In the original and beloved schmaltz-fest that is Love Actually, Hugh Grant, playing an ass-waggling British prime minister, pulls off a legendary scene dancing to “Jump (for My Love)” by the Pointer Sisters.
And thus it was only natural that in a special ten-minute sequel to the movie that aired today as part of Comic Relief, a British charity fundraiser, the floppy-haired embodiment of all things English pulled off some fresh and hilarious moves, but this time he was strutting his funky stuff to Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”
The brief short, entitled Comic Relief, Actually, was the showstopping grand finale to an uneven two hours of comedy fundraising on the BBC, which also saw James Corden do a special carpool karaoke with Take That to mark “Red Nose Day,” a marquee British fundraiser created in 1985 by Richard Curtis, the writer of Love Actually and Notting Hill, and comedian Lenny Henry originally in response to a famine in Ethiopia.
The short is due to be screened in the U.S. on NBC on May 25, as the network now supports Red Nose Day’s international fund raising efforts.
The short film sees many of the original cast members of the beloved movie reunited, including Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Martine McCutcheon, Keira Knightley, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Bill Nighy, and Rowan Atkinson.
Atkinson, who played an overzealous store clerk in the original film, reprises the character in the new mini-sequel, and is depicted convolutedly “gift wrapping” a £1 red nose leading to tooth-grinding frustration for his customers, as he blithely promises the purchase will be “ready in the jiffiest of jiffys.”
The short was directed by Curtis’s wife, Emma Freud, who has been sharing behind the scenes images on social media all week to build buzz.
Curtis said, “It seemed like a fun idea this year to do a special sketch based one of my films, since Red Nose Day is now in both the UK and America. I would never have dreamed of writing a sequel to Love Actually, but I thought it might be fun to do ten minutes to see what everyone is now up to.”
The trailer for the short was widely shared this week, and referenced the tearful scene at the close of the movie where Mark (Andrew Lincoln) appears outside the window of Juliet (Knightley) with a series of hand-written cue cards declaring his love for her. After she kisses him, he vows to leave her in peace, and Juliet goes back inside to her unsuspecting husband Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
The sequel starts with Knightley on the sofa with her husband Ejiofor when Lincoln appears at her doorstep with his cue cards again—and his new “wife” on his arm: Kate Moss.
Hugh Grant—unable to dance like he used to—takes a tumble down the stairs and closes out the short with his arm in a sling.
The film closes with a press conference, which starts with Grant announcing, “Times are tough. The Harry Potter films have finished, Piers Morgan is still alive.”
Grant then segues into fundraising mode, announcing: “I am optimistic…Wherever you see tragedy you see bravery too. Today is Red Nose day and people are giving their hard earned cash to people they have never met but whose pain they feel and fight.”
Of course, The Daily Beast readers (who have been paying attention) will know that Hugh Grant’s legendary dance scene very nearly never happened.
Richard Curtis told The Daily Beast on the occasion of the movie’s tenth anniversary, “The fault line was the dance, because there was no way he could do that in a prime ministerial manner. He kept on putting it off, and he didn’t like the song—it was originally a Jackson 5 song, but we couldn’t get it—so he was hugely unhappy about it.”