Asked what it was like when Curtis contacted him and told him he wanted to work with him again, Nighy told United Press International in New York recently: "To be honest, when he calls, I like it. You know what I mean?
"Because he is such a wonderful man," the 63-year-old actor said of his frequent collaborator.
"He really is a wonderful man. There aren't many people you can say that about, I guess. Well, no, actually, there are a few, but he really is a remarkable man and I love hanging around with him. He is such a cool guy to be around and I love it when he directs and I'm very unhappy about the fact that he says this is his last movie because where does that leave me? I hope he's going to forget the pain after a while and make another one."
Nighy said he was in Australia working on the film "I, Frankenstein" when Curtis rang him up and told him about the book-loving, kind-hearted family man he wanted Nighy to play in "About Time."
"It was a very different kind of movie [than what I was working on at the time] and a Richard Curtis script turned up and it was a cool script and it had a great part for me," Nighy recalled.
The combination family drama and romantic comedy is about Tim [played by Domhnall Gleeson,] a young man who discovers when he is 21 that all the men in his family have the ability to travel back in time and make minor corrections in their lives. Nighy plays Tim's father and Rachel McAdams plays Mary, the love of Tim's life.
So, given the theme of the film, would Nighy like to go back in time and, if so, what would he do?
"I don't really have any yearning to go back in time. It's too late! I'm glad it's over," Nighy quipped.
"I made a mess of being young. I was terrible at it. I made it such hard work. If I did go back in time, all I'd say to myself is: 'Lighten up! It's OK. It works out.' If I had known things were going to work out, I would have arranged to be more cheerful for the previous part of my life.
"I was pretty good at manufacturing anxiety. All kinds. All levels of anxiety. I could make a meal out of anything.
"But I would go to all the concerts I missed. I'd go to 1962, back to the Apollo Theater and I'd see James Brown and his Famous Flames deliver that now-famous concert that became the live album. And I'd go see B.B. King at the Regal and I'd go see the Stones in early days. And I'd go back to whoever offered me a cigarette for the first time and I'd say, 'No!'"
Co-starring Lindsay Duncan, Lydia Wilson and Tom Hollander, "About Time" is in theaters now. It is rated R.