We recently learned that the cast of 2003’s Love Actually will be reuniting to film the highly-anticipated sequel for this year’s Comic Relief. However Emma Thompson, who played Karen in the film, has confirmed that she will not be joining them.
As fans of the original film will no doubt remember, Karen’s husband, Harry, was played by Thompson’s very good friend, Alan Rickman. The actor sadly passed away last January, following his battle with cancer, and Thompson has said that she did not want to film any new Love Actually scenes without him.
“It’s too soon,” she told the Press Association.
“It’s absolutely right [that they’re making the sequel] because it’s supposed to be for Comic Relief, but there isn’t much comic relief in the loss of our dear friend really only just over a year ago.”
The 57-year-old continued: “We thought and thought [of a way to include Karen in the story] but it just seemed wrong…
“To visit the characters of Bill Nighy and Hugh Grant and Liam [Neesom] and all of that, that’s fantastic, but obviously what would he have done?”
Read more: The facts you never knew about Love Actually
Thompson and Rickman were lifelong friends, and worked together on seven films, including several Harry Potter films, The Winter Guest, and Sense and Sensibility.
Shortly after Rickman passed away, Thompson shared an emotional statement with The Hollywood Reporter, in which she revealed that she had been able to spend time with him before his death.
“Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye,” she said.
“What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word. The intransigence which made him the great artist he was — his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him.”
It is understandable, then, that she felt unable to revisit their iconic Love Actually storyline without him.
Martine McCutcheon, who plays Natalie in the film, discussed Thompson’s decision during a recent appearance on ITV’s Loose Women.
“As far as I know, lots of people are back in the cast, she said. “It’s a kind of, ‘Where are they now?’ catching up with all of us, all these years later.
“I know that Emma Thompson did say that she would prefer not to because it just wouldn’t be the same without Alan Rickman. And I don’t think I would feel right doing it without Hugh [Grant].”
McCutcheon, Grant, Nighy, and Neeson will be joined on set by Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Andrew Lincoln, Lucia Moniz, Olivia Olson, Marcus Brigstocke, and Rowan Atkinson for the 10-minute special.
Richard Curtis, again, will be taking the helm as director.
“I would never have dreamt of writing a sequel to Love Actually, but I thought it might be fun to do 10 minutes to see what everyone is now up to,” said Curtis, as he announced the comeback. “Who has aged best? I guess that’s the big question… or is it so obviously Liam?
“We’ve been delighted and grateful that so many of the cast are around and able to take part – and it’ll certainly be a nostalgic moment getting back together and recreating their characters 14 years later.”
The 10-minute Love Actually 2 movie will air during BBC One’s live Red Nose Day in aid of Comic Relief on 24 March.
Images: Rex Pictures