Love Actually is, without a doubt, one of the highlights of Hugh Grant’s career and this might be mostly because of the iconic dance that his character breaks into during the song Jump. However, an interesting fact about the film is that the actor was “hugely unhappy” about the sequence and reluctant to do it.
In the ABC News retrospective special titled The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later, the British actor shared that after reading the script, he did not “fancy doing the dance at all.”
The director of the modern-day Christmas staple, Richard Curtis, echoed the same and joked that “a contractual guillotine” forced Grant to film the scene.
Hugh Grant plays the role of a recently-elected UK PM
in Love Actually
In Love Actually, the London native portrays the character of David, a recently-elected UK PM. He eventually falls in love with Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), a junior staff member at 10 Downing Street.
The dance scene takes place after David gives a befitting reply to the US President (Billy Bob Thornton) earlier in the day. That same night, a radio station plays The Pointer Sisters’ track Jump (which won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1985) to honor David.
Upon listening to the song, the young PM breaks into an impromptu dance in the halls of his official residence. He is interrupted when Natalie walks in. This particular sequence of events has now become a memorable takeaway from the film.
Grant calls the dance sequence the "most excruciating scene ever"
When the host of the special, veteran broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer, prodded Grant about the scene, he said:
“I saw it in the script and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll hate doing that.’ I didn’t fancy doing the dance at all, let alone rehearsing it.”
The actor appears to hate the scene to this day, as he described it as “the most excruciating scene ever committed to celluloid.”
“To this day, there’s many people, and I agree with them, who think it’s the most excruciating scene ever committed to celluloid. But then some people like it.”
Meanwhile, Curtis said that Grant “kept saying 'no,'” and joked that the actor was “grumpy” on the day the scene was shot.
“I think he was hoping I’d get ill or something and we’d say, ‘Oh, well, what a shame, we’ll have to lose that dancing sequence.'”
He added that to watch Grant dance was “agonizingly embarrassing,” but “he’s just perfect.”
Grant, recently seen in the murder mystery Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery in a cameo, chimed in and pointed out:
“I’m out of rhythm, by the way. Especially at the beginning when I’m wiggling my a**.”
To note, it was the actor’s idea to have Natalie barge in and interrupt David’s dance.
All about Love Actually
Love Actually, currently streaming on Peacock, features an ensemble cast comprising Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson, along with Grant and McCutcheon.
The film is set more than a month before Christmas and deals with several aspects of love across 10 separate but interconnected stories. It opened to mixed reviews but did exceptionally well at the box office.
Made on a budget of $40–45 million, Love Actually earned a solid $246 million worldwide. As for accolades, it got a nod at the Golden Globe Awards in the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category.