'Love Actually' Is 13: Where Is The Cast Now? Pictures and Bios|Featured Image by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

‘Love Actually’: Where Is the Cast Now and What Were The Stories? You May be Surprised!

The much beloved movie Love Actually just celebrated 13 years since it was originally released. Never really intended to be a Christmas nor a Valentine’s Day movie, this large ensemble cast production is comprised of eight romantic stories that are loosely intertwined with each other. Who were the main actors in Love Actually and what were their stories in the movie? What are the actors doing now? You may be surprised to find that you are currently watching a few on your favorite TV shows and movies! And what about one of the movie trivia, do you know everything about Love Actually?

When Love Actually was released in 2003, the world was still numb from the events of 911. When Love Actually begins, the opening scene shows the Heathrow arrivals area, while in the background, Hugh Grant’s soothing voice acknowledges the dismal state of the world. Yet, instead of believing that all is doom and gloom, he tells us to instead look in front of us, because “love is all around.”

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there–fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge–they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion…love actually is all around.”

According to Mental Floss, this opening scene was filmed on location, at Heathrow Airport in London, using secret cameras. The idea for this movie happened when director Richard Curtis was at the LAX arrivals gate.

The word “actually” was said in the movie 23 times, with the monologue being the first.

Billy Mack and Joe

The movie starts out with a washed up rock and roll star named Billy Mack, played brilliantly by Bill Nighy, and his long-suffering manager Joe, played by Gregor Fisher. Mack is desperate for a hit. While he thinks the Christmas re-imagination of the Trogg’s “Love Is All Around” is pretty cheesy, he obviously needs a hit. So he reluctantly records it and then goes around to radio and television programs to promotes it, with Joe right there supporting him all the way.

In Love Actually, Billy Mack records a very Robert Palmer-like video with beautiful models dressed in “Miss Santa 2000 suits” seductively playing instruments. Nighy admits that “I have many fond memories of me and the band in Love Actually.”

Nighy recently told the A.V. Club that the models loved working on the set and were treated like stars. It appears he rather relished the experience himself.

“The girls were so cool and so happy. They were all from a model agency. They were all obviously very beautiful models. I don’t think they got treated too well most of the time, so when they were on the film set, they got treated really nicely. They got brought cake and coffee. We had a laugh. And then I remember they got very excited about the premiere, because we turned up in the stretchiest of all stretches because it was a seven-piece band or something. We walked in formation down the thing.”

Throughout the movie, different characters are shown watching and laughing at Billy Mack on television. In one clip, the flamboyant rock star promises that he will strip naked if his new Christmas song reaches No. 1 on the charts. Other times, characters are listening to the new Christmas hit, or the video is on the screen in the background. The words “love is all around” is everywhere in the movie.

Previous to Love Actually, Bill Nighy was in a drama called The Men’s Room. After his incredible performance in Love Actually, Nighy became a popular commodity. He played the Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, in the Harry Potter films. You may recognize him as Davy Jones in a couple of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as well as Dr. Black in the Dr. Who series. In the past few years, he was also in the time travel romance About Time.

Perfect as the under appreciated Joe, Scottish comedian Gregor Fisher is best known for his portrayal of the title character of the show Rab. C. Nesbitt, that is said to have inspired Johnny Depp in his portrayal of the Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland. He was also Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist.

Fisher recently wrote his autobiography when he discovered that he was given up for adoption and to express how “weird” it was to see how much he resembled his real father and the change in his life once he uncovered his roots.

David and Natalie’s story

Hugh Grant plays the lovestruck British Prime Minister, David. An eligible bachelor, David falls instantly for a member of his staff, Natalie, who brightens his day with a smile and every afternoon brings him his tea and favorite chocolate cookies. There is a mistaken belief that she has betrayed him with the American President, played by Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband, Billy Bob Thornton, but in the end, love prevails.

Grant was at the peak of his career when starring in Love Actually. He admitted that the movie’s iconic dancing scene, where he boogied to the Pointer Sisters’ song “Jump (For My Love)” was the scene that the reserved actor dreaded filming the most.

“I dreaded the dance scene in Love Actually more than having my teeth extracted. And you know, the thing is, you gotta be in the mood for dancing.”

Director Richard Curtis remembers more details about this charming scene and how the “grumpy” Grant eventually warmed up to dancing for the camera and even began singing along to the song! As charming as that was, it became more difficult to do the final edits.

