'Love Actually': Where are they now? (2024)

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Love Actually, then and now

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In 2003, an interconnected group of Londoners showed us that love actually is all around, in what has become one of the most beloved contemporary Christmas classics. We feel it in our fingers, we feel it in our toes — the warmth and laughs of the Richard Curtis flick that united the likes of Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Emma Thompson into the ultimate holiday-themed rom-com.

Though we all have our thoughts on which plot is best in this overstuffed Christmas present, we can agree that it displays a memorable range of talent across the board. From well-established stars to newcomers who have gone on to bigger fame, Love Actually truly boasts an all-star cast. Thanks to a Red Nose Day special in 2017, we know what their characters have been up to in the years since, but where are the actors now? See what projects have kept the cast busy, ahead.

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Bill Nighy (Billy Mack)

'Love Actually': Where are they now? (2)

A long-established and revered stage actor in England, Bill Nighy rose to international prominence with his outrageous portrayal of off-the-rails, aging rock star Billy Mack.

He parlayed that role into several blockbuster franchises — donning a CGI squid face as the dastardly Davy Jones in multiple Pirates of the Caribbean films and portraying Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 (2010). He reunited with Richard Curtis for a tear-jerking role as the time-traveling father of Domhnall Gleeson in 2013's About Time. Nighy played a role in each of the loosely connected Simon Pegg-led films of Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy — Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013). He also has a recurring role as Viktor in the Underworld vampire series.

Nighy maintains a diverse career doing animated films (2011's Rango), television (Page Eight, Doctor Who), action films (2012's Wrath of the Titans), and heartwarming indies (2012's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). Other appearances include Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019), Hope Gap (2019), Emma (2020), Netflix's Castlevania, and Starz's The Man Who Fell to Earth.

The veteran actor finally earned his first Oscar nomination in 2023 for his performance in Living (2022), a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1952 classic Ikiru.

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Colin Firth (Jamie)

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Colin Firth was one of the reigning kings of the rom-com when he took on the part of jilted writer Jamie, who finds love with his Portuguese housekeeper in spite of their language barrier.

Known as the thinking woman's cup of tea ever since he took a dive in a lake as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Firth had carved a niche for himself as a particular type of sweet-but-bumbling leading man who felt quintessentially English to Anglophiles around the world. He continued in this vein, reprising his role as Mark Darcy in two Bridget Jones sequels, slipping into spandex for Mamma Mia! (2008) and its 2018 sequel, and returning to his period film roots with Nanny McPhee (2005).

Firth also traded in rom-com fun for prestige pictures, earning his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a gay man grieving his lover in A Single Man (2009). He won the Oscar for 2010's The King's Speech, in which he portrayed King George VI, a monarch with a stutter tasked with giving the now-famous radio address announcing England's entry into World War II.

Projects since have included producing efforts (2016's Loving), action flicks (Kingsman franchise), and thrillers (2011's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Firth appeared in Sam Mendes' World War I epic 1917 (2019), the 2020 adaptation of The Secret Garden, the indie drama Supernova (2020), war film Operation Mincemeat (2021), and another Mendes film, Empire of Light (2022).

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Liam Neeson (Daniel)

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Liam Neeson had a solid record of prestige period pieces under his belt and a quintessential role as Qui-Gonn Jinn in the Star Wars prequels when he took on the role of grieving husband and best-stepdad-ever Daniel in Love Actually.

He gave voice to the lion Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia films and played a key role in Batman Begins (2005) immediately following, but his career hit a new high when he played a dad with a "very particular set of skills" in Taken (2008). He continued his streak as an action star with two Taken sequels, Clash of the Titans (2010), the 2010 A-Team adaptation, and The Grey (2012). He also returned to the Christopher Nolan Batman films, reprising his role in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). He sent up his tough-guy image voicing Bad Cop/Good Cop in The Lego Movie (2014).

