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‘Love Actually’ Then & Now: Where Are The Cast 20 Years Later?

Love Actually continues to be one of the most popular Christmas movies after 20 years. But where are the original cast now?

Love Actually (2001). Credit: Universal Pictures

Love Actually is an iconic Christmas film with huge stars such as Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and many more. It turned twenty years old in 2023 and is still as popular as the day it was released, maybe even more so.

But where are all the actors now?

Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant had already made a name for himself as a star of romantic comedies when he took the role of Prime Minister in Love Actually in 2003. Since then, he has starred in a few more romantic comedies that he is so well known for, such as Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), The Rewrite (2014) alongside Marisa Tomei, Music and Lyrics (2007) opposite Drew Barrymore and Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009) with Sarah Jessica Parker.

After his run at romantic comedies, Grant wanted to experiment with different roles. This led to him playing the villain in Paddington 2 (2017) and The Gentlemen in 2019. In 2016, he played the part of St Clair Bayfield, Florence Foster Jenkins’ manager and long-time companion, in a movie named after her in 2016. His portrayal was seen as “career best” by Screen International, “one of his best performers in years” by Indiewire, and the “best work of his career” by Variety.

In 2022, Time Out magazine listed Grant as one of Britain’s fifty greatest actors of all time. In 2023, he appeared in Wonka, Operation Furture: Ruse de Guerre, and Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves. Throughout his career, Hugh Grant has experimented with different roles outside of romantic comedies which he successfully achieved and has seen him grow and develop as an actor.

A quarter of a century after Grant established himself as everyone’s crush with his romantic comedy debut in Four Weddings and a Funeral…the actor who he is now in his late fifties has turned out to have a gift for conveying what happens to an individual when charm curdles into something darker

Rebecca Mead/The New Yorker

Emma Thompson

In Love Actually, Thompson plays the role of Karen, who is in a seemingly happy marriage until her husband, Alan Rickman, buys a necklace for another woman at Christmas. She received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress in this movie. Following her success in the romantic comedy, she took on the role of Professor Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and reprised the role during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010).

In 2005, she wrote the screenplay for the film Nanny McPhee where she also played the title role alongside Colin Firth and Angela Lansbury. Following Nanny McPhee, she was in Stranger than Fiction (2006) with Will Ferrell and Last Chance Harvey (2008) alongside Dustin Hoffman, where they both received Golden Globe nominations.

In 2010, she reprised her role as Nanny McPhee in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. She voiced Elinor, the Scottish queen and mother, in the 2012 animated film Brave. 2013 saw her nominated for Best Actress at the BAFTAs, the SAGs, and Golden Globes, and she was awarded the Lead Actress Trophy from the National Board of Review for her portrayal of P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks (2013).

Following on from that extraordinary performance, she made her first stage appearance in twenty-four years as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, where she played the role for five nights. She co-wrote the screenplay for Bridget Jones’ Baby (2016), which starred her Love Actually co-star, Colin Firth.

In 2017, she voiced Mrs Potts in the live-action remake of Beauty of the Beast, which was the highest-grossing film of 2017. In 2019, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her role in Late Night. 2021 saw her playing the Baroness in Cruella, opposite Emma Stone.

Thompson sinking every last tooth into a role that’s half Miranda Priestly and half Reynolds Woodcock

Alonso Duralde/The Wrap

She married Greg Wise in 2003, and that same year, they adopted a Rwandan orphan. In 2020, they were sworn honorary citizens of Venice and became legal residents of Italy.

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley was only eighteen when she was in Love Actually, portraying the part of a young woman who gets married at the very beginning of the movie. Throughout the movie, we see her navigate the realization that her husband’s best friend is in love with her.

2003 was a big year for Knightley. As well as her part in Love Actually, she took on the role of Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which remains one of her most well-known roles. The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie opened at number one at the box office and became one of the highest-grossing releases of the year.

Another one of her most well-known roles is when she played the part of Elizabeth Bennett in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice.

