30 Sweeping Facts About The Karate Kid

Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid (1984).
Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid (1984).
Columbia Pictures

You'd better start practicing those crane kicks again! More than 30 years after Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence faced off in one of cinema's most iconic showdowns, The Karate Kid is making a comeback. A sequel to the hit 1984 film (which has already spawned a few sequels, plus a remake) is making its way to YouTube Red as a new series, currently titled Cobra Kai, with both Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles.

According to Variety, "The 10-episode, half-hour series, coming to YouTube Red in 2018, picks up 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. A down-and-out Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo, reigniting his rivalry with a now successful Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi."

While we await more detail on the series, let's take a look back at the movie that started it all.

1. PAT MORITA WAS INITIALLY TURNED DOWN FOR THE ROLE OF MR. MIYAGI.

In the early 1980’s, Pat Morita was best known for his comedic work as Arnold, the restaurant owner on Happy Days. According to the 2013 book The Films of John G. Avildsen, Morita was Avildsen’s first choice for Miyagi; however, producer Jerry Weintraub felt that audiences would not take him seriously in the role due to his background in comedy. After Morita grew a beard and added a Japanese accent to his screen test, an impressed Weintraub had a change of heart and Morita was given the part.

2. DANIEL LARUSSO WAS ORIGINALLY DANIEL WEBBER.

Wait. What?!? It sounds blasphemous, but in original versions of The Karate Kid script, Daniel LaRusso's last name was Webber.

3. JOHNNY LAWRENCE WAS DONALD RICE.

While we’re at it, let’s get this out of the way, too: Johnny Lawrence’s name was originally Donald Rice.

4. "YOU’RE THE BEST" WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR A DIFFERENT MOVIE.

Although "You're the Best" will be forever tied to the montage of fight scenes during the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Joe Esposito’s song was originally written by Bill Conti and Allee Willis to be used in Rocky III. It was ultimately replaced with Survivor’s "Eye of the Tiger." Esposito revealed this information in a 2008 interview on the Adam Carolla Show where he said that "You're the Best" was turned down for use in the movie Flashdance as well, and was replaced with Michael Sembello’s "Maniac." The '80s truly had an embarrassment of riches when it came to montage songs.

5. FREDDY REALLY DID TAKE A SOCCER BALL TO THE FACE.

As Daniel and his new friends play soccer on the beach, his eye is caught by Ali Mills, the beautiful blonde from the Hills. Coolly trying to impress her, Daniel shows off his soccer skills only to have the ball knocked away by Freddy (played by Israel Juarbe). Watching closely, you’ll see that poor Freddy takes a direct hit to the face as he brings Daniel back to reality.

6. DANIEL’S ICONIC SHOWER COSTUME IS FORESHADOWED IN MIYAGI’S WORKSHOP.


YouTube

At the Halloween dance, Daniel mentions that his shower costume was made by a friend. The assumption that he’s referring to Mr. Miyagi is confirmed in the previous scene where parts of the shower costume can been seen hanging in the background as Miyagi prepares jack-o-lanterns in his workshop.

7. MANY OF THE FILM'S LOCATIONS ARE STILL INTACT AND LOOK MOSTLY THE SAME.


Google Maps/Columbia Pictures

A few sources provide fascinating photos of the current state of many filming locations used in The Karate Kid. For the most part, these California-based locations are still recognizable and look very much the same as they did back in the mid-1980s. For a complete look at these filming locations, visit itsfilmedthere.com or the Karate Kid Site at fast-rewind.com.

8. IT TOOK A WHILE TO DISCOVER THE FILMING LOCATION FOR MR. MIYAGI’S HOUSE.


YouTube

Although most filming locations from The Karate Kid had been found long ago, Mr. Miyagi’s house eluded avid location hunters for a long time.

Taking the art of finding filming locations to a whole new level, in 2014, one fan did some major sleuthing to finally confirm the location of Mr. Miyagi’s house, which was demolished in the late 1980s. 

9. MR. MIYAGI’S WORKSHOP WAS ACTUALLY A PARKING LOT.


Google Maps/Columbia Pictures

While the apartment complex itself looks very much the same in real life as it does in the film, one exception is the portion representing Mr. Miyagi's workshop. Opening to the exterior of the building, this area of the complex was actually an open parking area which was walled off for the sake of the film. Comparing a shot from the film to an image taken from Google Maps Street View, this transformation is very clear.

