Take a look at where the Love Actually cast are now

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a feel-good flick

This year, the heartwarming festive rom-com Love Actually turns 20. We find out what the stars have been up to since 2003!

Stream Love Actually now on Apple TV+ with a 7 day FREE trial. Subscribe here.

Bill Nighy

“I feel it in my fingers…” Bill hits the right note as a rocker.

Bill got laughs aplenty as snakeskin-clad ageing rocker Billy Mack. Since then, the British actor has continued to entertain in everything from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to About Time – but lately it’s his own love life that’s had tongues wagging. The star, who’s 74 on December 12, is often spotted on the arm of American Vogue editor-in-chief Dame Anna Wintour, 74, most recently at the Met Gala in New York. Divorced Anna and single Bill, however, insist it’s not love, actually – but a longstanding platonic friendship.

Dame Emma Thompson & Alan Rickman

Alan portrayed love cheat Harry, who was more focused on his lust for an attractive work colleague than being faithful to his wife, played by Emma. The year the movie came out, Emma wed fellow actor Greg Wise and the couple – who shared daughter Gaia – informally adopted a Rwandan orphan and former child soldier, Tindyebwa Agaba. Emma, 64, made waves in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, when she went nude, later saying it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do”. In 2016, Alan – who terrified and fascinated as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films – was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He told only his closest confidants and died in January the following year, aged 69.

Rowan Atkinson

Oh, what a delicious scene-stealer! Rowan played jewellery salesman Rufus in the part where Alan’s character sneaks away from his wife to purchase a gold necklace for his lover. Rufus takes an excruciatingly long time gift-wrapping it, adding gold ribbon, lavender and flower buds, a cinnamon stick and a sprig of holly. The Blackadder and Mr Bean actor, 68, went on to reprise another famously comedic role in Johnny English Strikes Again. He split from his wife of 24 years, Sunetra Sastry, 66, in 2014 and is now in a relationship with comedian Louise Ford, 42.

Liam Neeson & Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Liam captured hearts as Daniel, the newly widowed dad of lovesick 11-year-old Sam, played by Thomas. Thomas is now 33 and this year announced his engagement to Westworld actress and Elon Musk’s ex-wife Talulah Riley, 38. After Love, Actually, he went on to bag parts in blockbusters, including Nowhere Boy, Game of Thrones and The Maze Runner. For Liam, tragically, life imitated art. After playing a grieving widower, in 2009 he became one when his wife of 15 years, actor Natasha Richardson, died after a skiing accident in Canada, aged 45. “Plenty of times I’ve thought about this film and my own life,” reflects Liam, 71.

Hugh Grant

Hugh knew he could bust the moves?!

“I thought, ‘That’s going to be the most excruciating scene ever committed to celluloid,'” Hugh said of his now famous dance scene, adding, “I’m proud of the fact I did it without any stimulants.” Hugh, 63, already had a string of top-rating films behind him when he stepped into the shoes of the lonely-for-love prime minister in Love Actually. He was also a notoriously eligible bachelor, but at 51, he became a first-time dad, sharing daughter Tabitha and son Felix with former flame Tinglan Hong, 44, and three more youngsters, aged between five and 11, with his Swedish TV producer wife Anna Eberstein, 40.

Keira Knightley & Chiwetel Ejiofor

This is marriage actually, but the groom’s mate is after the bride.

Keira played Juliet, who can’t figure out why her fiancé Peter’s best friend Mark seems to loathe her, until he stands at her door with flash cards, explaining he’s head-over-heels in love with her. That same year, Keira also starred in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The two-time Academy Award nominee, 38, married British musician James Righton, 40, in 2013, and they have two daughters, Edie, eight, and Delilah, four. Two years after playing clueless groom Peter, Chiwetel, 46, stunned moviegoers as drag queen Lola in the film Kinky Boots. It kick-started a successful career that has netted him a Best Actor Bafta and an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, along with a slew of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Chiwetel says he loves the film but admits Andrew Lincoln (who starred as Mark) was “a complete weirdo” in it. He jokes that thanks to Andrew’s convincing portrayal of a smitten stalker, “I never saw him the same way again after that.”

Kris Marshall

January plays a US beauty who fancies Colin.