Neeson portrayed key Watergate informant Mark Felt in an eponymous 2017 film about the man known as Deep Throat, played a master criminal in Widows (2018), and helped keep the planet safe in Men in Black: International (2019). He returned to action in such films as The Marksman (2021), The Ice Road (2021), Blacklight (2022), and Memory (2022).

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Emma Thompson (Karen)

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Emma Thompson had already earned her rep as one of Britain's finest talents, winning Oscars for her performance in Howards End (1992) and her adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (1995), when Richard Curtis brought her in to play Karen, a hard-working mother who is being cheated on by her husband (if you don't cry when she listens to Joni Mitchell, you have no heart).

Thompson next consulted a crystal ball in the Harry Potter franchise as questionably accurate Divination professor Sybill Trelawney. She both played the titular role and adapted two Nanny McPhee films based on popular children's books. Thompson starred as the intimidating Lady Marchmain in the remake of Brideshead Revisited (2008), as well as portraying the complex and disagreeable Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks (2013).

Thompson helped pen Bridget Jones's Baby (2016) and also starred as the title character's OB-GYN, Dr. Rawlings. She appeared as Mrs. Potts in the live-action Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Maureen in The Meyerowitz Stories (2017). Thompson had triple duty on 2019's Last Christmas as writer, producer, and costar.

She returned to the world of Disney as the Baroness to Emma Stone's young Cruella de Vil in Cruella (2021) and played another villainous character, Miss Trunchbull, in Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical (2022). Thompson earned nominations from the Golden Globes and BAFTA for her performance in the understated sex dramedy Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022).

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Kris Marshall (Colin Frissell)

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Kris Marshall transitioned from a lead role on the BBC sitcom My Family to one of the most memorable characters in Love Actually, Colin Frissell — the Brit who believes he's on the "wrong continent" and travels to America to pick up women with his "cute British accent."

After the film, he stayed with My Family until 2005. He's had recurring roles on several British television shows, including Citizen Khan, Lightfields, and Traffic Light. Marshall also played a detective on two British series, Murder City and Death in Paradise. He later starred on ITV's adaptation of Jane Austen's Sanditon in 2019 and BBC's We Hunt Together, which was picked up in America by Showtime in 2020.

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Heike Makatsch (Mia)

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German actress Heike Makatsch made a splash as Dr. Lisa Addison in the first Resident Evil film before portraying sexually aggressive secretary Mia in Love Actually.

Since then, she's primarily worked in German film and television, though she did portray Leisel's mother in the big-screen adaptation of The Book Thief (2013).

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Martin Freeman (John)

'Love Actually': Where are they now? (8)

Martin Freeman was best known for portraying lovesick office worker Tim on the original British version of The Office when Richard Curtis recruited him to play body double John, who has a charming blooming relationship with his on-screen partner in nudity, "Just Judy."

In 2005, he portrayed the main character Arthur Dent in a film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and his career has taken off from there. Beginning in 2010, he played Dr. John Watson opposite Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes in BBC's phenomenally popular modern update of Sherlock, for which he won an Emmy.

In 2012, he headlined his own Lord of the Rings movie, portraying Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a role he would reprise in two additional films. He also gave a highly praised turn as Minnesotan police officer Lester Nygaard in the first season of FX's Fargo.

After a second round as his Marvel Cinematic Universe character Everett K. Ross in 2018's Black Panther, Freeman appeared with Diane Kruger in 2019's The Operative, and went on to star on a show he co-created, Breeders. He returned to the MCU in 2022 as Ross in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and in 2023 in the Disney+ miniseries Secret Invasion.

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Joanna Page ("Just Judy")

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Joanna Page had starred in several British miniseries and worked steadily onstage when she took on the role of charming body double "Just Judy" in Love Actually.

She has continued to work in British television since, most notably portraying one of the title characters of the James Corden-created sitcom . She starred as Queen Elizabeth I in the 50th-anniversary episode of Doctor Who. After an eight-year absence, she returned to the big screen in 2020 with roles in Dolittle and Dream Horse.