The beauty of Elizabeth is that every woman who ever reads the book seems to recognise herself with all her faults and imperfections Editors/Biography Today

In 2007, she played opposite James McAvoy in Atonement which she won an Empire Award for Best Actress. In 2011, she was in A Dangerous Mind, and in 2012, she played the part of Anna Karenina in Anna Karenina which was her third film with producer Joe Wright. In 2014, she starred in the fifth installment of the Jack Ryan film series with Chris Pine called Jack Ryan: The Shadow Recruit.

She became the celebrity face of Chanel’s perfume Coco Mademoiselle in 2007 at the age of 2022, and in 2018, when they relaunched an Intense version in 2018, she was the face of that campaign too. In 2018, she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to Drama and Charity. She married James Righton in 2013, and they have two daughters together.

Laura Linney

In Love Actually, Laura Linney’s character has arguably one of the saddest storylines. She plays the role of Sarah, a woman in love with her co-worker, Carl, but loses the opportunity of happiness with him because of her sick brother who constantly calls her. Since playing this role, Linney’s career has skyrocketed, and she has been the recipient of multiple awards, including two Golden Globes and four Prime Time Emmy Awards.

In 2004, she starred opposite Love Actually co-star Liam Neeson in Kinsey as the title character’s wife and she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for this role. Also in 2004, she appeared on the very popular sitcom Frasier as Charlotte, the final love interest of the main character, and she won a second Primetime Emmy for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. After this, she played roles in The Squid and the Whale (2005), Man of the Year (2006) with Robin Williams, and The Nanny Diaries (2006) with Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans.

In 2007, she received her third Academy Award nomination for her role in The Savages. In May 2009, she married Marc Schauer, and Love Actually co-star and good friend Liam Neeson walked her down the aisle. In 2011, she won a Golden Globe Award for her part in The Big C. She starred in Mr Holmes (2015) opposite Ian McKellen, Sully (2016) with Tom Hanks, and Genius (2016) alongside Love Actually co-star Colin Firth and Ozark from 2017 to 2022 with Jason Bateman.

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy received a BAFTA film award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Billy Mack in Love Actually in 2003. In 2005, he lent his voice to the part of Slartibartfast in the science fiction comedy The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In 2006, he portrayed the villain Davy Jones in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and reprised this role in 2007 in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Also in 2006, he was in Richard Hart’s Notes On a Scandal which he received a London Film Critics Circle Award.

In 2009, he had a cameo in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as British Prime Minister Rufus Scrimgeour. 2012 saw him starring in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel alongside Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. In 2020, he played alongside Anya Taylor Joy as her character’s father, Mr Woodhouse, in the film Emma. Also in 2020, he landed the leading role in Living, an English language adaptation of Akira Kurosaura’s 1952 Japanese drama Ikiru. His most recent role was that of Thomas Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth (2022).

Nighy has Dupuytren’s Contracture, which he inherited from his mother. This disease can cause contractures of the fingers, most commonly ring and little finger. He is a Patron of the CPSCC, Crystal Palace Children’s Charity, and of the Ann Craft Trust.

Andrew Lincoln

Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually played the role of Mark, who is in love with his best friend’s wife, Juliet, played by Keira Knightley. The years following Love Actually were filled with roles in plays like Late Henry Moss (2006) and Parlour Song (2009).

From 2010 to 2018, Lincoln took on the role he is most well known for, Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead. He won two Saturn Awards for Best Actor on Television in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

In both 2012 and 2015, MTV Live Spotlighted the actor as the performer of the week for his performance in various The Walking Dead episodes. In 2019, he starred in Penguin Bloom. Since 2022, he has been in the Cabinet of Curiosities. He married Gael Anderson in 2006 and has two children with her.

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson portrayed the role of Daniel, a man who has been recently widowed and is struggling to look after his stepson. 2005 brought roles like Godfrey of Ibelin in the Kingdom of Heaven, Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins, and Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. 2008 saw one of his most well-known roles in the form of a CIA Operative in the action film Taken which is a worldwide box office hit. Once more, he lent his voice to the role of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008).

