With About Time, how did this first come together? What were the origins of the story? What pieces of it did you originally envision and then build around?
Curtis: It was… It was a slow growth. I had a lunch with a friend of mine called Simon, who lives in New Mexico and I don’t see him very often. He came over. And we tend to talk properly. We were talking about whether or not we were happy. I slightly surprised myself by saying, “Not really…”
Curtis: Just happy, in life. Was life making you happy? And we then had a discussion about what would constitute a perfect day. And he was saying what he would do. And I was saying that I used to think a perfect day would be flying to Monte Carlo and having a date with Grace Kelly and winning a million pounds and getting a text saying, “You’ve been nominated for an Oscar.” And now I hate all of that. It’s too scary and strangers…
And, sort of, the day we were having was the perfect day. I was just having lunch with my best friend. I had taken my kids to school. I was going to have dinner with the family. I thought then for the next week that would be a subject I should really write about—how to be happy; how you achieve happiness in ordinary life rather than always looking for extra, big things and achievements to make you happy.
- Interview: ‘About Time’ Writer & Director Richard Curtis on Happiness by Alex Billington