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Andrew Lincoln (Mark)

'Love Actually': Where are they now? (10)

Andrew Lincoln portrayed one of the most polarizing characters in Love Actually, the lovesick Mark who shows up at his best friend's house to tell said friend's wife he loves her in a series of handwritten posters (creepy or swoon-inducing? Your call).

He continued to work in British television and played Edgar in an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, but he was launched to international recognition in 2010 when cast as Sheriff Rick Grimes on AMC's adaptation of The Walking Dead.

Apart from reprising his role as Mark in Red Nose Day Actually, Lincoln primarily focused on portraying Rick Grimes until leaving the show in 2018. He went on to star in the Naomi Watts-produced Penguin Bloom in 2020. He also popped up in an episode of Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities in 2022.

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Keira Knightley (Juliet)

Keira Knightley was only 18 when Love Actually dropped in 2003, but it proved to be a breakout year for her. After winning audiences over in 2002 with Bend It Like Beckham, Knightley was fast-tracked to superstardom as Elizabeth Swann in the first film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and Juliet in Love Actually in 2003.

In 2006, she earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (2005), making her a go-to talent for period pieces like The duch*ess (2008), Anna Karenina (2012), and more. In 2007, she played Cecilia Tallis in the adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement. She received her second Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Joan Clarke, Bletchley code-breaker and fiancée to Benedict Cumberbatch's Alan Turing, in 2014's The Imitation Game.

In 2017, she reprised both Juliet and Elizabeth Swann in Red Nose Day and a Pirates sequel, respectively. After playing the Sugar Plum Fairy in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in 2018, Knightley took on the role of British whistleblower Katharine Gun in Official Secrets, and an officer's wife in post-WWII Germany in The Aftermath, both released in 2019. The next year saw Knightley return to comedy with Misbehaviour, and her next film, Silent Night, turned out to be a very different kind of holiday delight.

Keira Knightley pops the Love Actually secret behind her scene with Andrew Lincoln

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Chiwetel Ejiofor (Peter)

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Chiwetel Ejiofor was virtually unknown to American audiences when he took on the minor role of Peter, Keira Knightley's character's husband and best friend to Andrew Lincoln's lovelorn Mark.

He continued to turn in solid work, playing drag queen Lola in Kinky Boots (2005) and supporting roles in Children of Men (2006) and American Gangster (2007). His career reached new heights in 2014 when he earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery, in 12 Years a Slave.

Since then, he appeared in The Martian (2015) opposite Matt Damon and joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Mordo in Doctor Strange (2016) and its 2022 sequel. He voiced Scar in the live-action update of The Lion King (2019), tracked down Charlize Theron's Andy in Netflix's The Old Guard in 2020, and appeared in Antoine Fuqua's Infinite (2021). He also reunited with Nighy in 2022 as the star of The Man Who Fell to Earth.

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Hugh Grant (The Prime Minister a.k.a. David)

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Hugh Grant is arguably writer-director Richard Curtis' greatest muse, first rising to fame and his rom-com leading man status in Curtis' Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and subsequently appearing in the writer's Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), and Love Actually — the latter as a dancing prime minister inconveniently in love with one of his employees.

After Love Actually, Grant continued to hit his rom-com sweet spot, appearing in a Bridget Jones sequel and Wham! send-up Music and Lyrics (2007). He also played against type in multiple roles in the time-spanning Cloud Atlas (2012). Grant returned to his period piece roots, priorly showcased in Sense and Sensibility, as the devoted and long-suffering husband to Meryl Streep's title character in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), then followed that up by dancing his way through Paddington 2 (2018) and appearing in Guy Ritchie's The Gentleman (2019) and Rian Johnson's Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022).

