More than a decade after the original movie was released, Love Actually is back. The 10-minute follow-up to Richard Curtis’ beloved Christmas classic will premiere March 24 during Britain’s Red Nose Day telethon, hence its name: Red Nose Day Actually.
The short movie, which was also written by Curtis, revisits many of the romantic comedy’s best-loved characters to find out what they’re up to 14 years later. “I would never have dreamt of writing a sequel to Love Actually, but I thought it might be fun to do 10 minutes to see what everyone is now up to,” Curtis told the The Hollywood Reporter. “Who has aged best? — I guess that’s the big question.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the Love Actually reunion:
Why is it back?
The Love Actually sketch is part of Red Nose Day—a British charity telethon that uses live comedy, music and sketches to raise money and awareness for Comic Relief, a charity that supports children living in poverty in the U.K. and Africa.
The telethon, which was launched in 1988 and co-created by Curtis, takes place every two years. It often features a humorous revamp of a popular British or American television series—for example, a Downton Abbey spoof called Uptown Downstairs Abbey starred Kim Cattrall in 2011, or a special version of Mr Bean in 2009. This year’s Red Nose Day hosts include Lenny Henry, Warwick Davis and Miranda Hart—even James Corden will play a role.
In 2013, the first ever U.S. Red Nose Day, a three-hour show live broadcast on NBC, featured a duet between Ed Sheeran and Kermit the Frog, Gwyneth Paltrow stuck in a harness and a Game of Thrones musical written by Coldplay.
Will the original Love Actually cast make an appearance?
Yes. Many members of the star-studded cast are returning, including Rowan Atkinson, Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson (who appears to be wearing the same turtleneck he wore in the original), Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Martine McCutcheon and Hugh Grant.
Even Joanna, the girl Thomas Brodie-Sangster chased to the airport, is back:
Wait a second. Is Hugh Grant still the prime minister?
It looks like it, although we don’t know for sure. Photos posted on Twitter by script editor Emma Freud, who is Curtis’ wife, show Grant reprising his role as the charismatic British politician (who is often compared to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) as he stands in front of a crowd at what looks like a press conference.
Freud confirmed in a tweet that Grant is still with his original love interest Natalie, played by Martine McCutcheon. “Our pm is still married. And she’s still lovely,” Freud wrote.
And, for fans of Grant’s iconic dancing scene in the original, McCutcheon revealed in a recent interview that the star will be busting some moves once again. “Yes [he will be dancing again] and he was dreading it,” McCutcheon told TV Times. “But what is so lovely is that he is so good but he always gets so nervous about everything because he wants it to be perfect. He knows that people deserve his best.”
Is anyone not returning?
Tragically, Alan Rickman, who played Emma Thompson’s unfaithful husband Harry, passed away last year after battling cancer. Thompson, his onscreen wife and offscreen close friend, is not going make an appearance in the reunion because it’s “too soon.”
“Richard [Curtis, the writer] wrote to me and said ‘darling we can’t write anything for you because of Alan’ and I said ‘no of course, it would be sad, too sad’,” Thompson told the BBC. “It’s too soon. It’s absolutely right because it’s supposed to be for Comic Relief but there isn’t much comic relief in the loss of our dear friend really, only just over a year ago,” she added.
The lovable Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall) is also sadly absent from the revival. Why? “I’m assuming that he’s in prison now,” Curtis told the Radio Times in an interview.
Is Andrew Lincoln’s character still obsessed with Keira Knightley?
Unclear. But it’s unlikely he managed to make it work with the girl of his dreams, as pictures from the set show Keira Knightley (who played Juliet) happily hanging out with her onscreen husband Peter, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Lincoln recreated his iconic Love Actually‘s scene for a 19-second, now-viral teaser for the reunion. The footage shows Lincoln using cue cards to announce Red Nose Day Actually in the same way he confessed his love for Knightley’s character in the original movie.
The trope of using cue cards to make an announcement à la Love Actually has been spoofed by SNL a couple of times over the years, from Pete Davidson confessing his love to Amy Adams in 2014 to last Christmas’ now-viral sketch where Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton tries to woo a member of the electoral college at the last minute.
When can I watch it?
The Love Actually reunion will be broadcast on the U.K.’s BBC One on March 24, but if you’re not in the country it will undoubtedly find its way online shortly afterward. It will also be broadcast on NBC as part of Red Nose Day U.S. on May 25 this year.