A Londoner's Diary; Richard Curtis Takes on Robert Redford, Offends Brussels and Calms Alan Rickman's Nerves

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 21, 2003 | Go to article overview

A Londoner's Diary; Richard Curtis Takes on Robert Redford, Offends Brussels and Calms Alan Rickman's Nerves


Byline: RICHARD CURTIS

The week started with the cast-and-crew screening of Love Actually.

Cast-and-crew shows are always a strange affair. Everyone watches for their particular piece of the film, so when the sound was one frame out of sync, I thought: 'Oh God, the whole sound department will be in trauma' - as indeed they were. And when the print was a little bit blue, I knew the camera department would be in shock, as indeed they were. As for the actors, all actors hate the first time they see a film. Talking to Alan Rickman, he says he thinks the film is fine apart from the one hideous, disastrous mistake of casting him and the awfulness of every frame of the film he is in.

After the screening, we decide to meet the children at the Saatchi Gallery.

It's probably a mistake. Our kids are eight, six and one. The one-year-old spends his entire time eating chocolate and then patting the works of art.

His favourite piece is a Damien Hirst with a flooded office, with fish swimming around the furniture and computers - he stands there shouting, 'Nemo!

Nemo!' and tries to liberate the fish by banging very hard on the Perspex box. My six-year-old particularly enjoys the Chapman brothers' sculpture of the little girls who have erect private parts instead of noses. He says very loudly: 'Those little girls must have told a lot of lies - look how long their noses have grown!' The eight-year-old is, to be frank, a little traumatised by the darkness of most of the art and particularly interested in, and affected by, Tracey Emin's bed. When we get home she is slightly more argumentative than usual about tidying her bedroom.

Next day I go to see Arthur Miller's The Price. I saw All My Sons not long ago and this production again confirms my feeling that Arthur Miller must be one of the three greatest playwrights of the last century. He is so wise. The Price, which has some cracking acting in it, is, in a strange way, an anti-drama drama. During the course of the evening, a delicious huge family history unfolds in one day as truths are told and anger finally let vent after 50 years. But the play ends with nothing really altered. It's a startlingly true conclusion. The older I get, the more I find myself thinking about a line from Paul Simon's 'The Boxer' - 'After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same/After changes, we are more or less the same.'

Though it has to be said, that is not true of the TV and aeroplane version of my film that I have to rush back to the edit suite to complete.

After changes, it is very different indeed.

It is very bizarre what is still not allowed on mainstream American television. …

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