“He was hugely grumpy about it. He was so wanting his bit not to be fake; he wanted to feel as though he could be prime minister. Whenever I said, ‘Do it a bit sweeter,’ or ‘Do it a bit more charming,’ he thought he was being tricked. He kept on putting it off, and he didn’t like the song—it was originally a Jackson 5 song, but we couldn’t get it—so he was hugely unhappy about it. We didn’t shoot it until the final day and it went so well that when we edited it, it had gone too well, and he was singing along with the words.”

Grant has worked with Curtis in five very successful movies including Bridget Jones’ Diary, where he played the Wickham-like character in the modern Pride and Prejudice inspired movie. The Notting Hill actor recently reflected that for many years, he was not offered Oscar-worthy projects. He was not sought after by by “important directors.”

“The people who wanted me were always the money people, much more than the important directors.”

This trend has appeared to have dramatically changed as his recent performance in Florence Foster Jenkins, co-starring with Meryl Streep, the recent father of three has garnered a lot of Oscar buzz and even a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical!

As for Grant’s fictional character, real life Prime Minister Tony Blair found it hard to compete with Grant’s tough on the United States portrayal.

“I know there’s a bit of us that would like me to do a Hugh Grant in Love Actually and tell America where to get off. But the difference between a good film and real life is that in real life there’s the next day, the next year, the next lifetime to contemplate the ruinous consequences of easy applause.”

Martine McCutcheon, who played Grant’s love interest Natalie, a woman who swears like a sailor and works as member of the new Prime Minister’s house staff. McCutcheon was known for her role as Tiffany in the popular British soap, EastEnders. In fact, Richard Curtis was such a big fan of hers, he created that role just for her. Also a singer in the late 90s, she had a British hit with the song “Perfect Moment.”

In the past 13 years, the Kate Middleton lookalike has battled ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), a type of chronic fatigue, as well as depression, yet she has still continued with her career, releasing music as well as starring in a few TV shows such as Echo Beach and in movies like The Bromley Boys. She is currently on the British chat show called Loose Women.

Juliet, Peter and Mark’s story

When it came to Love Actually, it is hard to believe that Keira Knightly, who plays besotted newlywed Juliet whose husband’s best friend appears to hates her, was really a relative unknown at the time this movie came out. She had starred in the Disney hit Pirates of the Caribbean and previously in Bend it Like Beckham. Love Actually literally catapulted her to stardom.

Since Love Actually, she has been in Pride And Prejudice, portraying the iconic Elizabeth Bennett, The Duchess and The Imitation Game. Despite being in dozens of movies and television programs, she has taken time for a personal life and married James Righton from the band Klaxons and became a mother for the first time over a year ago.

She has been involved in the Green Carpet Challenge, a charity encouraging sustainability in the fashion industry.

In Love Actually, Juliet discovers that her husband, Peter’s best friend Mark, doesn’t hate her but actually is besotted with her. When they got married, Mark surprised them with a lovely edition of the Beatles song “All You Need Is Love” performed by a choir and a full band. This is one of Mark’s infamous gags.

Juliet learns of Mark’s secret when she demands to see photos from her wedding and instead of finding photos of her with Peter, she finds only photos of herself in her frothy wedding gown. Juliet’s revelation is a shock. Mark runs out of the house after confessing that he was acting like a jerk for the purpose of “self preservation…really.”

Then at Christmas, Mark comes to the door playing a Christmas carol on a portable player, as he shows her cue cards with words telling her of his true, romantic feelings. After he leaves, Juliet runs out the door and gives him a sweet and innocent kiss on the lips.

According to the Daily Beast, the wedding scene was filmed on the first anniversary of 911. As the scene was filmed near the American Embassy, the cast had a moment of silence for those souls that were lost on 911 before they began filming.

Juliet’s wedding dress was originally going to be sexy, midriff-baring gown. Joanna Johnston, the fashion designer for Love Actually told Grazia she had to convince director Richard Curtis that they had to give Juliet a more romantic look.

“I told Richard, ‘You don’t want a bare tummy going into church!’ So I went for a sheer, layered style instead with petal details underneath; gauzy and multi-layered.”

This wedding look became very popular for brides-to-be. In addition, all of Juliet’s bridesmaids wore white.

Another fun fact that Emma Freud, director Richard Curtis’ long-term partner, revealed is that the character of Mark is the closest to Curtis’ own personality. Fans must wonder if he communicates with cue cards? Speaking of the cards, the cards were inspired by the Bob Dylan video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and handwritten by Andrew Lincoln for the movie because he thought his “handwriting was really good.”

Mark is portrayed by Andrew Lincoln. If that name sounds familiar, it is because for the past six years, Lincoln, whose real last name is Clutterbuck, has portrayed Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. Married to the daughter of Jethro Tull’s singer and flutist Ian Anderson, Gael, for over a decade, the father of two told The Scotsman that The Walking Dead is really not about zombies as it is about love and human society.

