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7 Things You Never Knew About Four Weddings and a Funeral

Four Weddings and a Funeral is 20 years old this year! The low-budget British comedy was a worldwide box office smash and launched the career of Hugh Grant, who went on to play a bumbling Englishman in writer Richard Curtis’s other hit films Notting Hill and Love Actually.

The film centers on a group of eclectic friends who wonder if they’ll ever meet “the one,” all the while attending weddings of others. Hugh Grant stars as Charles who falls for an American woman Carrie (played by Andie MacDowell), only to be er …  invited to her wedding. Plus he has to suffer the indignity of sitting at the wedding reception table with all his ex-girlfriends who aren’t that impressed with him! At Carrie’s wedding there is a shocking death — the funeral in the title — where the gorgeous poem “Funeral Blues” by WH Auden is read. (If you don’t cry in that scene, you don’t have a heart!)

The film was released in March 1994 in the USA, in Canada and France in April, and in the U.K. in May. Having been made for a mere $4.5 million, it went on to make over $245 million worldwide. Whilst the majority of reviews were positive, it did have it’s detractors: Time magazine’s writer Richard Corliss wrote that it was forgettable, saying that people would “forget all about [the movie] by the time they leave the multiplex,” even joking at the end of his review that he had forgotten the film’s name.

I’d have to disagree with Corliss, as the film has a firm place in the hearts of most Brits and is still as funny and colorful when watched today, 20 years after it was first released. So dig out your old copy and watch the corniest line in film, “Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed…” spoken post-kiss by Carrie.

Meanwhile below are fun facts about the movie that you may have never known! Who made $2 million from the movie? Who won a Golden Globe? Who was really supposed to be cast instead of Hugh Grant?!

  • The Inspiration for the Movie 1 of 7
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    The inspiration for the film came from writer Richard Curtis looking through his diary and discovering he had been to no less than 72 weddings in 10 years! For his audition, Hugh Grant played a video of him being best man at his brother's wedding. 

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Andie MacDowell Opted out of a Salary 2 of 7
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    Andie MacDowell waived a fee for appearing in the film, taking percentage points instead. This netted her an eventual $2 million, compared with Hugh Grant's salary of $100,000. The budget for the film was in fact so small that the Scottish wedding wasn't actually filmed in Scotland, and the extras had to bring their own suits to the weddings!

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • How the Gang All Knew Each Other 3 of 7
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    In a deleted scene we find out that Charles, Matthew, and Fiona all went to university together, and Gareth was a lecturer. Scarlett was found under Charles' kitchen table after a party and lived there ever since.

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • No One Expected It to Be So Incredibly Successful 4 of 7
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    Four Weddings was made for a paltry budget of $4.5 million and grossed $245,700,832 worldwide, making it the most successful British comedy of all time. It was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Film and Best Original Screenplay, but lost out to Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction respectively. However, it cleaned up at the BAFTAs, winning Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. Hugh Grant also won a Golden Globe that year for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy. Yet, when he was making it, Hugh Grant allegedly thought it was awful!

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Hugh Grant Almost Didn’t Land the Role 5 of 7
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    So who could have been in the movie, but wasn't? Hugh Grant wasn't first choice for the part of Charles — Alan Rickman was. It turns out that Jeanne Tripplehorn was meant to play Andie McDowell's part of Carrie but couldn't make the shooting dates work with her schedule. Also Marisa Tomei turned down the role of Carrie, explaining "My grandfather was sick at the time, and I didn't want to leave (New York). I'm sure it would have been fine with him, but I felt like I didn't want to go anywhere." In a 2007 interview, Tomei also said that she will "always regret" turning it down.

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • Who Could Forget the Bumbling Vicar — AKA: Mr. Bean? 6 of 7
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    Of all his films, Rowan Atkinson says that Four Weddings is his favorite. A Chinese-subtitled version of the film labeled Rowan Atkinson's character as Mr. Bean, though the characters are different from each other.

    Photo credit: Twitter

  • The UK Premiere Launched the Career of Someone Not in the Movie… 7 of 7
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    Unknown actress Elizabeth Hurley accompanied her then-boyfriend Hugh Grant to the UK premiere of the film in London's Leicester Square. The Versace dress — held together by giant safety pins — was a media sensation and launched Hurley's career as a model. Hurley said of the dress, "That dress was a favor from Versace because I couldn't afford to buy one. His [Grant's] people told me they didn't have any evening wear, but there was one item left in their press office. So I tried it on and that was it." 

    Photo credit: Twitter

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