If you ranked every romcom ever made, a large percentage of the population would argue that Four Weddings and a Funeral should come out on top. But if Richard Curtis had had his way, the iconic film may have looked very different – particularly when it came to the casting.
Here are 7 things you might not know about the 1994 cinema hit – including the original actor who was going to be given the lead role…
Hugh Grant wasn’t first choice to play Charles
Speaking at the recent Cheltenham Literature Festival, writer Richard Curtis revealed that he would have actually preferred the late, great Alan Rickman as his leading man. ‘We auditioned 70 people,’ he recalled. ‘Eventually it was down to Hugh and Alan Rickman and I went for Alan but I was outvoted. I just thought Hugh was a bit annoying, too good looking, a bit posh,’ he said. ‘I was right about all of those things but he is also very good.’
Andie MacDowell drew inspiration from a very famous actress
For the role of Carrie, Andie told Entertainment Weekly shortly after the film’s release that she drew on Katharine Hepburn’s performances to get her into character. ‘This is the kind of role she would have played 40 years earlier,’ she explained. ‘She was forthright, the one with power and intelligence and the guts to say and do exactly what she wanted.’
And she’s still defending THAT rain line to this day
The dialogue is Four Weddings has always been the subject of much conversation (well, what do you expect when of the first 38 words, 12 are ‘f*ck’ and one is ‘f*ckity’?) – but there’s one line that attracted more criticism than most: ‘Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.’ Andie, however, has defended the line, which has regularly been voted the worst of all time, declaring to the Daily Mail: ‘The character was so in love, she wasn’t thinking about the fricking rain.’
There’s a reason you never find out what any of the characters do for a living
It’s a complaint of many a fan that you don’t get this element of back story – but Richard says it was a deliberate choice. ‘My argument was that when you’re hanging around with your friends, you don’t explain who you are,’ he said. ‘You don’t say, “Hello, Charles Bennett. How’s life at the bank since your father died?”‘
The budget for the film was tiny
Okay, so to most of us £2.7 million doesn’t sound tiny – but in the film world, that’s not a lot of cash. In fact, funds were so tight that Rowan Atkinson played the vicar at two different weddings, and extras in the scenes were asked to wear their own clothes to the ‘big day’. However, the movie went on to take £150m at the box office.
It sparked sales outside of the cinema too
Wet Wet Wet’s ‘Love Is All Around’ was at No 1 in the singles charts for 15 weeks following the film’s release – and that’s not all. John Hannah (Matthew)’s moving recitation of W H Auden’s poem ‘Funeral Blues’ led to the publication of a tie-in edition of Auden’s poetry, Tell Me The Truth About Love, which sold more than 275,000 copies.
The title could have been very different
Curtis previously told The Guardian that studio execs were ‘concerned about the title because it ‘could turn off men’ – ‘I can’t think of anything men would rather do less than go to four weddings back to back,’ one reportedly said. Other options would have been True Love and Near Misses, Loitering in Sacred Places and Rolling in the Aisles. To be honest, we can’t imagine any of those on the poster…