“You realise it’s a horror novel, but it’s extraordinarily like Lord of the Flies. Forget about the zombie thing. It’s like a plague has occurred, and what is left of humanity? It’s about society and humanity and family, a love story really, and within that, everything has run riot and the rules no longer apply, people have gone extremely feral.”

Between his breakout role in Love Actually and The Walking Dead, Lincoln has acted in a variety of roles from movies to theater and in television, including a memorable role portraying Edgar Linton in Wuthering Heights, a movie based on one of the most romantic books ever written.

Peter, Juliet’s husband is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. While Ejiofor is only a secondary character in Love Actually, briefly shown at the wedding and when he and Juliet are cuddling in front of the tube. The actor was first introduced to the silver screen in the movie Amistad.

He went on to perform in a variety of television, theater and movie productions. It was when he portrayed Solomon Northup in the award-winning movie 12 Years A Slave that Ejiofor became a household name.

Brother to CNN correspondent Zain Asher, the London-born actor is heavily involved in UNHCR to bring awareness to the global refugee problem.

Karen, Harry and Mia’s story

This year, 2016, has been an especially sad year with celebrity deaths, and the loss of Alan Rickman has been difficult for his millions of fans. In Love Actually, Rickman will be remembered as Harry, the affable boss that has an affair with his young and attractive assistant, Mia. Despite playing the role of a cheating husband buying a gift for his girlfriend, Harry’s encounter with a particularly meticulous salesperson, played by Rowen Atkinson, was one of the most hysterical moments in the movie.

Although Harry is shopping with his wife Karen, he manages to stray away from her to sneak the purchase of an expensive necklace for his flirtatious secretary, Mia. Atkinson portrayal of Rufus, and his fastidious wrapping job almost gets Harry caught red-handed, yet when they get home, a suspicious Karen looks into Harry’s pockets to find the gorgeous necklace and is absolutely delighted. Yet, later in the movie, when their family each unwraps a single Christmas gift before heading out to the Christmas pageant, Karen is saddened to find that instead of a glittery necklace, she was given a CD of Joni Mitchell’s music, something Karen loves, but Harry confesses that this is something he has never understood about her. The stark revelation that there is another woman makes Karen question everything she values in her life and what she should do next.

A prolific actor, Rickman played a lot of villains in movies like Die Hard and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Rickman was most recently known as playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. Many will remember him as the honorable Colonial Brandon in Sense And Sensibility, starring alongside his Love Actually co-stars Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson. He will always be remembered for his exceptional talent.

Emma Thompson, who plays Karen, Harry’s wife, had no problem playing the long suffering wife. She told the Telegraph that she knew what it was like to play the role of a wife who encountered evidence that her husband was unfaithful. She had been married to actor and director Kenneth Branagh whose affair with Helena Bonham-Carter reportedly ended their marriage. She knew how to cry at home and show a bright smiling face to the public. The two-time Oscar winner also added that she wore a fat suit for her role as Karen as well.

“I wore a fat suit for Love Actually – and I knew just how to play that part, I’ve had so much bloody practice at crying in a bedroom and then having to go out and be cheerful, gathering up the pieces of my heart and putting them in a drawer.”

The only person to have won an Oscar for both acting and writing, Thompson met and married Sense and Sensibility co-star Greg Wise. Since then, they have happily had a daughter named Gaia and adopted a Rwandan orphan named Tindy. Thompson has since been in movies such as Nanny McPhee and even a bit part in the latest Bridget Jones Baby movie, both alongside Love Actually co-star Colin Firth.

Thompson also wrote and starred in the Dakota Fanning movie Effie Gray. This was the true story of the shocking trial of Pre-Raphaelite model and wife Effie Gray who caused a public scandal by asking to have her seven-year marriage to famous art critic and writer John Ruskin annulled because the marriage had never been consummated. This movie took years to be released due to a lawsuit that claimed that the story was stolen from another writer. Finally, the courts decreed that this story was not stolen and the movie was released to a lukewarm audience.

Mia, the other woman/secretary, is played by Heike Makatsch. Prior to Love Actually, she was in Resident Evil. The German-born actress and former partner of 007 James Bond Daniel Craig, has been seen mostly in German movies, but most recently in the movie The Book Thief. She is currently the mother of two girls with Max Martin Schroder from the German band Tomte.

