The "Love Actually" short is set to debut this week
Red Nose Day is May 25 in the United States
In just a few days, “Love Actually” fans will find out what has happened to their favorite characters since the film first turned audiences into absolute mush 14 years ago.
The film’s writer and director, Richard Curtis, who is also the co-founder of Comic Relief, a charity that produces Red Nose Day in the US and UK, said it was a no-brainer to get his cast back together for a short sequel.
“I picked ‘Love Actually’ because it was one thing I had up my sleeve,” he told CNN. “I saw the film for the first time in a decade, and that got me thinking I could very quickly say what’s happened to everyone.”
The 10-minute short premieres as part of “The Red Nose Day Special” on May 25 on NBC.
Reuniting Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and Liam Neeson on screen didn’t take much convincing, according to Curtis.
“They were very willing,” he said.
But a full-length sequel is not in the works.
“The truth of the matter is sequels are hard, and ‘Love Actually’ was very hard to get right,” Curtis explained. “It was the film of mine that changed most between script and edit. The script went really well, but there’s a particularly complicated thing with 10 stories. The edit is like three-dimensional chess.”
Curtis co-founded Comic Relief with his friend Lenny Henry in 1985, after a trip to Ethiopia. Curtis said he “saw such terrible things” that he wanted to do his part to end child poverty. Three years later, they launched their first Red Nose Day in the UK.
“When I started it, I thought it would last for one year,” he said. “So it’s turned out to be a very unruly but long-lasting child.”
According to the organization, Red Nose Day has raised $1.3 billion since its inception. Money raised goes to multiple charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, Save the Children and Oxfam.
Curtis said celebrity involvement has had a tremendous impact on the success of Red Nose Day over the last three decades. He cited the time he asked J.K. Rowling if she would donate a signed copy of “Harry Potter” as an example.
“She said, ‘You know, I’ve been thinking of doing these two ‘Harry Potter’ pamphlets ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and the one about Quidditch,’ and she said, ‘Why don’t I write those for you?’ From that one letter I wrote, we made $28 million.”
“If you ask somebody to do something for good, it’s amazing the things they will do,” Curtis said.
Beyond celebrity participation, Curtis also credits the longevity of Red Nose Day to its “strangely” appealing symbol.
“The first year at Walgreens, my girlfriend said you’ll sell $50,000 [noses] and we sold 5 million in the first 10 days. There is just some little magic there,” Curtis said.