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29th Nov 2023

Real reason Rowan Atkinson took so long to wrap gift in legendary Love Actually scene

Stephen Porzio

Love Actually

It wasn’t just because it was delightful to watch.

As we move into December, that means Christmas is around the corner – so now is the time to revisit those classic festive movies to get you in a merry mood.

One of the most famous of these films, but also the most divisive is Love Actually – with viewers 20 years after its release still split as to whether its supremely entertaining with its mix of romance, comedy and Christmas elements or if its overly saccharine and silly.

Focusing on the love lives of a variety of different characters in the run-up to December 25, one of the most memorable parts of the movie is the plot-line involving Karen (Emma Thompson), whose husband Harry is having an affair with his secretary.

Harry is played by Alan Rickman, making this another Christmas movie where he played a villain after Die Hard.

And in one scene in this subplot, Harry tries to buy a fancy necklace for his secretary while Karen is nearby doing the Christmas shopping.

This is why Rowan Atkinson took ages to wrap the gift in Love Actually

While the husband thinks it will be simple transaction, a salesman named Rufus (played by Mr. Bean himself Rowan Atkinson) insists on gift wrapping the necklace in a hilariously elaborate fashion – leading to Harry almost being found out.

And if you ever wondered why Rufus takes so long to wrap the gift, despite Harry’s pleas for him to hurry, there was in an initial draft of Love Actually more of a reason for this.

In a Twitter post in 2015, the movie’s script editor Emma Freud revealed: “Originally Rowan’s character over-wrapped the gift on purpose to stop Alan Rickman being able to buy the necklace. Because he was an angel.”

This makes extra sense given that the character of Rufus later appears in the film, distracting airport security so that young boy Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) can rush past them and say goodbye to his class crush (Olivia Olson) before she flies back to the US.

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