Daniel, Sam and Joanna

Daniel, played by Liam Neeson, is grieving the loss of his wife. He has given up any hope of love for himself, unless he should ever meet Claudia Schiffer. His stepson Sam, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, seems distant and Daniel thinks Sam is holding his grief back. Daniel is surprised to find that he is wrong. Sam is not grieving, Sam is in love! The object off his affection is Joanna, played by Olivia Olson. Joanna is singing at the big Christmas production at their school and Sam wants to impress her by playing drums.

Daniel and Sam bond together in this venture. Sam plays a rousing drum performance behind singer Joanna at the Christmas pageant. The performance is huge success, but Sam realizes he has missed his chance to tell her how he felt. Worst of all, Olivia took off for the airport after the show to return to the United States. Daniel takes Sam to the airport to hopefully catch up with her. Because salesperson Rufus, played by Rowan Atkinson is slowing down the airport security line and is acting his fastidious self, Sam is able to sneak through and is able to say goodbye to Joanna. She reciprocates with a kiss.

Later, we see Daniel meet up with Carol, played by Claudia Schiffer and sparks fly!

Liam Neeson played a widower in Love Actually, but tragically became one just six years later when his actress wife, Natasha Richardson, died after hitting her head while skiing. Like Daniel, Neeson still holds a torch for his lost love. When Neeson was on The Actor’s Studio, host James Lipton asked, “if heaven exists, what do you want God to say to you when you’re at the pearly gate.” Without a pause, Neeson responded, “Your wife is inside with a chilled bottle of pinot noir.”

Before Love Actually, Neeson starred in Shindler’s List, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Dark Knight Rises, the Taken movies as well as video games and television. In Love Actually, Neeson is often seen chewing on a toothpick. This is because he had just quit smoking.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who plays Sam in Love Actually, is familiar to anyone who has watched Phineas and Ferb, as he is the voice of Ferb. Game of Thrones fans know Brodie-Sangster is Jojen Reed. Second cousin of Hugh Grant, the actor also performs on Wolf Hall, The Maze Runner and portrays a First Order Officer in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Love Actually was his first feature-length movie and holds it “close to his heart.” He told Interview that people still walk up to him and gush about his performance as Sam.

“It was my first-ever feature. It’s still something that I hold close to my heart, even though it comes up all the time. People are only ever nice about it.”

Another fun fact is that when Brodie-Sangster was to play drums for his role as Sam, his musical father taught him how to play. The actor does not consider himself to be a musician, but he loves music.

When Olivia Olson sang Mariah Carey’s “All I want For Christmas Is You,” she sounded so good that they had to alter her voice in post-production to make her sound younger. Olson has acted in several series and has recently been the voice of Vanessa Doofenshmirtz on Phineas and Ferb, alongside her Love Actually romantic interest Brodie-Sangster. She is currently the voice of Marceline on Adventure Time. Besides acting and voice work, Olivia continues to sing and perform with her beautiful voice.

Claudia Schiffer was not originally intended to be in the movie, but they could not find anyone that looked like her, so they got the supermodel to play herself. Cosmopolitan reports that she was paid £200,000 for her one minute cameo. Not bad work!

Jamie and Aurelia

Jamie, portrayed by Colin Firth, left Juliet and Peter’s wedding to attend to his ailing wife, in hopes that she was able to join him at the wedding party festivities. Instead, he discovers that his wife is having an affair with his brother! Jamie heads to France to work on his novel, meeting Aurelia, played by Lucia Moniz, the housekeeper that only speaks Portuguese.

The attraction is instant between the two of them, and despite their inability to speak the same language, there are sparks. Jamie is an old-fashioned writer who does not use a computer. One day, while working outside, the pages of Jamie’s book suddenly became loose and with a gust of wind, they are sent flying and landing in the lake. Both Jamie and Aurelia jump into the water to save the irreplaceable pages in one of the most romantic scenes in the movie. When he returns to London, Jamie tries to learn Portuguese. He learns enough to go to her and ask for her hand in marriage. Of course, she says yes!

Anyone who is a Pride and Prejudice fan is familiar with Colin Firth. The actor literally reinvented the character of Darcy with his iconic portrayal, complete with memorable dip in the Pemberley lake. He also portrays Marc Darcy in the Bridget Jones series, the modern re-imagination of the iconic Jane Austin novel.

Since Love Actually, Firth has been in variety of movies including The Single Man and The King’s Speech, the role that earned him an Oscar. When filming Love Actually, during the romantic lake scene, the water was only about a foot and a half deep, with a lot of mosquitoes. They bit up Firth’s arm so badly, it became very swollen. Another fun fact is that director Richard Curtis’ brother is named Jamie, so he had a bit of a laugh and a dig when the kids in the movie said “we hate uncle Jamie.”