10. TWO RUN-INS WITH JOHNNY WERE DELETED FROM THE FILM’S FINAL CUT.

The original Karate Kid script includes two confrontations between Daniel and Johnny which were eventually cut from the film. The first takes place in the school cafeteria, just after Daniel has bought lunch for Ali. Seeing them about to take a seat, Johnny hurries over just in time to sneak a piece of blueberry pie onto Daniel’s chair. Standing up with his pants covered in blueberries, Daniel is equally embarrassed and livid. In a brave act of revenge, Daniel smears what is left of the pie across Johnny’s shirt and mayhem ensues. A photo from this scene can be found on the back of the B.B. Hiller novelization of The Karate Kid.


Amazon

The other scene occurs later in the film and also takes place at school. Coming up from a drink at the fountain, Daniel finds himself face to face with Johnny and stands up for himself once again by questioning the practices of the Cobra Kai.


Columbia Pictures

The original script reveals this exchange:

Daniel: We both know you can kick my ass seven ways from Sunday. So why do you still bother?
Johnny: Maybe ‘cause I like to.
Daniel: You ever think he might be wrong?
Johnny: Who?
Daniel: Your teacher.
Johnny: Watch your mouth, asshole.

11. MR. MIYAGI GAVE DANIEL A SWEET RIDE.


Columbia Pictures

Casual viewers of The Karate Kid know that Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel a cool yellow car for his birthday. Classic car enthusiasts may recognize this smooth ride as a 1948 Ford Super DeLuxe Club convertible.

12. CHUCK NORRIS DID NOT DECLINE THE ROLE OF JOHN KREESE.

It is widely rumored that Chuck Norris was initially considered for the part of Cobra Kai Sensei John Kreese, but turned down the role as he did not want to be associated with a character that represented martial arts in such a cruel and aggressive way. Norris has stated that he was never offered this role but likely would have turned it down for these reasons if he had been. Likewise, director John Avildsen does not recall Norris being offered the role.

13. SENSEI KREESE WAS A MILITARY VETERAN.

Upon Daniel’s first visit to the Cobra Kai dojo, he is faced with a wall full of awards recognizing the accomplishments of the students and their sensei. Among the plaques and trophies is a photograph showing Sensei Kreese wearing full military fatigues and recognizing him as “Karate Champion” and a U.S. Army captain from 1970-1972. Kreese’s military service is referenced again later in the Karate Kid trilogy when viewers are introduced to Terry Silver—a Vietnam veteran and successor to Kreese as the Cobra Kai sensei.

14. DANIEL WENT TO WEST VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL.


YouTube

Although the name of Daniel's school is never mentioned in the film, it is subtly referenced in a scene at his locker, just before he tells Ali about the "agreement" he has made with the Cobra Kai. A sticker inside the locker door suggests that Daniel attends West Valley High School.

15. ROCKET COMPUTERS WENT BANKRUPT.

Daniel and his mother moved to California as a result of her new job with Rocket Computers (“Flight to the future!”). The original script reveals why Freddy had “never heard of it” and also sheds some light on why it seems that Mrs. LaRusso might be an employee of the restaurant across from the Cobra Kai dojo.

As she shares with Daniel:

“They went bankrupt!...[But] listen to this. I walk out of Rocket with the beginning of Excedrin headache one through ten about to come on, and I’m going back to the car when this woman comes flying out of this restaurant, The Orient Express, and she’s screaming, ‘I quit! I quit!’ Right behind her is this guy and he’s yelling just as loud, ‘You can’t quit! You’re fired!’ It’s one minute to noon, people are coming in to lunch, I’m the first but only applicant — I got the job!”

When Daniel questions her new position as a waitress, his mother clarifies that she is not a waitress. She is a hostess.

16. MRS. LARUSSO READS VINTAGE MAGAZINES.

Mr. Miyagi stops by the LaRusso's apartment to fix the faucet and finds Daniel practicing karate. While Miyagi was surprised that Daniel was trying to learn karate from a book, it is also surprising that the magazine underneath the book was published in April 1969.