After playing hapless Colin Frissell, Kris, 50, played a detective for two years in the drama series Murder City and again in 2014 on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe as DI Humphrey Goodman, in four series of Death in Paradise. He has also appeared in the period drama Sanditon. Kris says he’s very grateful to Richard Curtis for casting him in Love Actually, which has “taken on a life of its own. It has given me a lot of great opportunities.” But he adds, “I don’t watch it any more, though, because I’ve seen it so many times. I’m not particularly comfortable watching myself on screen.” In 2008, Kris ended up in intensive care with head injuries after being hit by a car during a night out. He made a full recovery.

Notable moments

Not a good sign for obsessed Mark!

January Jones appeared in one scene as Jeannie, one of the American girls entranced by Colin’s British accent. But January, 45, progressed to what’s possibly one of the best- ever TV series – Mad Men. She played Don Draper’s wife Betty for eight years, earning her two Golden Globe nominations and an Emmy. Script editor Emma Freud, wife of Love Actually writer and director Richard, later revealed that January ended up writing many of the lines she said in her scene with Kris. Andrew Lincoln, 50, played Mark, who was hopelessly in love with his best friend’s fiancée in the movie. He went seriously A-list seven years later as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.

Stream Love Actually now on Apple TV+ with a 7 day FREE trial. Subscribe here.

20 fascinating facts about Love Actually

1 Keira Knightley was 17 (four years older than Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s Sam) when she played Juliet.

2 Colin Firth (Jamie) and Lucia Moniz (Aurelia) shot the scene where his manuscript blows into the lake on their knees because the water was so shallow.

3 Bill Nighy (Billy) didn’t realise he was auditioning for the movie. He read the script to a casting director friend, thinking he was helping her hear the dialogue aloud. He was surprised to be offered the role.

4 The airport footage is real. It was filmed on hidden cameras set up at Heathrow.

5 Hugh Grant (David) hated his dancing scene, even faking an ankle injury to avoid it, finally shooting it on the last day of filming. He described it as “absolute hell”.

6 The scene where Kris Marshall (Colin) insults caterer Nancy, played by Julia Davis, was originally written by scriptwriter/director Richard Curtis for Hugh’s character to say in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. It got cut, so Richard recycled it for Love Actually.

7 Andrew Lincoln (Mark) handwrote the signs he shows to Juliet himself.

8 Olivia Olson (Joanna) had a crush on co-star Thomas and was nervous about their on-screen kiss. She also worried it would look “weird” because she was taller.

9 When he was a student, now director Richard was devastated when his university girlfriend left him for a man called Bernard, so he tries to include an unpopular character called Bernard in all his movies. In Love Actually, it is the “horrid son” of Emma Thompson (Karen) and Alan Rickman (Harry).

10 Hugh and young co-star Thomas have the same great-great-grandmother, making them second cousins.

11 Supermodel Claudia Schiffer (Carol) was reportedly paid $400,000 for her brief cameo – just over $6500 per second of screen time.

12 Keira wore a hat in the scene where she went to see Andrew’s character because she had a huge pimple on her forehead.

13 Bill says people still come up to him and quote one of his character Billy Mack’s famous lines: “Hi kids! Don’t buy drugs – become a rockstar and they give you them for free.”

14 Billy Bob Thornton, who played the US president, has some strange phobias, including disliking photographs of former British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli because of his facial hair. There was a photo of Disraeli on the set that doubled for 10 Downing Street and Billy Bob had to turn his back every time he walked past it.

15 Billy Bob also doesn’t like antiques, so to wind him up, Hugh would point out antique furniture on set just as they were about to film a scene.

16 Emma shot her crying scene 12 times. She channelled the pain she felt after learning that her former husband Sir Kenneth Branagh had been unfaithful to her with Helena Bonham Carter, and went on to produce a heartbreaking performance.

17 Kris returned his pay cheque for the scene where his character Colin is undressed by several American women. He said it was so much fun, he was happy to do it for free. The silhouette shot took 21 takes.

18 Director Richard called Colin’s character Jamie. In the film, there’s a scene where his nieces and nephews say, “We hate Uncle Jamie.” Richard’s brother is called Jamie.

19 The wedding scene where people start playing All You Need is Love was inspired by the funeral of Muppets creator Jim Henson, when “muppeteers” pulled out their puppets and sang a tribute.

20 Richard wrote the character of Sarah with a “Laura Linney-type actress” in mind. When he couldn’t find someone suitable, his wife, script editor Emma Freud, said, “Why don’t you ask Laura Linney?”

Stream Love Actually now on Apple TV+ with a 7 day FREE trial. Subscribe here.

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