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The A To Z Of Richard Curtis
Four weddings, a funeral, a horse, a hound and a whole lot of Bernards

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D
Dead On Time

This 1983 comedy short, co-written with his Oxford pal Rowan Atkinson, was Curtis's entrée to the world of filmmaking. He wouldn't get behind the camera until Love Actually two decades later, but those formative years taught key lessons. "Firstly," he advises would-be filmmakers, "call your girl characters by girls' names and your boy characters by boys' names". Hence, you'll never see Hugh Grant or Domhnall Gleeson playing a 'Sam' or an 'Alex' on Curtis's watch. "Secondly," he adds, "hand your work in to someone you think will love your script." With Four Weddings And A Funeral, Curtis and his girlfriend watched 100 films before the eureka moment came during a TV movie directed by Mike Newell. "We had to see the thing that our film would be like," he remembers, admitting that his eventual move from typewriter to camera was always in the stars. "Many of the comedies I like the most, from Woody Allen to Monty Python, have been directed by the people who wrote them," he tells Empire. "So it was quite a logical thing."

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