I guess this then-15-year-old Easter issue of Family Circle explains the bunny cake clipping seen hanging on the refrigerator door (although it doesn’t explain why the LaRussos were planning for Easter in September).

17. PAT MORITA DID NOT PERFORM THE CRANE KICK.

The tournament semi-finalists included Johnny Lawrence, Bobby Brown, Daniel LaRusso, and a character credited only as "Karate Semi-Finalist," played by black belt Darryl Vidal. Vidal shows off some flashy moves before being eliminated by Johnny, who advances to face Daniel in the final.

Vidal is now a 10th degree black belt and one of the most respected teachers in the sport. His involvement with The Karate Kid was not limited to the action seen in the tournament. Earlier, in one of the most memorable scenes from the film, Mr. Miyagi performs the crane kick from atop a wooden post on the beach as Daniel observes from a distance.

But it was not actually Morita on the post—it was Darryl Vidal, serving as his stunt double. These details are confirmed in the DVD commentary track and Vidal himself provided this information to the Karate Kid Site at fast-rewind.com: "I am the stunt double for the scene where Mr. Miyagi is on the post on the beach. It isn't noted in the cast list at the end where I am just listed as the semi-finalist. I am dressed in a body-suit, and bald-head wig."

18. DANIEL AND HIS FRIENDS HAVE AMAZING T-SHIRTS.


YouTube

Although Daniel hides his “No More Mr. Nice Guy” tee under a button-up, Freddy proudly wears his “Makin’ Bacon” shirt for all the world to see.

19. HAPPY GILMORE’S GRANDMA LIVES IN DANIEL’S APARTMENT BUILDING.


YouTube

Entering his new apartment building for the first time, Daniel stops to speak with a woman who reveals she is from Parsippany, New Jersey. Moments later, she provides Daniel with some less-than-clear directions to Mr. Miyagi’s workshop. You may recognize her as Frances Bay—the character actress who played Happy Gilmore’s grandmother.

20. A BAND FROM THE SOUNDTRACK APPEARS IN THE MOVIE.

The Karate Kid soundtrack includes the song "No Shelter" by the band Broken Edge. The band can be seen in the film playing on stage at the Halloween dance.

21. PAT JOHNSON WAS AN EXPERT, A REFEREE, AND A TOY

Pat Johnson was responsible for the choreography of The Karate Kid's fight scenes. Johnson, a well-known karate expert, also played the part of the referee in the film's final match. When the Remco line of Karate Kid action figures hit shelves in 1986, a figure based on Johnson as the tournament official was included in the Competition Center set.

22. THE KARATE KID INCLUDES SOME FAMOUS FAMILY TIES.


YouTube

Dutch, a member of the Cobra Kai, was played by Chad McQueen—on of legendary actor Steve McQueen.

Early in the film, Freddy invites Daniel to a beach party with his friends. Among those friends was Chucky, played by Frank Burt Avalon, who happens to be the son of singer and beach film veteran Frankie Avalon.


YouTube

At the Halloween dance, Daniel has a raw egg smashed on his head by a guy dressed as a chicken. The chicken boy was played by Todd Lookinland—brother of Mike Lookinland, Bobby of Brady Bunch fame.

Larry Drake, later of L.A. Law, is credited as "Yahoo #2," and you may also recognize Larry Scott from the original Revenge of the Nerds in the role of Jerry.

Lastly, although uncredited, actor Andrew Shue appears briefly as an arbitrary member of the Cobra Kai. He is the brother of Ali Mills herself, Elisabeth Shue.

23. IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL SOMEONE BRUISES HIS CHIN


YouTube

In the DVD commentary, Ralph Macchio suggests that the bruise seen on his chin is real—a result of a roundhouse kick that struck him during the Halloween night fight against some teens dressed up in skeleton costumes.

24. PAT MORITA'S GIVEN NAME IS USED IN THE CREDITS.

As previously mentioned, Morita was well-known prior to The Karate Kid for his comedy work on several TV shows, including a recurring stint as Ah Chew on Sanford and Son. Producer Jerry Weintraub suggested that Morita's credit in the film include his given name—Noriyuki—so as to sound more "ethnic." Therefore, the role of Mr. Miyagi is credited to Noriyuki "Pat" Morita.

