Love Actually’s movie secrets – related stars, axed soundtrack and funeral plot

Christmas classic Love Actually may now more than 16 years old, but it is still a firm Christmas favourite.

The film features an all-star cast, including Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, and examines different aspects of love.

There is no doubt thousands of families will be glued to their TV screens this year as they watch repeats of the rom-com which is directed by Richard Curtis.

Many Love Actually fans will be able to recite scenes from the movie but Daily Star has taken a look at nine things you probably didn't know about the beloved festive film.

Hugh Grant and Thomas Brodie Sangster are related

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Stars Hugh Grant and Thomas Brodie Sangster, who plays Liam Neeson's young stepson are actually second cousins.

Hugh didn’t know that he shared family ties with the actor until Sangster told him on the set of the film.

Speaking about the eye-opening moment, Sangster said: "His grandmother and my great-grandmother are sisters.

"He didn’t know. 'Apparently, you are my uncle or my cousin or something'.

"Then he kind of remembered my mum and uncle. So for the rest of the shoot he went round saying: 'Hello cousin'. That felt quite cool."

Bill Nighy didn't realise he had auditioned for role as Billy Mack

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Bill Nighy became widely known for his performance as Billy Mack in Love Actually but it's a role he unknowingly applied for.

Nighy previously The Daily Beast: "I did a rehearsal reading of the script as a favour to the great casting director, Mary Selway, who had been trying to get me into a film for a long time. I thought it was simply to help her hear the script aloud and to my genuine surprise I was given the job. Quite a fortuitous outcome, no?"

Curtis spoke about why he chose Bill in an interview and revealed there was also another star in mind for the role.

"Bill Nighy's was the strangest casting," Curtis told The Guardian. "I had two famous guys in mind to play the aging rocker Billy Mack, and I couldn't decide who to ask. But at the read-through, Bill did it so perfectly he became a definite yes. I've never told anyone else who I wanted. I'll put it in my will."

Nighy was one of the film's most iconic characters and he often gets recognised for his role.

Speaking about the attention he got for the role, he said: "My favourite line – the one they’ll write on my tombstone and the one kids still shout at me, is: 'Hi kids! Don’t buy drugs – become a rock star and they give you them for free,'" he told The Guardian.

Bill Nighy's Christmas single was recorded in Abbey Road Studios


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Christmas song "Christmas Is All Around" performed by Bill Nighy's character Billy Mack character is a cover of The Troggs' Love Is All Around.

It became the film's soundtrack but a little known fact is it was recorded at the renowned Abbey Road Studios in London, where top musicians around the world sing for their albums.

Speaking about the recording, Bill said "it was a big deal" and because he 'isn't a singer', and added that he found the experience daunting.

Bill followed in the footsteps of legendary Brit band The Beatles, who recorded their album 'Abbey Road' there in January 1999.

Sugababes' Too Lost In You track is removed from US version of film

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The Sugababes’ track ‘Too Lost In You’ is played in the UK version of the film over the Christmas party scene in the art gallery.

But in the US version audiences instead hear ‘The Trouble With Love Is’ by American singer Kelly Clarkson.

Richard Curtis described the soundtrack as "the life and soul of the film."

When Too Lost in You was released in December 2003, it was tipped to be a Christmas number one but it ended up debuting at number 10.

The music video for the song was filmed at London Stansted Airport in November 2003.

A woman is seen in the video having fantasies about another passenger at the airport, including one scene which shows him handcuffed.

Following filming of the video clips from Love Actually were added to it in a bid to promote the film.

Sarah's flat was inspired by the author of Bridget Jones's Diary

In the film Sarah (Laura Linney) takes crush Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) back to her split-level flat, which features a half-wall serving as a balcony.

A crane shot reveals that her bedroom is located on a mezzanine floor above the first floor, with a half-wall acting as a balcony.

The flat was inspired by Bridget Jones’s Diary author Helen Fielding's home.

In the DVD commentary track, Curtis told how then layout was poached from the author’s home.

Curtis explained it seemed a charming staging place 'for this tender seduction scene'.

Wedding scene based on a funeral


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The film starts with a lively wedding scene which was based on the funeral of the funeral of The Muppets creator Jim Henson.

Curtis got the idea after he attended the funeral in which the 'Muppets' sang a song.

The scene was originally written for Hugh Grant’s character in Four Weddings And A Funeral, another one of Curtis' films, but it was cut during the final edit.

Speaking about the scene Curtis said: "Now if I can just say a little bit about this scene here.

"This was, in fact, inspired by Jim Henson's funeral, which was the most moving thing I've ever been to, and at the end of it, one of the … Frank Oz was talking and he suddenly lifted up Kermit's puppet and started to sing this song called "One Voice" ["Just One Person"].

"And it turned out that all the guys in the, in the memorial service, had brought their puppets with them, and they lifted them up, and when you turned around and looked backwards.

"There were fifty puppets all singing, and Big Bird walked down the aisle of St. Paul's Cathedral. They all came forward, and just this massive chorus of puppets all singing. It was an extraordinary thing. So this was our little stab at that."

Hugh Grant was grumpy about having to do dance scene but ended up loving it

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Hugh Grant's Prime Minister character features in a hilarious scene where he dances around 10 Downing Street to Pointer Sisters' Jump (For My Love).

But Hugh was not keen on the scene to begin with, according to Curtis,

Curtis said actor was "hugely grumpy about it […] and kept on putting it off, because he didn't like the song".

He said Hugh was unhappy because the film was unable to use a Jackson 5 song for the scene as originally intended.

But he revealed when it came down to it, Hugh couldn't get enough of the track, Grazia reported.

He said: "We didn't shoot it until the final day, and it went so well that when we edited it, it had gone too well, and he was singing along with the words […] so it was incredibly hard to edit."

The lake which Colin Firth swam in was only 18 inches deep

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One of the most famous scenes the film sees Colin Firth's character and Aurelia played by Lucia Moniz jump in a lake to save a manuscript.

The lake appears to very deep but in fact is was only 18 inch in depth.

In order to give the impression it was much deeper, the actors shuffle on their knees to pretend they were swimming.

And Firth was badly bitten badly by a mosquito resulting in his elbow swelling to the size of an avocado.

Emma Thompson did twelve takes of the Joni Mitchell scene

In one heartbreaking scene from the film, Emma Thompson's character Karen realises that her husband may be cheating on her.

She is seen sobbing uncontrollably in her bedroom listening to Joni Mitchell as her family open Christmas presents in the other room.

But Emma actually did twelve takes of the scene.

Explaining the hard work she had to put in to make the scene work, Emma said: "I've had so much bloody practise at crying in a bedroom and then having to go out and be cheerful, gathering up the pieces of my heart and putting them in a drawer."

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