2010 saw him voicing Aslan for the last time in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and starring as Zeus in Clash of the Titans (2008). The following years saw him star in The Grey (2012), Taken 2 (2012), The Lego Movie (2014) and A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014). The 20s brought roles in Honest Thief (2020), The Marksman (2021), The Ice Road (2021), Blacklight (2022), and Memory (2022), all of which add to his big repertoire of action movies.

In 2009, his wife Natasha Richardson passed away from a severe head injury from a skiing accident. Neeson donated her organs after her death. He holds Irish, British and American citizenship. In 2011, he became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.

Colin Firth

Colin Firth had a heartwarming storyline in Love Actually. His character, Jamie, learns Portuguese and flies to Portugal in order to propose to the girl of his dreams. He performed in Nanny McPhee (2005), and Then She Found Me (2007) alongside Helen Hunt and And When Did You Last See Your Father (2008). 2008 also brought the role of Harry in Mamma Mia, which remains the highest-grossing British-made film of all time.

In 2010, Firth played Prince Albert Duke of York/King George VI in The King’s Speech which earned him a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actor in 2011.

2014 saw him in the role of Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service, a role he later reprised in the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017). Firth got to reprise another beloved role in Mamma Mia! Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! (2018). He got to play a villain in Mary Poppins Returns (2018) and then proceeded to star in Mothering Sunday (2021) and Empire of Light (2021) with Olivia Coleman. He separated from his wife, Livia Giuggioli, in 2019. They have two sons together.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Thomas Brodie-Sangster was thirteen years of age when he played the part of a lovestruck young boy who would do anything to get his crush’s attention in Love Actually. He was nominated for a Golden Satelite Award and a Young Artist Award for his performance. In 2005, he played the eldest of several children in Nanny McPhee. He lent his voice to the iconic green-haired cartoon character Ferb Fletcher from the Disney Channel show Phineas and Ferb (2007).

2013 to 2014 saw him play the role of Jojen Reed in the very popular HBO series Game of Thrones. He landed his most well-known role in 2014 with Newt in The Maze Runner. He reprised the role for the two subsequent films in the trilogy, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) and Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018). Also in 2018, he played opposite Anya Taylor Joy in The Queen’s Gambit.

He founded Brodie Films in 2006 with his mother, Tasha Bertram, but the company was dissolved in 2013. In 2023, he announced his engagement to actress Talulah Riley.

Martin Freeman

Martin Freeman played the role of John, who is the double for sexual scenes in movies and falls in love with his co-star in Love Actually. Following that he played the role of a struggling teacher in Nativity! (2009) and starred in Boy Meets Girl (2009). In 2010, he performed opposite Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr John Watson in the BBC series Sherlock. This role earned him a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie in 2011.

Following this success with another, he played Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit film series. He was named Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards for his portrayal. He played Lester Nygaard in a dark comedy-drama called Fargo (2014), which gained him another Prime Time Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

In 2016, he appeared as a CIA agent in Captain America: Civil War. He reprised this role in 2018 in Black Panther and again in 2022 in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Since 2020, he has starred in and created and been an executive producer on the comedy series Breeders. He is set to perform alongside Jenna Ortega in Miller’s Girl in 2024.

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman was already a very well-established actor before taking on the role of Harry, the husband of Emma Thompson’s character who has an affair in Love Actually. From 2001 to 2011, Rickman played the role he is most well known for, Severus Snape, in the Harry Potter film series. Rickman’s deep, silky voice was perfect for the complex character.

Sublime at giving us a glimpse at last into the secret nurturing heart that Snape masks with a sneer

Peter Travers/ The Rolling Stone

He lent his voice to Marvin the Paranoid Android in A Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) with his Love Actually co-stars Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman. In 2004, he earned a Prime Time Emmy Award for his role in HBO’s series Something the Lord Made.

He took on the role of Judge Turpin in Tim Burton’s screen adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) opposite Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. 2010 saw him in The Song of Lunch alongside Love Actually co-star Emma Thompson and also him lending his voice to Absolem the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

He starred in Gambit (2012) with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz, CBGB (2013) with Harry Potter co-star with Rupert Grint, and A Little Chaos (2014) with Kate Winslet and Stanley Tucci, which he also produced. Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass (2016) and The Eye of the Storm (2015) were his final on-screen performances.