25. THE TOURNAMENT VICTORY WAS NOT THE END.

The Karate Kid was not intended to conclude with Daniel's victory over Johnny at the tournament. The opening scene in the sequel The Karate Kid Part II, which sees a parking lot confrontation between Kreese and Miyagi, was the original film's original ending. Both B.B. Hiller's novelization of the film and early copies of the script conclude with Miyagi tweaking Kreese's nose and the members of the Cobra Kai dropping their belts around their defeated leader.

26. DANIEL SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISQUALIFIED ... MAYBE.

In an amazing breakdown written for overthinkingit.com, Matthew Belinkie considers the legality of the crane kick within the rules of a typical karate competition. According to Belinkie, competition rules prohibit participants from striking their opponent using "full power."

Going on to discuss this matter with an expert in karate competition, he confirms that in most cases, Daniel would have been disqualified as a result of the maneuver.

27. MANY OF THE ACTORS ARE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

Several of the original cast members are active on social media sites. Ralph Macchio chimes in on Twitter along with Martin Kove, William Zabka, and Tony O’Dell. On Facebook, Ron Thomas actively promotes his real-life dojo and martial arts training. If you follow any of these guys, you’re sometimes treated to behind-the-scenes gems like this.

28. THE MAIN CAST REUNITED FOR AN AWESOME MUSIC VIDEO.

What do you get when you combine Dennis Haskins from Saved By the Bell, the core of The Karate Kid cast, and the band No More Kings? You get the amazing 2007 music video for a song called "Sweep the Leg."

29. RALPH MACCHIO HAS POKED FUN AT HIS ENDURING KARATE KID CHARACTER.

In 2010, Ralph Macchio appeared in a video for Funny or Die as he humorously attempted to shed his "good guy" image.

30. A COMPLETE REHEARSAL OF THE FILM IS AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE.

Hold on to your seats, Karate Kid fans. If you weren't aware of this already, prepare to have your minds blown. An entire rehearsal of The Karate Kid is available to view on YouTube. Included in the run-through are several dialogue variations and a few scenes that didn't make it to the final cut of the film. If you're a diehard Karate Kid fan, you'll definitely want to check this out for yourself.

25 Surprising Facts About Love Actually

Bill Nighy stars in Love Actually (2003).
Bill Nighy stars in Love Actually (2003).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Though it’s officially classified as a romantic comedy, Love Actually—Richard Curtis’s intertwining tale of love and loss in London in the midst of the Christmas season—has become a staple of holiday movie marathons everywhere. Here are 25 things you might not have known about the hit 2003 film.

1. Love Actually‘s airport footage was shot with hidden cameras.

Footage of passengers being welcomed and embraced by loved ones at Heathrow Airport was shot on location with hidden cameras for a week. In the film’s DVD commentary, writer-director Richard Curtis explains that when something special was caught on camera, a crew member would race out to have its subjects sign a waiver so the moment might be included in Love Actually. This was a fitting production device, as Curtis claims that watching the love expressed at the arrival gate of LAX is what inspired him to write the ensemble romance in the first place.

2. Four plot lines were cut from Love Actually.

Curtis initially aimed to include 14 love stories in the film. Two were clipped in the scripting phase, but two were shot and cut in post. Those lost before production involved a girl with a wheelchair, and one about a boy who records a love song for a classmate who ultimately hooks up with his drummer. Shot but cut for time was a brief aside featuring an African couple supporting each other during a famine, and another storyline that followed home a school headmistress, revealing her long-time commitment to her lesbian partner.

3. A fifth of Love Actually is commonly cut from television broadcasts.

Martin Freeman in ‘Love Actually’ (2003)
Universal Studios

It might be of little surprise that the raciest element of this holiday movie rarely makes it on TV. The love story of John and Judy has Martin Freeman and Joanna Page playing a pair of stand-ins on an erotic drama. Their scenes have the pair mimicking sex acts, but even as simulations of simulated sex, their storyline is usually deemed too hot for TV.

