Love Actually Director Reveals The Huge Secret He Kept From Martine McCutcheon Prior To Filming

The former EastEnders star also admitted suffering from imposter syndrome before shooting her role as Natalie.

Love Actually director Richard Curtis has revealed he kept a big secret from a nervous Martine McCutcheon after she signed on for the film.

The former EastEnders star appeared Hugh Grant’s love interest Natalie in the 2003 festive rom-com.

And while she admitted to having imposter syndrome appearing alongside a number of Hollywood stars, Richard originally hid the fact he’d written the part of Natalie especially for her.

Martine played Natalie in Love Actually
Martine played Natalie in Love Actually

Richard made the revelation in a video to promote a Love Actually quiz in aid of Comic Relief, explaining that the scripts had been written using Martine’s real name.

“When I was writing the film, I was absolutely determined that Martine was going to play the woman that Hugh Grant fell in love with,” he said.

“It was only when we were about to have the read-through, which was actually sort of going to be her audition, that I suddenly realised I had called the character Martine.

“So literally the day before, we did that sort of ‘change all’ thing on the computer. [We] changed everything to ‘Natalie’ suddenly, and then hoped it would be okay, because we didn’t want Martine to see the part was for her and then do so badly and be sad for the rest of her life.

“But she was absolutely perfect at the read-through, as we expected,” he added.

Reflecting on joining the cast, Martine also said: “I spent most of my life with imposter syndrome thinking I was going to be kicked out of anywhere fabulous.

“I remember calling him and saying, ’I don’t know if I’m going to be able to hold my own for this first rehearsal today. I can do theatre and TV, but movies with these huge stars and Oscar winners, and the heart throb of all time, Hugh Grant – will I be able to hold my own?

“[Richard] told me, ‘Oh shut up, we wrote the part for you, and Hugh can’t wait to meet you, and wanted you to be a part of it all along’.”


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