‘Notting Hill’ movie was inspired by Tom Waits, reveals writer Richard Curtis

Curtis says the film was influenced by Waits track 'Downtown Train'

Notting Hill screenwriter Richard Curtis has revealed that the film was inspired by Tom Waits track ‘Downtown Train’.

The version that supposedly inspired Curtis, however, was not the Waits version but the 1992 Everything But The Girl cover.

As reported by the Gloucestershire Echo, Curtis explained that his film-making was inspired by trying to reach the heights of the perfect three-minute pop song.


Speaking specifically about Notting Hill, he elaborated: “I listen to songs all the time. There’s a version of ‘Downtown Train’ by Tom Waits performed by Everything But The Girl and when I was writing Notting Hill, that was all I listened to.”

He continued: “There was something I sensed in the background and in the tone and in the mood of that song which is what I wanted to reach at the best moment of the film. Songs have always been an incredibly important bit of the inspiration for me.”

Notting Hill was released in 1999 and starred Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Curtis has also written a host of other big screen successes including Four Weddings And A Funeral and Love Actually. Of the latter film, Curtis also revealed that it was indirectly influenced by Mariah Carey.

“What you are doing is hoping by telling a story and arranging a certain sequence of events that some particular moment you will be able to reach the thing a song does in three minutes,” Curtis said. “To take a very trite example, the Mariah Carey song, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ seems to me to completely say how you want to feel about how extraordinary Christmas is. In a way, Love Actually was also a stab at trying to be as good as Mariah… I failed!”