4. Martine McCutcheon’s role in Love Actually was penned just for her.

Curtis wrote his screenplay with some stars in mind, including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and McCutcheon, the charismatic English ingénue best known for her role on BBC drama EastEnders. So sure was Curtis that he wanted McCutcheon for the role of the love interest to the Prime Minister that he had the character’s name as "Martine" in early drafts. Curtis explained in the DVD commentary that the name was changed to "Natalie" before McCutcheon’s audition, "so she wouldn’t get cocky."

5. Richard Curtis sent request letters to his American talent.

Laura Linney, Billy Bob Thornton, and Denise Richards received letters asking them to consider a role in the film. Both actresses were impressed by the unconventional move, but Linney told The Daily Beast she was even more flattered by its contents.

"I got a letter in the mail from Richard Curtis saying that he’d been trying to cast this part, and he’d kept saying to his partner, Emma Freud, that he’d been looking for a ‘Laura Linney-type,’ and she said, ‘Why don’t you ask Laura Linney?’"

6. Bill Nighy didn’t realize he had auditioned for Love Actually.

Bill Nighy in ‘Love Actually’
Peter Mountain, Universal Pictures

This was the first collaboration between Nighy and Curtis, with the former playing the shameless, comeback-seeking rocker Billy Mack. On the film’s 10-year anniversary, Nighy recalled to The Daily Beast, "I did a rehearsal reading of the script as a favor to the great casting director, Mary Selway, who had been trying to get me into a film for a long time. I thought it was simply to help her hear the script aloud and to my genuine surprise I was given the job."

7. Love Actually‘s actors had their own trailer park village during production.

"We didn’t all film together, but we had a big trailer park for all the cast," Nighy told The Guardian. "There were so many famous people in there, we used to talk about being on Liam Neeson Way or Emma Thompson Road or Hugh Grant Avenue. And it was a masterpiece of diplomacy, too; we all had the same size and type of trailer." Linney remembered the place having a warm sense of community.

8. One scene from Love Actually was lifted directly from Four Weddings And A Funeral.

In Four Weddings and a Funeral, also penned by Curtis, there was a scene where Hugh Grant’s character Charles flirts with a woman at a wedding by mocking the terrible catering, only to discover that she is the caterer. The scene was cut from the 1994 film, but was reshot nearly a decade later with Kris Marshall acting out the flirtatious faux pas. In the commentary track, Curtis admits that some drafts of the Love Actually script still had Charles’s name on portions of the scene.

9. The late Joanna was played by a real-life Richard Curtis crush.

In the commentary, Curtis also confessed his affection and admiration for writer-director Rebecca Frayn and how it led to a heartbreaking scene in Love Actually. She’s uncredited in the film because she never has a scene to perform. But when Curtis needed images to create a slideshow of Sam’s beloved mum/Daniel’s departed wife, he turned to Frayn, asking for "all the prettiest pictures of her from her whole life." In real-life, Frayn is married to Oscar-nominated Scottish producer Andy Harries.

10. Emma Thompson shot her crying scene 12 times.

Arguably the saddest moment in Love Actually is when Thompson’s character realizes her husband has been unfaithful. In the privacy of their bedroom, she listens to Joni Mitchell’s "Both Sides Now" and weeps.

"We decided to do it like how Mike Newell did it in Four Weddings—I shot in medium-wide, and didn’t move the camera," Curtis recalled. "We just let it happen, and Emma walked into the room 12 times in a row and sobbed. It was an amazing feat of acting." He also noted this was the only scene she was asked to perform that day.

11. Hugh Grant did not want to dance.

Though Grant and Curtis had worked together on Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, they had a deep disagreement on how the Prime Minister should be played. Grant wanted it to be a grounded performance and resented Curtis’s push to make the part more whimsical. This came to a head when shooting Grant’s dance number, which the actor refused to rehearse.

"He kept on putting it off, and he didn’t like the song—it was originally a Jackson 5 song, but we couldn’t get it—so he was hugely unhappy about it," Curtis explained. "We didn’t shoot it until the final day and it went so well that when we edited it, it had gone too well, and he was singing along with the words!" It was a tricky thing to cut, but the final result with Girls Aloud’s cover of “Jump (For My Love)” speaks for itself.

