Richard Curtis is a beloved director and screenwriter of romantic comedies, but that doesn't mean he stands by everything that went into some of his most famous films — especially ones from the early noughties such as Love Actually and Bridget Jones' Diary.
In the intervening years since these two movies were first released (2003 and 2001, respectively), they have made the object of a lot of criticism because of issues such as their lack of diversity and the way women are portrayed in them — and Richard is the first to admit he missed the mark.
"I remember how shocked I was five years ago when Scarlett said to me: 'You can never use the word 'fat' again," the filmmaker said at the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham literature festival (via The Guardian).
"Wow, you were right. In my generation, calling someone chubby [was funny] — in Love Actually there were jokes about that. Those jokes aren’t any longer funny."
In that film, Martine McCutcheon's character, Natalie, is repeatedly body-shamed, with another female character commenting that she has a "sizeable arse" and "huge thighs," among other uncomfortable (and frankly unacceptable) moments.
For additional context, Richard's daughter Scarlett Curtis is the writer of Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and Other Lies), and — like many millennial women — takes it upon herself to open her dad's eyes to the way social perspectives have shifted over the years.
Richard was also asked about the absence of people of colour in the cast of Notting Hill, and whether he regretted that decision.
"Yes, I wish I’d been ahead of the curve," he said. "Because I came from a very undiverse school and bunch of university friends, I think that I’ve hung on, on the diversity issue, to the feeling that I wouldn’t know how to write those parts. I think I was just sort of stupid and wrong about that."
Richard has also worked on Four Weddings and a Funeral, About Time, The Boat That Rocked, Yesterday, and many more.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
The 5 biggest claims from Endgame, the explosive new royal book from Omid Scobie
It has been making a lot of headlines this week
By Lauren Hughes
Sabrina Carpenter had a hilarious justification for controversial church music video
By Iris Goldsztajn
To officially kick off the festive season, our two expert editors name these 7 beauty gifts the best of the best
Welcome to a Christmas special Beauty Desk Drop
By Shannon Lawlor