Since it takes place around Christmas, the film Love Actually becomes an online conversation topic every holiday season. In December 2020, however, still more people became aware of a scene that didn’t make it into the movie’s final cut.
In the original version of the movie’s climactic scene, Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) would not just have run across Heathrow Airport to catch up to his crush Joanna (Olivia Olson), but used gymnastics to flip past several hapless security guards to reach her.
This deleted version of the scene is not exactly a secret; the movie ticketing company Fandango uploaded it to YouTube in 2003, alongside commentary from director Richard Curtis:
In the original draft of the movie there were lots of mentions about the fact that Sam, the little boy, was a brilliant gymnast, and you casually saw him when he was sad being brilliant at gym — doing double twists and turns and not getting any joy out of it at all. And so when it came to the airport and he had to rush through the airport he brought his gymnastics prowess into play. This is a very rough edit of how he would have been the Nadia Comanecci/Olga Korbut of the movie. It just goes from the moment that they arrive at the airport to sort of the moment that he sees Joanna, with a lot more physical stuff.
Curtis’ account is also mentioned in the movie’s IMDb page:
Originally, this movie had some small scenes that showed Sam as being a brilliant gymnast. The ending where he rushes through the airport to see Joanna would involve a long chase where he dodges objects and people through a series of jumps and gymnastic moves. All allusions to Sam’s physical talent were eventually removed, and the special effects-heavy end scene was cut back to what is seen in the movie.
(As another deleted layer to that scene, the IMDB page also mentions that Rowan Atkinson’s character Rufus the Jewelry Salesman, who provides a helpful distraction to set up Sam’s dash, was originally written to be an angel.)
The deleted scene was covered, actually in 2015 by the pop culture blog PopSugar, which noted, “as entertaining as the deleted scene may be, we have to say, we’re happy with the more realistic final edit.”
But in December 2020, social media discovered the sequence yet again, when actor Joshua Wichard posted to Twitter, “If you’ve ever watched #LoveActually then I BEG you please watch this — this is genuinely the original version of the final airport scene.”
A separate entertainment news site, Tyla, covered the latest moment of online rediscovery while pointing out that some viewers were less than charitable.”
“I genuinely thought that sequence couldn’t be stupider,” one person wrote. “And yet here we are.”