Hugh Grant Gets Real About Filming Love Actually's Most 'Excruciating' Scene

The Oscar-nominated actor described the sequence as a "contractual guillotine".
Hugh Grant in Love Actually
Hugh Grant in Love Actually

Watching Hugh Grant throwing shapes around the Houses of Parliament is a moment many of us look forward to reliving every Christmas, but it turns out the man himself isn’t such a fan.

Back in 2002, Hugh played a fictional PM in the festive rom-com Love Actually, a film role which required him to bust some moves in an iconic dance sequence set to the Pointer Sisters’ Jump (For My Love).

The cast of Love Actually recently sat down for a reunion special to mark the film’s 20th anniversary, with the Oscar nominee branding his most famous scene a “contractual guillotine” and “excruciating”.


In a preview clip shared with People magazine, Hugh recalled: “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.”

Hugh Grant dances up a storm in Love Actually
Hugh Grant dances up a storm in Love Actually
Universal/Dna/Working Title/Kobal/Shutterstock

Director Richard Curtis said: “[Hugh] kept saying no! 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’.”

Richard also shared that Hugh was especially “grumpy” on the day the scene was shot, but said he went ahead with it as it was a “contractual obligation”.

“A contractual guillotine, yes,” Hugh agreed. “And I’m out of rhythm, by the way, especially at the beginning when I wiggle my ass.”

He also shared that it was actually his idea his character be caught in the act by his secretary, adding: “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.”

Back in 2019, Hugh described filming his dance sequence as “absolute hell”, admitting he went to great lengths to avoid rehearsing his moves.

Still, it can’t have been all that bad, as he previously recreated the moment for Love Actually’s Comic Relief mini-sequel back in 2017.

In the first trailer for the upcoming Love Actually special, Dame Emma Thompson shared Hugh’s reaction to watching the film for the first time – and it wasn’t exactly festive.

The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later – A Diane Sawyer Special will air on ABC in the US on 29 Nov (and be available on-demand on Hulu the next day). A UK transmission has yet to be announced.

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