Over the weekend, Universal Pictures president Eddie Cunningham said that he would totally greenlight a sequel to the beloved 2003 ensemble romantic comedy Love Actually. But we think that that would be just the worst idea! Not because writer/director Richard Curtis did anything wrong—in fact, his is the only ensemble film in recent memory that’s actually good. And that perfect formula shouldn’t be compromised in the desire to make more money.
Cunningham told The Daily Mail,
“I think there should be a Love Actually 2. I’d give it a green light. I think many American movies try to emulate that brilliant format where the stories interweave and no-one’s on screen for more than six minutes, but only Richard has achieved it. It really makes you appreciate the beauty of his writing.”
All of this is true. However, I think that Hollywood has a problem with trying to make lightning strike twice when they’ve found something that actually touches people. (Consider, though it was never in the same league, how badly Sex and the City 2 failed after the high expectations set by the first movie.) The beauty of Love Actually is that even though it influenced Valentine’s Day and He’s Just Not That Into You and all those subpar movies, Richard Curtis sort of wrote it in a vacuum. There wasn’t the expectation for it to do phenomenally well—and Curtis has even admitted that he intended it as something of a joke.
Discussing in 2009 the fact that he’s become known as the writer of British rom-coms, Curtis said that he never intended for his early films Four Weddings and a Funeral or Notting Hill to be formulaic:
“Then Love Actually was a kind of joke with myself, trying to write ten of them at once. Tonally, I realise, it’s a bit uneven, some of the stories don’t exist in the same world, but I think that was inherent in what I was doing, and I don’t think I could have changed it.”
He later added,
“I think you should only write about what you’re interested in, and the truth of the matter is that by the time I was writing Love Actually, I was starting to lose interest in boy meets girl for the first time and falls in love—a film about that, now, I would not be terribly interested in.”
Love Actually 2, in my opinion, would suffer from the prodding and hovering of studio heads trying to crack the formula that has failed in American ensemble films since 2003. The movie would be too confined by pressures to hit every base that it would fail on all fronts. Plus, these stories all wrapped up perfectly. Why would we need to visit the cast ten years later?
Photo: Writing for the Rising