What: A populist pitch to elect Boris Johnson on the eve of the U.K. general election, and one prominent opponent’s response.
Who: British Conservatives and Hugh Grant.
Why we care: Stakes are high for the U.K. general election on Thursday. If Boris Johnson is confirmed, the looming threat of a hard Brexit from the E.U. will likely become reality. To convince voters that this is the preferred outcome over Labour Party opponent Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, the Conservative Party has arrived at the only logical move: an umpteenth Love, Actually parody, this one featuring Johnson himself.
The video is a rousing success, meaning that when Johnson keeps to a shooting script that requires he say only six words, it’s the rare occasion in which he avoids embarrassing himself.
Not everyone who’s seen the video thinks it’s much of an achievement, however.
Hugh Grant, one of the most outspoken celebrities opposing Johnson—others include Rob Delaney, Steve Coogan, and Julie Christie—had some thoughts about the use of a movie he starred in. (Technically, he costarred with every other British actor who was popping in 2003.) According to the Hollywood Reporter, Grant told BBC Radio 4 that he noticed one telling change from the original film in Johnson’s version. The scene in question, of course, is the one in which a pre-Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln weirdly confesses his love for his best friend’s new bride (Keira Knightley) with a speech delivered silently at her front door via cue cards. Grant noticed that one of the cards in the film, the one that famously reads “And at Christmas you tell the truth,” was conspicuously absent.
“And I just wonder if the spin doctors thought that card wouldn’t look too great in Boris Johnson’s hands,” Grant said during the radio interview, a reference to Johnson’s spotty track record with truth-telling.
The veteran actor, resurgent with a widely hailed turn in last year’s Paddington 2, also got in one more zinger at Johnson’s expense. He suggested that the parody video was funded with “rubles,” a reference to the recent influx of Russian donor contributions to Johnson’s campaign.
Fast Company will update this story if Hugh Grant ends up coming to America to help with messaging around the U.S. election in 2020.