But hearts broke when it was revealed that Emma Thompson, who played Karen, the betrayed wife of Alan Rickman’s character Harry, wouldn’t be taking part in the special. It meant that we wouldn’t get to see what had happened to her character, the Prime Minister’s sister, in the years since 2003.
Up until now, the actress has withheld from commenting on her reasons for not being a part of the sequel. But now Emma has revealed the real reason why she chose not to take part in the sequel – and it’s truly heartbreaking.
Thompson has admitted that it’s just too sad for her to do the film without Alan, who died in January 2016. She revealed that the director, Richard Curtis, first mentioned the difficulty, saying, “Richard wrote to me and said ‘Darling we can’t write anything for you because of Alan’ and I said ‘No of course, it would be sad, too sad'”.
“It’s too soon. It’s absolutely right because it’s supposed to be for Comic Relief, but there isn’t much comic relief in the loss of our dear friend really only just over a year ago.”
She also questioned what the couple, who at the end of the original film were suffering from the fall-out Harry’s infidelity, would actually be doing now.
Emma said, “We thought and thought but it just seemed wrong but to revisit the wonderful fun characters of Bill Nighy and Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson and all of that, that’s fantastic, but obviously what would he have done?
“Both of them would be in therapy by now and I would be working on some kind of ward. It was absolutely the right decision.”
Aside from Love Actually, the two actors had been close friends for years, having starred in both Harry Potter and Sense and Sensibility (1995) together. Emma was also one of the first people there when Alan died last year, and at the time, actually released a statement in tribute to her friend – which brought a tear to everyone’s eye…
She wrote, “Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye.”
“What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom, and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word.
“He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him.
“He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”
Stars like Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, and Colin Firth have all signed up to take part in the sequel, Comic Relief Actually – so make sure to catch it on BBC One on 24th March.