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March 24, 2017 05:22 PM

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has raked in billions of box-office booty, but according to her Love Actually director, Keira Knightley wasn’t always sold on the idea.

In an op-ed posted to Radio Times, Richard Curtis, the romantic comedy’s writer-director, reflected on where his stars were in their careers when the film debuted in 2003. “When we shot the film, I remember Keira Knightley saying that her next project was ‘some pirate thing — probably a disaster,’ ” he revealed.

Of course, that project turned out to be the wildly popular Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that made her an international superstar. And Knightley wasn’t the only Love Actually alum to score a role in the blockbuster. As Curtis pointed out, “Bill Nighy was also later a be-tentacled Davy Jones” in 2006’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

The writer-director also mentioned that Andrew Lincoln, who famously professed his love to Knightley with cue cards in Love Actually, “had never come across, let alone killed, the Walking Dead.” And Chiwetel Ejiofor, who went on to earn an Oscar nomination for 12 Years a Slave in 2014 “hadn’t been a slave for five minutes, let alone 12 years,” wrote Curtis.

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The trip down memory lane comes in the wake of Friday’s U.K. debut of a short follow-up to Love Actually, which promises to catch up with its main characters over a decade later. The reunion features most of the original cast, and was created to benefit Red Nose Day, a popular U.K. children’s charity.

“I know the film is very much not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve been surprised ever since it came out, and so grateful, that some people are really fond of it,” Curtis wrote. “So I hope that a lot of you will turn on to BBC1 on Red Nose Day to see the mini-sequel and maybe find it in your hearts to give a bit of cash to save and change a lot of lives, at home and abroad. What a strange and delightful outcome that would be for our little, old, slightly chaotic ‘All I Want for Christmas’ Christmas film.”

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