20 fascinating 'Love Actually' behind-the-scenes secrets you probably didn't know ...

The Christmas season means watching 'Love Actually' for the millionth time.

And while you probably think you know everything about the festive film, we've got 20 behind-the-scenes secrets to share with you...

1. Director Richard Curtis was born in Wellington, New Zealand (okay we know this isn't a 'Love Actually' specific fact, but we're proud of our fellow Kiwi)!

2. It took Emma Thompson 12 takes to do that horribly heartbreaking scene when her character realises her husband has been unfaithful. Her crying was also unscripted. 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.

3. 'Love Actually' was never supposed to be a Christmas movie.

4. The film originally had 14 storylines, but two were cut. One of the cut storylines was based around a lesbian couple. The other axed storyline involved an African couple supporting each other through famine.

5. Curtis always wanted Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson to play the Prime Minister and his sister.

6. Martine McCutcheon’s role was written for her after Curtis saw her in 'EastEnders'. Explaining the casting in the DVD commentary, Curtis said he was so sure 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. He later changed it to "Natalie" before McCutcheon's audition, "so she wouldn't get cocky."

7. Claudia Schiffer was never supposed to be in the movie. Curtis wanted someone who looked like her, but struggled to find someone... so she got offered the role.

8. Thomas Brodie-Sangster was taught to play the drums by his dad just for the movie.

9. Hugh Grant and Thomas Brodie-Sangster are actually second cousins.

10. Curtis wrote five versions of the famous giant cards scene and trialled them with women in his office to check they weren't too mushy.

11. The production crew applied to get permission to film at 10 Downing Street (the official residence of the British PM) but were told no.

12. Emma Thompson is wearing a fat suit.

13. Liam Neeson's always has a toothpick in his mouth because he had just quit smoking and needed something to replace the cigarettes.

14. Andrew Lincoln wrote his 'To Me, You Are Perfect' signs himself because he thought his "handwriting was really good".

15. Olivia Olson's cover of 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' was initially too good. So Richard Curtis made her re-do it to make it sound more like a child singing.

16. The Barbie dolls Emma Thompson holds up are actually Ken dolls in drag.

17. The airport footage of passengers being welcomed and embraced by loved ones at Heathrow Airport was shot on location with hidden cameras for a week. Curtis explained 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'.

18. It took 45 minutes to pick our Aurelia's underwear for the lake scene. Curtis revealed 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.

19. Simon Pegg auditioned for the role of Rufus, the jewelry salesman in 'Love Actually'. However, Curtis ended up casting Rowan Atkinson.

20. And lastly, actually is actually said 23 times in the film. 22 by the characters, once in the monologue.