my film please!
Q. I read somewhere that you might go to university. Is that
A. Well, I think my Mum and Dad think Im going to university.
They probably expect me to become a doctor or something. But no,
I think Ill stick with this. I am having a very good time.