12. Tony Blair found it impossible to live up to Hugh Grant’s fictional prime minister.

In 2005, when facing criticism for his dealings with the United States, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair responded by saying, "I know there’s a bit of us that would like me to do a Hugh Grant in Love Actually and tell America where to get off. But the difference between a good film and real life is that in real life there’s the next day, the next year, the next lifetime to contemplate the ruinous consequences of easy applause."

13. It took 45 minutes to pick out Aurelia’s underwear.

When the loose pages of Jamie’s (Colin Firth) in-progress novel blow into a nearby lake, Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz) is quick to strip down and dive in to rescue them. But in the DVD commentary, Curtis admits that what she wore beneath her cozy sweater was a major matter of debate that involved a lengthy meeting with his producers and 20 different sets of bras and panties to be considered.

14. Simon Pegg auditioned for Love Actually.

Before he broke out with 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg was best known for his work on the British sitcom Spaced. It was in this stage of his career that he was eyed for the role of Rufus, the jewelry salesman in Love Actually. However, Curtis ended up casting Rowan Atkinson, who was not only a bigger star but a longtime friend from their college days; the two had previously worked together on Four Weddings and A Funeral, Mr. Bean, and Black Adder.

15. Rowan Atkinson’s character was meant to be an angel.

Rather than just an overenthusiastic gift wrapper with a good Samaritan streak at the airport, Atkinson’s Rufus was initially written as a heavenly helper in disguise. A scene was even shot were he’d evaporate after helping Sam get past security at Heathrow. "But in the end," Curtis said in commentary, "the film turned out so sort of multiplicitous that the idea of introducing an extra layer of supernatural beings was (too much)."

16. Sarah’s apartment is based on Helen Fielding’s.

When Sarah (Laura Linney) takes her office crush Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) back to her flat, a crane shot reveals that her bedroom is perched above the first floor, with a half-wall serving as a sort of balcony. In the DVD commentary track, Curtis mentioned this layout was poached from the Bridget Jones’s Diary author’s home. To him, it seemed a charming staging place for this tender seduction scene.

17. Test audiences spurred a change to the ending of Sarah’s story.

Curtis originally intended for Sarah and Karl’s love story to fizzle out after the phone call from her brother. However, when Love Actually was screened to test audiences, the feedback begged for a clearer resolution. So Curtis provided it, creating an extra scene in reshoots that made it unmistakable that Sarah and Karl would not end up together. "Be careful what you wish for," he warned on the DVD commentary.

18. Andrew Lincoln hand-wrote those romantic signs.


Peter Mountain, Universal Pictures

In 2013, The Walking Dead star reminisced about his climactic gesture in Love Actually with Entertainment Weekly, and revealed, "It is my handwriting! It’s funny, because the art department did it, and then I said, ‘Well, can I do it?’ because I like to think that my handwriting is really good. Actually, it ended up with me having to sort of trace over the art department’s, so it is my handwriting, but with a sort of pencil stencil underneath."

19. The American bar scene included some improv.


Peter Mountain, Universal Studios

Regarding the scene where three American girls (Elisha Cuthbert, January Jones, and Ivana Milicevic) flirt with Kris Marshall, Cuthbert told VH1, "It was such a creative space and we were allowed to improvise and try different things and it wasn’t just completely set into Richard’s writing. I mean we were allowed to sort of venture … It was nice that we got to sort of play around.”

Curtis remembers it differently, noting in the commentary track that the Brits were "respectful" with his script, but these Americans wanted to "pep it up a bit."

20. Bernard is a running joke based on a real man.

Every film Curtis writes contains a "Bernard," and he’s always the butt of a joke. In Love Actually, he’s the son of Thompson’s character who is described as "horrid." This all dates back to a love triangle that didn’t turn in Curtis’s favor. Bernard was the name of a young man who won the heart of Curtis’s crush Anne, and so he will forever be lampooned. In real life, Bernard is a successful politician, namely Bernard Jenkin, Member of Parliament for Harwich and North Essex since 2010.

21. Olivia Olson’s performance of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was too good—which was problematic.

