Love Actually writer-director Richard Curtis, whose past films have been increasingly criticised, has said he regrets his negative commentary about women’s bodies and lack of diversity in his work.
During an appearance at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, per Today, he sat down with his daughter Scarlett Curtis, who is an activist and writer, for an interview.
The elder Curtis recalled “how shocked I was like five years ago when [my daughter] Scarlett said to me, ‘You can never use the word fat again.’”
“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,” he continued.
His daughter also addressed the”growing criticism” around the ways his work “treated women and people of color,” citing how Bridget Jones’ legs were described as having “tree-trunk thighs,” and how 1999’s Notting Hill featured a predominantly white cast set in “one of the birthplaces of the British black civil rights movement.”
In response, Curtis replied, “I think because I came from a very un-diverse school and a bunch of university friends, I think that I hung on to the feeling that I wouldn’t know how to write those parts. I think I was just stupid and wrong about that.” He added, “I felt as though me, my casting director, my producers just didn’t look outwards.”
Curtis previously criticized his own film last year during an ABC special with Diane Sawyer, “The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later,” and said that “there are things you’d change but, thank God, society is changing, so my film is bound, in some moments, to feel out of date.”