One of the most belovedto tumble out of the stocking each year could have looked very different. 2003’s Love Actually, written and directed by Richard Curtis, has a deleted scene that does the rounds annually, revealing a bizarre backstory for one of the main characters.
In the scene, Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), the young boy who’s fallen in love with American classmate Joanna (Olivia Olson), races through the airport to tell her how he feels before she returns to the US. In the deleted version of this scene, Sam is shown to be a trained gymnast, who flips through a security gate, cartwheels over luggage and swings down from a second-level walkway like he’s doing an uneven bars routine at the Olympics.
Yes, this is real.
“In the film, there’s a little boy [Thomas]. His dad, Liam Neeson, and he are talking and there’s a throwaway line which is, ‘I’m off to gym club, Dad,’ and in the boy’s bedroom on the wall, there’s gymnastics pictures,” stunt coordinator Lee Sheward told Metro in 2020.
Sheward said the production had to construct a whole airport terminal in Shepperton Studios and fitted isometric bars into the roof structure. Then stunt performers acted out the jumping, vaulting and tumbling.
But the sequence didn’t fit in the finished film.
“Although he did apologise to me when I saw him next, Richard Curtis dropped it from the final cut because he said it didn’t really feel like that sort of movie,” Lee said. “So all the expense, cost of building and shooting it all isn’t in the film!”
Based on these reactions, Curtis made the right decision.
“The body double is so blatantly a full grown adult,” one Twitter user wrote.
“I always switch from running to cartwheels when I need a burst of speed,” wrote another.
“I’m torn between absolutely believing this is real and not believing this could possibly be real,” another user wrote.