Over 200 girls auditioned for the part of Joanna, the talent show star that young Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) falls hard for. But with pipes that blew away the casting director, Olivia Olson blew the competition away. In the commentary track, Curtis notes that Olson sang the song "All I Want For Christmas Is You" so flawlessly that he feared it sounded manufactured. He had sound editors cut in breaths to the performance to make it more believable.

22. Sam and Joanna reunited in 2008.

Child stars Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Olivia Olson were utterly adorable together as drum-playing Sam and his grade school crush Joanna. But Love Actually wasn’t the end of the pair’s onscreen romance. They were reunited in 2008 when Olson joined the voice cast of the Disney Channel cartoon show Phineas and Ferb. While Brodie-Sangster lends his voice to the oft-silent Ferb, Olson often sings as Ferb’s crush, the sleek and cool Vanessa Doofenshmirtz.

23. The movie has already been remade—three times!

The central concept of a movie packed with stars and intertwining love stories has been translated into a trio of films. The first is the Indian offering A Tribute To Love, an unofficial remake in the Hindi language. Next, Poland took a turn with Letters to St. Nicolas. The most recent version is Japan’s It All Began When I Met You, which borrows the concept as well as the film’s poster layout.

24. Love Actually got a sequel (of sorts) in 2017.

In March 2017, in celebration of Red Nose Day, Curtis and several members of the original cast—including Grant, Knightley, Firth, Neeson, Nighy, Lincoln, and Atkinson—reprised their characters for a short film, Red Nose Day Actually, that caught viewers up on what the characters are doing today.

"I would never have dreamt of writing a sequel to Love Actually, but I thought it might be fun to do 10 minutes to see what everyone is now up to," Curtis said when the project was announced. "Who has aged best?—I guess that’s the big question ... or is it so obviously Liam?" The short debuted in the U.K. on March 24, 2017, but American audiences had to wait until May 25, 2017 to see what happened to their favorite characters. (Here’s a cheat sheet.)

25. Alan Rickman’s death prevented Emma Thompson from appearing in the sequel.

Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson in Love Actually (2003)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

When it was announced that Curtis would be revisiting some of the Love Actually characters for a short sequel, he knew right away that out of respect for Alan Rickman—who passed away in early 2016—he did not want to revisit Emma Thompson’s character.

"Richard wrote to me and said, ‘Darling we can’t write anything for you because of Alan,’ and I said, ‘No of course, it would be sad, too sad,’" Thompson explained. "It’s too soon. It’s absolutely right because it’s supposed to be for Comic Relief, but there isn’t much comic relief in the loss of our dear friend really only just over a year ago."

But the 2003 film wasn’t the end of the story for Thompson and Rickman’s characters. In 2015, Curtis’s longtime partner Emma Freud live tweeted some details of what happened to the couple after the credits rolled. The short version? "They stay together but home isn’t as happy as it once was," according to Freud.

8 Bizarre Fan Theories About Your Favorite Holiday Movies

Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

We all love a heartwarming holiday movie. On a cold winter’s day, few things are more comforting than curling up on the couch and getting into the Christmas spirit with a holiday movie marathon—no matter how many times you've seen the films in the lineup before.

While the plot lines rarely yield any surprises, multiple viewings of a movie can allow you to start to notice some things going on under the surface. With the rise of Reddit and other social media networks, fan theories have become a popular pastime for many pop culture fiends—and these alternate interpretations can sometimes go to some pretty dark places.

From Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Home Alone, here are some bizarre fan theories about the holiday movies you only thought you knew.

1. The Santa Clause proves that the North Pole is full of cannibals.

On the surface, The Santa Clause series is the heartwarming tale of Tim Allen taking on the duties of a fallen Santa in need. But Twitter user Hannah Priest thinks it’s about something else entirely: The North Pole is inhabited by cannibals. Her evidence? The elves’ casual attitude toward death and a “new” Santa just taking over, the hundreds of elves (and Mrs. Clauses) who apparently go missing over the course of the series, and the size of the oven in the kitchen. “The elves are clearly baking women (& possibly children) in their oven, then using the bodies to make ceremonial cocoa, which they then feed to future Santas,” Priest tweeted. But this is one theory that’s best read in full (which you can do here).