The beautiful Portuguese actress and singer Lucia Moniz won Eurovision in 1996 and continues to record music and perform in mostly Portuguese movies and television.

Sarah, Karl and Michael

Sarah, portrayed by Laura Linney, works for Harry. An American expat, she has a huge crush on her creative director co-worker Karl, portrayed by Rodrigo Santoro. Although they are obviously attracted to each other, they are both shy and this unrequited love has gone on for years. Sarah’s boss Harry even asks her to please make her move on him. The opportunity strikes after the company Christmas party, but Sarah and Karl’s rendezvous is cut short because Sarah receives a call from the hospital.

Next, we then see Sarah visiting her mentally ill brother Michael, played by Michael Fitzgerald, at the hospital. The romance between Sarah and Karl has been extinguished.

When director Richard Curtis was looking for an actress to play Sarah, he wanted a “Laura Linney type.” He had no luck finding an actress that would fit. His partner, Emma Freud, suggested that he contact Linney and she took the role.

Speaking to EW, Laura Linney concedes that the story of Sarah and Karl is bittersweet, yet she confesses that she got a bit of a bonus from working with Rodrigo Santoro.

“I got the best kiss! That’s what I think. But it’s true, a lot of times, those things don’t work out, and I’m more than happy to represent that type of story.”

An accomplished actress, Laura Linney was filming Mystic River at the same time as Love Actually. She racked up a lot of transcontinental miles during this period of time. The award-winning actress was in John Adams, and more recently in Sully and Nocturnal Animals.

When Linney married her husband Marc Schauer, her Love Actually co-star Liam Neeson walked her down the aisle.

Before Love Actually, Rodrigo Santoro was in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Besides acting in many movies and television shows in his native Brazil, the actor has portrayed Paulo on Lost, Xerxes in 300, and is currently playing Hector Escaton in the HBO hit Westworld.

Michael Fitzgerald has been in the movies Intimacy and Kingdom of Heaven.

John and Judy

The most uncomfortable romance is that of John, played by Martin Freeman, and Judy, played by Joanna Page. Uncomfortable because they are filming body double sex scenes for a movie. As they are put into funny and compromising positions, the two become closer, discussing their past roles and reveal bits about their own personal lives. When they are clothed and not working, both are quite shy and have difficulty conversing. Eventually, the movie has finished filming, and both start dating, laughing at what they will tell everyone the circumstances of their meeting.

Martin Freeman told The Graham Norton Show that the scenes between John and Judy were never meant to be sexy.

“I guess the point with Love Actually is that it was not meant to be sexy. It was meant to be fun and innocent.”

Martin Freeman is everywhere. He was in the original British version of The Office, in the Hobbit movies, Fargo television crime drama, and Captain America: Civil War.

The Welsh-born Joanna Page has been in a variety of television shows and a handful of movies. The mother of three is best known for the show Gavin & Stacey.

Colin and the American Girls From Milwaukee

Colin, played by Kris Marshall, is a waiter/caterer who cannot get a date with a British woman, so he announces to his friend that he is going to the United States to find a woman that will date him. He heard that they love British accents and he will be considered hot. Convinced that he will find love in the states, Colin heads out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

There, at a bar, he meets Stacey, played by Ivana Milicevic, Jeannie, played by January Jones and Carol-Anne played by Elisha Cuthbert. They hear his accent and find him wildly attractive and invite him over to their place. The only problem is that they only have one mattress and they all have to share a single bed. They warn him that Harriet, played by Shannon Elizabeth, is crazy about British men. Colin is ecstatic that all of his wildest dreams have come true and that American women do love a British accent.

The affable Kris Marshall has been in a cornucopia of television, radio and theater productions. Just look for that adorable smile! Most recently, he was in Sparks & Embers.

Ivana Milicevic has been doing voiceovers and acting in a variety of shows including American Dad and more recently, Banshee.

January Jones is well known for her role as Betty Draper in Mad Men. The South Dakota native, named after a character in Jacqueline Suzanne’s notoriously sexy book Once Is Not Enough, she is currently on the show The Last Man On Earth.

Emma Freud stated that “January Jones wrote half of her lines. She was soooooo when we filmed that scene.”

Elisha Cuthbert is best known for her role in Happy Endings. She has most recently been in the Netflix comedy, The Ranch and in the movie Good: Last of the Enforcers.

Shannon Elizabeth was known for the American Pie movies before Love Actually. She has been in a variety of movies, with the most recent called Swing Away. A dedicated vegan and environmentalist, the actress is very dedicated to animal causes.

Which is is your favorite story in Love Actually? Is this a movie you watch every holiday season?

[Featured Image by Franco Origlia/Getty Images]

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