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Boris Johnson Urges Britain To Vote Conservative In 'Love Actually' Parody


'Tis the season for the Christmas movie that so many of you love to hate.


BILL NIGHY: (Singing) So if you really love Christmas, come on, let it snow.

KELLY: Yeah. In Britain, at least, 'tis the season for life to imitate "Love, Actually." Now, if you are a devotee of that Christmas classic, you no doubt remember that one of the key storylines involves an embattled prime minister, portrayed by Hugh Grant. And he goes door to door in search of his love interest.


HEIKE MAKATSCH: (As Mia) You're not who I think you are, are you?

HUGH GRANT: (As Prime Minister) Yes, I'm afraid I am. And I'm sorry about all the cock-ups - not my fault. My Cabinet are absolute crap. We hope to do better next year. Merry Christmas to you.

KELLY: Well, speaking of embattled prime ministers, you may have heard there is an election on in the U.K. today - Prime Minister Boris Johnson running against Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Both campaigns have used iconic, if cheesy, scenes from the movie to bolster their real-life campaigns.

We're going to wade into this one with Jennifer Hassan. She's the social media editor for The Washington Post foreign desk, and she is on the line from London. Jennifer, welcome.

JENNIFER HASSAN: Hi, there. Thank you for having me on.

KELLY: Though let's set the stage by just describing the Boris Johnson ad. To remind people, in the original "Love, Actually" movie, the actress Keira Knightley is playing a character home watching TV with her husband. There's a knock at the door. It's a secret admirer who tells her, you know, shh (ph), pretend it's carolers, and then holds up a series of cards declaring his love.

Jennifer Hassan, where does the Boris Johnson campaign take this scene?

HASSAN: So in Boris' video, which is entitled "Brexit, Actually," he can be seen encouraging the lady to vote Conservative and, you know, let the Tory government get Brexit done, which is something that he's been saying repeatedly in recent weeks.

KELLY: Meanwhile, there is a Labour MP saying, you stole this from me, Boris Johnson; I did this first. What's going on there?

HASSAN: Yeah. So shortly after Boris Johnson released his campaign video, Labour lawmaker Rosena Allin-Khan took to Twitter, where she said, Boris has copied my video. And, actually, she did do it first. Her own campaign advert published in November and was entitled "Election, Actually."

KELLY: And meanwhile, into all of this, Hugh Grant himself has entered the fray. He has been out knocking on doors of voters, I gather, and telling them, you got to get out; you got to vote Labour. Is that his message?

HASSAN: Grant hasn't been too politically active in recent years, but he said that he's become more so now. He's been urging Brits to vote tactically in this election in what he says will help save the country from Brexit.

KELLY: I'm trying to imagine what it must feel like to be a voter in Britain - to hear a knock at your door. And you open it, and it's Hugh Grant in real life, telling you to come out and save the country from Brexit.

HASSAN: I know. And you know, he was actually down the road from me. So while I was in my house, I got a text from my next-door neighbor, who was like, I've just seen Hugh Grant down the curve.


HASSAN: And I was like - you know, you just couldn't make this up anymore. So...


KELLY: You don't know if you're hoping that he will or won't knock on your door knocks - one of those.

HASSAN: Yeah. I mean, it could be Boris. It could be Mark from the real "Love, Actually." It could be Hugh Grant. You just don't know anymore.

KELLY: That is Jennifer Hassan of The Washington Post, speaking with us from London about the "Love, Actually" parody video making the rounds there on this Election Day.

Jennifer, thanks so much.

HASSAN: No worries. Thank you so much for having me on.

KELLY: And it seems that ad may have helped Prime Minister Johnson. His Conservative Party is ahead tonight in exit polls.


OLIVIA OLSON: (Singing) I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree. I just want you for my own... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.