In 2015, Rickman announced that he and his longtime partner, Rima Horton, had married privately in 2012. In 2016, he died of terminal cancer at the age of sixty-nine. His loss hit the industry hard as he touched many people with his talent and intelligence. To this day, he is remembered as a wonderful person, on and off-screen.

Martine McCutcheon

In Love Actually, McCutcheon played the role of secretary to the Prime Minster (Hugh Grant), and they ended up falling for each other. In 2012, McCutcheon released a two CD best album called The Collection, and in 2017, she released her album Lost and Found, which ended up being number 17 in the UK, making it her most successful album chart-wise.

2005 saw her appear in two episodes of the BBC drama series Spooks and presenting and performing in ITV’s show Moviemania. Also in 2005, she released Martine McCutcheon: Dance Body, a fitness DVD. She played roles in the movies Withdrawal (2007) and Jump! (2007). In 2008, she starred in the ITV soap Echo Beach.

In 2016, she was a panelist on the daytime show Loose Women, and in 2009, she released her first novel, The Mistress. She competed in the second series of The Masked Singer as Swan in 2021. She married singer Jack McManus in 2015, and they have a son together. In 2011, she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and in 2017. she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

Joanna Page

In the now iconic Christmas movie, Page plays the love interest of Martin Freeman’s character, who falls in love on a movie set. In 2009, she played Cinderella in a pantomime in Woking, and in 2010, she played Alice Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington at the Milton Keynes Theatre.

Also, in 2010, she became the new face of Superdrug and hosted the Sky 1 show Pet Shame. 2012 saw her play the part of Leanne Powell in the BBC One Drama series The Syndicate, Helen Pearson in the Sky Living comedy, Gates and Mrs Peterson in Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger.

The 2020s saw her presenting the BCC One consumer series Shop Well for Less in 2021, co-hosting The Pet Show on ITV with Dermot O’Leary in 2021, competing on the second series of the Masked Dancer as Pig in 2022, starring in the BCC’s series Men Up in 2023 and 2023, she also was a panelist on the talk show Loose Women. She married actor James Thornton in 2003, and they have three children together.

Olivia Olson

Olivia Olson played the fetching Joanna in Love Actually, the love interest of young Sam, played by Thomas Brodie Sangster. She wowed us all with her voice as she sang ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ in the film.

From 2008 to 2015, she voiced Vanessa Doofenshmirtz in the popular cartoon Phineas and Ferb. She wrote multiple songs for Phineas and Ferb and during this time, she wrote and recorded her own songs with renowned music producers Rick Powells, Camara Kambon, and Holywood jazz great Rob Mullins.

Her role in Phineas and Ferb led to her landing the role of Marceline the Vampire Queen on the animated cartoon network series Adventure Time in 2010. In 2013, she released her debut E.P Beauty is Chaos and by 2015, she had over 19,000 followers on her YouTube account. From 2016 to 2019, she voiced the fourth Powerpuff girl Bliss in a reboot of The Powerpuff Girls.

In 2019, she played Jun, PizzaRave, and another character in Fast and Furious: Spy Races. 2020 saw her reprise her role as Vanessa in Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. She released her album Nowhere Land in 2018, and in 2019, she was a contestant on X-Factor Celebrity.

Kris Marshall

Kris Marshall played the role of Colin in Love Actually, a young man who is determined to go to America as he believes that American girls will find him attractive while British girls don’t, and it pays off. Following on from Love Actually, he played the role of DS Luke Stone in the police drama series Murder City (2004).

In 2012, he was Ginger Dave in the BBC Comedy series Citizen Khan and he starred in the BCC Four movie Heist (2008). Also in 2008, he played in Neil La Bute’s play Fat Pig in Trafalgar Studios, and that led to him having a part in the play Traffic Light in 2011.

In 2014, he took on the role of DI Humphrey Goodman in Death in Paradise, a role which he reprised in 2023 in a spin-off called Beyond Paradise. In 2015, he played Tom Sanger in Sparks and Embers.

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