'Love Actually' director Richard Curtis now regrets how his films discuss women's bodies

He admitted he made wrong choices

Screenwriter Richard Curtis speaks at the VIP Opening Night Dinner during Advertising Week 2015 AWXII at the New York Friars Club on September 28, 2015 in New York City
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn is a celebrity and royal news writer for Marie Claire. As a London-based freelance journalist, she writes about wellness, relationships, pop culture, beauty and more for the likes of InStyle, Women's Health, Bustle, Stylist and Red. Aside from her quasi-personal investment in celebs' comings and goings, Iris is especially interested in debunking diet culture and destigmatising mental health struggles. Previously, she was the associate editor for Her Campus, where she oversaw the style and beauty news sections, as well as producing gift guides, personal essays and celebrity interviews. There, she worked remotely from Los Angeles, after returning from a three-month stint as an editorial intern for Cosmopolitan.com in New York. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she interned at goop and C California Style and served as Her Campus' national style and LGBTQ+ editor. Iris was born and raised in France by a French father and an English mother. Her Spotify Wrapped is riddled with country music and One Direction, and she can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.