2. Santa in The Santa Clause is actually an exiled wizard from Harry Potter.

Another theory about The Santa Clause would have you believe that Santa is an alumnus of Hogwarts. We all know Santa is magical, but the evidence does stack up. How does Santa get up and down chimneys? Floo powder, of course. And why can’t we see him? And how does he get to every house in one night? These jobs are made a little easier with an invisibility cloak and a time turner, of course.

3. Home Alone's Kevin McCallister grew up to be Saw’s Jigsaw.


20th Century Fox

In 2014, Grantland’s Jason Concepcion proposed a brilliant, if dastardly, theory that suggested a connection between holiday classic Home Alone and the terrifying Saw horror franchise. In a nutshell, he believes that Kevin McCallister and Jigsaw are the same person—and he made some pretty solid points.

For one, even at the tender age of eight, Kevin shows a talent for setting up some pretty elaborate traps, and he also has a clear obsession with recorded video. He’s also almost too interested in the rumor about Old Man Marley, his neighbor, who is rumored to be a serial killer. Some of the torture from the Saw movies also end up being eerily similar to the “pranks” Kevin pulls on the Wet Bandits. Concepcion goes even deeper, and you should read all of it here.

4. John Candy’s Home Alone character is the devil.

Kevin McCallister isn’t the only Home Alone character with a purported dark side. There’s a lot of suspicion surrounding John Candy’s character, Gus Polinski (a.k.a. the “Polka King of the Midwest”) as well. One Reddit theory goes like this: at one point in Home Alone, Kevin’s mom says that she would “sell [her] soul to the devil” if could just get back to Chicago to be with her son. The next time we see her, Gus Polinski appears and offers her a ride back to the Windy City. Coincidence? Not everyone thinks so—and this theory goes even deeper. Gus plays the clarinet, which is a woodwind instrument, and woodwinds are considered the instrument of Satan.

5. No, wait: Mia from Love Actually is the devil.

Not to be outdone, yet another popular holiday movie fan theory states that Mia (Heike Makatsch)—Alan Rickman’s wannabe-home wrecker of an assistant from Love Actually—is actually the devil. This one is actually a two-part theory, which posits that Rowan Atkinson is an angel while Mia is the devil. Adding credence to the latter part of this is the fact that the film’s writer/director Richard Curtis actually confirmed the former part.

Atkinson’s character was meant to have a larger role and serve as a sort of guardian angel to several of the film’s characters, but the filmmaker eventually decided it would be too much. But Mia’s devilish behavior is on full display: in addition to her repeated attempts to lure Harry (Rickman) away from Karen (Emma Thompson), she shows up at a company holiday party wearing devil horns.

6. Buddy the Elf is a creep.


Warner Bros.

Buddy, Will Ferrell’s maple syrup-loving character in Elf, is beloved for his childlike demeanor and over-the-top Christmas spirit. But some people believe this supposed naiveté may all be a ruse. And if that is in fact the case, then Buddy’s behavior is … questionable at best. Buddy, under this theory, would be a sociopath who forces his way into a random home through coercion and befriends a young child, all while stalking a random woman (Zooey Deschanel) he met through a job for which he was never actually hired.

7. Rudolph is Donner’s bastard son.

As compelling as it is absurd, one Redditor believes that Rudolph isn’t being told the truth about his parentage. We know, of course, that Rudolph doesn’t look like either his mother or his father. And that the other reindeer “used to laugh and call him names.” And that the father of Rudolph’s love interest, Clarice, seems incensed at the idea of his daughter being seen with a red-nosed reindeer. “The only explanation is that the red-nose is like a scarlet letter A,” the theory goes. “Rudolph is an illegitimate child, a bastard, an unclean birth.” (You can read the full docket of evidence here.)

8. Arnold Schwarzenegger is psychotic in Jingle All the Way, and Sinbad is a figment of his fractured mind.


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In Jingle All the Way, Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely seems stressed out about trying to acquire a Turbo-Man—the hot toy of the holiday season—for his son. But has all that stress led to a psychotic break with reality? One Redditor believes that might be the case, as Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) suspiciously only seems to see Myron (played by Sinbad) in his most stressful moments. It could be a coincidence, but as Arnold’s hijinks escalate, there’s Sinbad egging him on every time.

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