For those who don’t remember, Love Actually was a 2003 film by Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Notting Hill) and is fondly remembered in pop culture for being one of the few romantic comedies that can be enjoyed even by those who usually hate the genre. It also featured a host of names such as Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who would go on to become huge stars in their own right.
Over the years, fans of the film have periodically called upon Curtis for a sequel and it was recently announced that one would indeed be forthcoming, albeit as a 15-minute short film that would air as part of the Red Nose Day charity event. Red Nose Day is a comedy-based telethon masterminded by Curtis that has been running in the U.K. since the 1980s and has recently made the trip over the Atlantic to the U.S.
The Love Actually sequel — referred to here as Red Nose Day Actually — will be shown in the States on May 25, and in order to promote both the short film and the Red Nose Day event, a poster has been released by EW. Cleverly, the image is a modern recreation of the first movie’s poster from over a decade ago. It features a barely-aged Liam Neeson, clearly on a break from rescuing his daughter, Bridget Jones rivals Colin Firth and Hugh Grant and a bearded Andrew Lincoln who looks like he’s just survived an apocalypse or something.
By recycling the design of the old poster, Curtis has tapped into the element of nostalgia that is undoubtedly the driving force behind the high level of interest in this mini-sequel. Nostalgia is often a dirty word when it comes to movie sequels, with filmmakers often keen to avoid being seen as artistically stale. However, since this short piece is part of a charity event, Curtis avoids that issue entirely and can completely afford to revel in, rather than attempt to dodge, the nostalgic excitement for the Love Actually sequel.
Of course, some fans of the original movie who were hoping for a bona fide, feature-length, cinematic follow up to the classic romantic comedy may be somewhat disappointed that a 15-minute charity sketch is all they’re getting, and certainly this move dashes any hopes of a genuine sequel.
However, given the ensemble cast and interlacing narratives of Love Actually, attempting to put together a genuine and worthwhile follow up would be an almost impossible task and would destroy the ‘happily ever after’ many of the first film’s couples received. The Red Nose Day special seems like a happy compromise.
Red Nose Day airs May 25 on NBC.