One Love Actually Scene Was Especially Frustrating For Alan Rickman

For his role in “Love Actually,” Alan Rickman played Harry, a husband and father working at a design agency, who is enticed by the flirtations of his secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch). While Christmas shopping with his wife Karen (Emma Thompson), Harry sneaks away to purchase jewelry for Mia. However, his plan to discretely pick up this gift before Karen returns is temporarily thwarted thanks to a store clerk named Rufus, played by the legendary Rowan Atkinson of “Mr. Bean” fame.

Speaking with Diane Sawyer during the special (via Vanity Fair), Richard Curtis revealed that Harry’s annoyance with Rufus mirrored the actor’s real-life feelings for his scene partner. Apparently, despite being a highlight of the film that many fondly look back on, Rickman didn’t find Atkinson’s antics to be amusing at the time. In fact, as Atkinson would continue to improvise and draw out the scene, Rickman found each unnecessary flourish to be more and more grating. The filmmaker recalled:

“Rowan was just taking his time, so he would do 11-minute takes. [He would say], ‘Let’s go back and do that. Let’s start again.’ And poor Alan was there all the time going, ‘Grr, ugh.'”

I can absolutely picture Rickman making his annoyed Severus Snape face at Mr. Bean for the duration of this shooting day. At least it all worked out in the end, since the realism of the situation lends itself perfectly to the scene.

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