“Bridget Jones’s Diary” And “Love Actually” Writer Regrets Those Fat Jokes
Richard Curtis, the renowned writer and director behind popular films like “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Love Actually,” has expressed regret over the fat-shaming jokes present in some of his works. While many of Curtis’ films have been praised by critics, the inclusion of fat-related plotlines has sparked criticism.
In “Love Actually,” a plotline revolves around Natalie’s appearance, portrayed by Martine McCutcheon. The characters in the film discuss the size of her buttocks and thighs, even referring to her as “the chubby girl.” Similarly, “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” starring Renée Zellweger as a British woman navigating her romantic life, heavily focuses on and makes jokes about the character’s weight.
During a recent interview, Curtis addressed the issue of weight in his films, although it remains unclear which specific films he was referring to. According to Today.com, he shared a conversation with his daughter, Scarlett Curtis, who is an activist and writer. Scarlett advised Curtis against using the word “fat” in his films, which led him to reflect on his past work. “I think I was behind, you know, behind the curve, and those jokes aren’t any longer funny, so I don’t feel I was malicious at the time, but I think I was unobservant and not as, you know, as clever as I should have been,” Curtis admitted.
Not only Curtis, but the stars of his films have also spoken out about the focus on their characters’ weights. Renée Zellweger revealed in a 2016 interview with British Vogue that she gained weight for her role in “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” emphasizing that Bridget’s weight is normal and questioning why it is such a significant issue. In a 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan UK, Martine McCutcheon discussed her portrayal of Natalie in “Love Actually,” expressing that her character was meant to be seen as beautiful and highlighting the unrealistic pressure women face regarding their appearances.
Furthermore, Curtis acknowledged the lack of diversity in his film “Notting Hill,” admitting that he was wrong to overlook this issue. He confessed that he held onto the misconception that he couldn’t write diverse characters, realizing his error in judgment.
Curtis’ reflection on the fat jokes and lack of diversity in his films shows a willingness to learn from past mistakes and be more mindful in future projects.