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Romance more realistic than movies on serial killers: Curtis

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

He is the man behind frothy, happily ever after romances, the one who brought an "it can happen" element to a Hollywood star telling her shopowner boyfriend, "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

If that pivotal, but admittedly soppy scene, from "Notting Hill", with playing the top Hollywood star to Hugh Grant's shy bookstore owner, rings true, it is entirely to and his pen.

For the British screenwriter-filmmaker, with hits such as "Four Weddings And A Funeral", "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually" behind him, "romance is more realistic than movies made on serial killers".

He said he is unable to comprehend the argument that serious films are more real than romantic comedies.

"I am so lucky that people watch my films again and again. I disagree that romantic films are not realistic. It is so strange that someone makes a movie about a serial killer -- there have been only three of them in the history -- and everybody says, 'Oh, that is terribly realistic' as if the world is full of murderers and haters," Curtis told over phone from

There would probably be 40 million people in falling in love "in this very moment", he said.

"I think romance is much closer to the truth of how we live our lives than some of the very serious movies that are considered to be dealing with reality," said the 61-year-old.

"Notting Hill", the 1999 Julia Robert-hit film set in London's Notting Hill, will be shown on PIX as a part of a special at 8 pm tomorrow.

Grant has been a particular favourite of Curtis, a successful partnership that started in 1994 with "Four Weddings and a Funeral".

Curtis said he did not want to cast the in the film as Grant was "too handsome" to play a man unlucky in love.

"We had dinner last night in Hugh is old now although he is still very good looking. He turned out to be one of the great romantic actors but my worry was that he was too handsome.

"I was writing about someone who has trouble getting the girl. It would be hard to believe that he would have trouble in getting the girl. But when somebody acts well, it does not matter. I was definitely wrong."

Curtis went on to repeat Grant and many of his other actors such as in his subsequent films. Grant also featured in "Bridget Jones' Diary", which Curtis wrote with Helen Fielding, and "Love Actually".

"My films are quite tricky to cast because you want actors who are not only great but they are also able to deliver the funny lines. I have seen some of the greatest actors but they don't have a funny bone.

"So when I find someone like Hugh or Bill, it is very tempting to cast them again, especially if there are actors like Bill, who have such a huge range. They turned out to be the perfect actors for me, so I stuck with them."

In a hilarious scene in "Notting Hill", Grant's character, who has come to meet Roberts, tries to pass off as a before a As Roberts nudges him to ask the right questions, he spots a magazine, and Hounds, and says he represents it.

Curtis is spot-on in depicting the impersonal and repetitive nature of events like press junkets.

The and Hounds reference comes again towards the end of the film.

"Initially, it was just Hugh talking to Julia. My said, 'Can you make it funnier?' and that's when I thought of the scene where he finally gets out of the room and the person tells him to interview everybody else as well. I wrote one funny scene but I ended up making it into two," he said.

Despite his reputation as a master of romance, Curtis has been more comfortable as a than a

"Writing is incredibly repetitive. It took me 300 days to write 'Notting Hill'. I would write 30 pages everyday. It is a strange job. The problem with directing, to be honest, is that I worried that I didn't have a good eye. I wish I had started directing earlier. I started too late. I just wish things were more beautiful."

The writer-said he was initially worried that his films were on the same theme of love and relationships. But over the years Curtis realised that his films have stood the test of time.

"You don't know when you are doing it but I am a happy old man," the filmmaker said when asked about his legacy.

"What shocks me is that movies are lasting. It is a surprise and a gift because it is not what I set out to do. I just wanted to make a good movie.

"Sometimes you worry that some of the movies are on the same theme but then I realise that friendship, love and family are the matters that I am close to. I would probably not be very good if I had tried to do something else..."

Curtis' directorial credits include "Love Actually" and "About Time".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 14:45 IST