An essay on farts and 7 other deleted scenes from Love Actually

From Sam being a gymnastics star to the cut lesbian lovers, Ada McVean looks at what could have been part Love Actually, a Christmas classic.

love actually hugh grant

It has been nearly 20 years since Love Actually was released, and it has grown from being a quirky ensemble film to a much beloved holiday tradition for many. Its intertwining storylines showcasing love of all varieties invoke nostalgia and tug at our heartstrings. But do you know its eight deleted scenes? From Sam being a gymnastics star to the cut lesbian lovers, Ada McVean looks at what could have been part of this Christmas classic.

It’s Porn

love actually mia

Credit: Universal Pictures

In this cut scene, Mia (Heike Makatsch) visits her friend Mark’s (Andrew Lincoln) gallery as he opens the new art for his Christmas exhibit, only to find that it is “porn.” Mia confides in her friend that she is considering having an affair with her married boss. He advises her to respect sacred marriage vows.

This scene foreshadows Mark’s struggles being in love with a married Juliet (Keira Knightley) and the deliberateness with which Mia pursues Harry (Alan Rickman). It establishes a link between Mia and Mark, making later scenes clearer. With this scene, we establish that Mark owns a gallery or is friends with Mia. When Harry says he’ll dance with Mia “as long as [her] boyfriend doesn’t mind,” and the camera pans to Mark, it now makes more sense!

An Essay on Farts

love actually rowan atkinson

Credit: Universal Pictures

Bernard, Harry and Karen’s son, is unhappy at being cast as an Angel in the nativity play since they’re “made up rubbish.” His mum pushes back, suggesting that angels might be real, but in disguise—“these days they probably don’t have wings.”

This interaction was cut along with a storyline that would have seen Rufus (Rowan Atkinson) as an angel! Knowing this, some of Rufus’ actions make a touch more sense—he takes forever wrapping, hoping Harry will walk away without the necklace, and blatantly distracts the airport agent to allow Sam (Thomas Sangster) through.

Next, we see Harry and Karen (Emma Thompson) discussing their son when Karen asks, “when did my bottom stop being my bottom and turn into Britain’s second-largest seaport?” Harry reprimands her, “don’t be rude. I’ve invested a lot of time and emotion into that bottom.” A simple exchange of banter that shows the love between Harry and Karen, that, of course, also makes his betrayal all that more painful.

Karen and Bernard then meet with the headmistress to discuss his Christmas wish of everyone’s farts being visible. Karen pulls him into the hallway ostensibly to reprimand him and instead laments that no one at the school can understand his “high-class comedy,” we get a lovely look at a non-romantic form of love between mother and son.

Famous Fool and Paris

Love actually alan rickman

Credit: Universal Pictures

Harry’s graphic design office has two massive photographs on the walls, and two clips showing the scenes behind them were cut. One depicts two women, burdened with sticks, walking in the desert, the other a man staring at his dead crops. We would expect the harsh realities to dominate their mental real estate, but when we zoom into their stories, we see how love is omnipresent, even in unexpected places at unexpected times. One old woman talks lovingly of her husband, a “famous fool.” And the man is assured he has not let his wife down. She quips that they can move—“Paris is very nice this time of year.” 

Many of the scenes that didn’t make the film seem to be those that harkened strongest back to the story’s thesis, that “love actually is all around us.” It’s understandable why runtime and plot simplicity saw these two cuts, but they are elegant reminders of what Love Actually is actually trying to tell us.

Lesbian Love

This deleted scene saw Bernard’s strict headmistress heading home with groceries to cook dinner for her terminally ill partner. We see the two of them in comfortable domestic happiness. She complains about Bernard’s essay, which her partner thinks is hilarious, and admits that it has an amusing side. We later see them in bed cuddling and then cut to Karen addressing an auditorium about the Headmistress’ partner Geraldine, who has passed away.

Harkening back to the film’s thesis, this cut plotline encourages us to imagine people complexly. Even the scary headmistress’s life is full of love and loss.

Christmas Pudding

love actually laura linney

Credit: Universal Pictures

This scene adds beautiful depth to Sarah (Laura Linney) and Michael’s (Michael Fitzgerald) relationship, even as it breaks our hearts.

Sarah sits with Michael in the hospital and tells him about their dad and the Christmas pudding. How he hated it, how their mother insisted on making it anyways, and her brother has a moment of clarity. The siblings reminisce about their mother’s terrible cooking.

He asks, “How are you, Blondie?” and Sarah lies, “great, everything is great.” A simple way to demonstrate her unquestioning willingness to do anything for her brother’s benefit. He responds, “Great. I’m in Hell.” 

Just remember, it’s OK to cry at Christmas.

I’m 94

Love Actually

Credit: Universal Pictures

Classic Billy Mack—Billy (Bill Nighy) and manager Joe are meeting with record executives to appeal for more money to fund their advertising in their quest for number one. Mack wastes no time, sexually harassing the female executive, Gina, asking her if she’s “ever given a very old man a blow job?” We don’t even find out whether he got the funds or not.

Airport Acrobat

love actually sam

Credit: Universal Pictures

Unfortunately, Sam’s gymnastic prowess fell prey to the cutting room floor. This talent comes in handy during the final airport scene as he chases Joanna to profess his love. How? You might need to see it to believe it, but think cartwheels, parallel bar turns, and general gymnastic prowess. Just try to ignore the clearly adult-sized legs of the stunt double during the tricks. It might be for the best this plotline got the axe, but thankfully we got to see this scene.

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