“Love Actually” director Richard Curtis said when he reflects on his iconic Christmas film, the lack of diversity in the cast now makes him feel “a bit stupid.”
“There are things that you would change, but thank God society is changing,” Curtis said during Diane Sawyer’s ABC News special “The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later.” “My film is bound in some moments to feel out of date. The lack of diversity makes me feel uncomfortable and a bit stupid.”
Actors Hugh Grant and Kiera Knightley attend the UK charity film premiere of “Love Actually” at The Odeon Leicester Square on November 16, 2003, in London. (Getty)
“There is such extraordinary love that goes on every minute in so many ways, all the way around the world, and makes me wish my film was better,” he added.
Critics have noted that only one main actor in the ensemble, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is not White, and all the film’s featured relationships are heterosexual.
Fox News Radio host Jimmy Failla suggested it doesn’t bother most moviegoers. He used two recent Disney films, “Buzz Lightyear” and “Strange World,” as examples of films with “woke” themes or progressive plot lines that fared poorly at the box office. Recent reports show that the latter bombed on Thanksgiving weekend and is expected to lose at least $100 million.
“Richard Curtis clearly didn’t get the memo from movie goers that NOBODY is going to the theater because of social justice issues,” Failla told Fox News Digital. “Disney’s woke Buzz Lightyear film tanked at the box office and so did their latest ‘Strange World.’ Not to mention that Billy Eichner’s gay rom com bombed so bad you’ll get stopped by TSA for carrying a copy onto a plane.”
Hugh Grant (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage) (Jun Sato/WireImage)
“People go to the movies to be entertained,” he later added. “Not to be virtue signaled too. This apology is a mistake, actually.”
Comedian Karith Foster, founder and CEO of INVERSITY Solutions, offered that Curtis was being “too hard on himself” and argued that “Love Actually” has quite a few diverse storylines. The film features multiple bi-racial relationships and sensitively touches on one character’s struggle with mental illness.
“Love Actually is without question one of my all-time top 5 favorite movies,” she told Fox Digital. “I think Richard Curtis is being way too hard on himself. He is entitled to feel how he feels, but I think he’s making the common mistake many do right now when they siphon diversity down to just one or two attributes- making diversity ONLY about ethnicity [race] and sexuality [LGBTQIA+].”
“That is tragically what keeps everyone from being enrolled in celebrating diversity and being truly inclusive,” Foster continued. “We are limiting the definition of diversity when we should be expanding it to include everyone all of their attributes visible and non-visible; even diversity of thoughts and ideas [viewpoint diversity].”
Fox News Digital has reached out to Richard Curtis for comment.
Curtis isn’t the first Hollywood figure to regret participating in a film or TV show that they believe has not aged well, as observed by conservative film critic Christian Toto, editor of HollywoodinToto.com. He said the “Love Actually” director’s comments square with a growing trend.
“Curtis’ interview about the film and its legacy is hardly shocking,” Toto told Fox News Digital. “Actors and directors routinely give fresh interviews in which they disparage their older work, even films less than 20 years old. Both Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill have criticized their 2007 smash ‘Superbad’ for not being woke enough, for example.”
The “Friends” creators have said they “didn’t intend to have an all-white cast.” (Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Both Hill and Rogen haven’t been kind in their recent analyses of “Superbad,” suggesting the popular film, centered on two teenage boys trying to score alcohol for a party, had themes of toxic masculinity and, according to Rogen, blatant homophobia.
“There are probably some jokes in ‘Superbad’ that are bordering on blatantly homophobic at times,” Rogen, star and screenwriter for the film, told The Guardian. “They’re all in the voice of high school kids, who do speak like that, but I think we’d also be silly not to acknowledge that we also were, to some degree, glamorizing that type of language in a lot of ways.”
And although “Friends” will always have its loyal cult following, the show’s creators have found themselves answering why it featured an all-White cast, saying the makeup wasn’t a “conscious” decision. Last year they admitted some changes would be made if they’d made the show today.
“If we did ‘Friends’ today, no, I don’t imagine they would probably end up being an all-white cast,” director and executive producer Kevin Bright said last year.
“These interviews also clash with reality,” Toto said of recent Hollywood regrets. “Most people adore ‘Love Actually’ and aren’t re-watching it each holiday season to count up the number of diverse faces on screen. Folks like Curtis are trying to appease their fellow liberals, the industry and journalists who feast on these confessionals.”
“The fans who love the works in question aren’t factored into the conversation,” he added. “In an odd way, they don’t count.”
Foster said she wouldn’t change a thing about one of her favorite flicks.
“It is easy and quite common to look back at a piece of work one has done and contemplate what you could have done better or differently because you’ve changed or the times have change- but I think Mr. Curtis created a classic movie in 2003 and just as it was then it is perfect just the way it is,” she said.
Cortney O’Brien is an Editor at Fox News. Twitter: @obrienc2