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Filming Love Actually Forced Billy Bob Thornton to Confront Some of His Oddest Phobias

Hope he’s not afraid of big ties. Photo: Universal Pictures

There’s nothing scary about the widely adored rom-com Love Actually, but for Billy Bob Thornton, who played the American president and foil to Hugh Grant’s hapless single British prime minister, being on set wasn’t always pleasant. Thornton, who has obsessive-compulsive disorder, was required to face two of his odder phobias during filming. Martine McCutcheon, who played Natalie, described one instance when Thornton had to confront his fear of antique furniture on set to Entertainment Weekly:

“Hugh has a really naughty sense of humor. Billy Bob Thornton [who played the U.S. president] hates antiques, and Hugh was constantly pointing at pieces that were 500 years old. And Billy Bob was going [in his Southern accent], ‘Oh my Gahd, Hugh, I dun’t laake this.’”

Writer-director Richard Curtis remembered another, even more specific phobia of Thornton’s, the origins of which one really has to wonder about: “The most fun thing was that one of Billy Bob’s oddest phobias was towards [British prime minister] Benjamin Disraeli’s facial hair. Obviously, this is the only movie in history where he’d have to walk past a picture of Benjamin Disraeli. So I told him, ‘Bad news, Billy Bob.’”

For a guy who’s had some weird facial hair in the past, that one seems a little harsh.

Love Actually Made Billy Bob Thornton Confront His Phobias