Grant earned Emmy nominations for his TV work as politician Jeremy Thorpe in the British miniseries A Very English Scandal, and as an untrustworthy husband in HBO's The Undoing opposite Nicole Kidman.

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Martine McCutcheon (Natalie)

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Martine McCutcheon is probably still best known to audiences for her portrayal of Natalie, a foul-mouthed employee of the Prime Minister who finds herself falling for the leader of her country (and her boss).

She's since appeared on numerous British television shows, including Midsomer Murders and Echo Beach. In the late-'90s, McCutcheon was also a successful British pop star and 2017 saw the release of her fourth studio album, Lost and Found, which was the highest of her records on the charts since her debut album in 1999.

McCutcheon appeared in 2018's The Bromley Boys, and keeps busy with appearances on British versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Celebrity Supermarket Sweep, Comedy Game Night, and The Masked Singer.

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Laura Linney (Sarah)

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Laura Linney was already a highly respected actress, having been Oscar-nominated for 2000's You Can Count on Me, when she took on the part of Sarah — an American whose crush on her co-worker is derailed by her role as caretaker for her brother who has a mental health condition.

Since Love Actually, Linney has earned two more Oscar nominations for her work in Kinsey (2005) and The Savages (2007). She won an Emmy for her portrayal of First Lady Abigail Adams in the 2008 HBO miniseries John Adams, as well as for her work headlining four seasons of cancer dramedy series The Big C.

She went on to star opposite Jason Bateman on the Netflix crime drama Ozark, a part that earned her three Emmy nominations for acting (plus, one more for producing). She also took part in the miniseries Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, in addition to starring in Viggo Mortensen's directorial debut Falling (2020) and Sally Potter's The Roads Not Taken (2020).

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Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Sam)

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Thomas Brodie-Sangster made his feature film debut at the age of 12 as the lovelorn Sam who chases his crush through Heathrow airport to proclaim his love.

He has continued to work steadily since, voicing Ferb on the Disney Channel animated series Phineas and Ferb and playing a young Paul McCartney in Nowhere Boy (2009). He's appeared in projects as varied as Jane Campion's Bright Star (2009), two episodes of Doctor Who, and the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. Many now know him as Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones or as Newt in The Maze Runner films.

He appeared in two Netflix miniseries helmed by Scott Frank: Godless and The Queen's Gambit, earning an Emmy nomination for the latter. He next costarred in the Danny Boyle-directed miniseries Pistol.

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Alan Rickman (Harry)

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By the time he appeared as the adulterous Harry in Love Actually, Alan Rickman was already one of the most distinctive actors of his generation for his work in films like Die Hard (1988), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Sense and Sensibility, and Galaxy Quest (1999).

He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Severus Snape across all eight Harry Potter films, a character essential to the series for his vacillation between hero and villain. In 2007, he changed things up, appearing in a musical as the lecherous Judge Turpin in the screen adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Rickman died in January 2016 at the age of 69.

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Rodrigo Santoro (Karl)

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Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro was very new to Hollywood when he took on the role of hunky, enigmatic Karl — the object of Laura Linney's Sarah's affections.

In 2006, he took on perhaps his best-remembered role as Persian emperor Xerxes in 300, a role he reprised in the 2014 sequel. He also portrayed Paulo on Lost, as well as featuring as Jesus in 2016's remake of Ben-Hur.

In addition to starring in many Spanish-language films and television series, he has continued to carve a place for himself in Hollywood, acting alongside Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Project Power (2020). He would play Hector Escaton on HBO's Westworld for three seasons, and appears on the Paramount+ supernatural drama Wolf Pack.

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Lúcia Moniz (Aurelia)

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As Aurelia, Jamie's housekeeper, Lúcia Moniz speaks very little English in the film, instead delivering her lines in Portuguese. She became part of one of the film's most beloved segments and was featured in the Red Nose Actually update.

Since 2003, Moniz has appeared in numerous Portuguese film and television series, as well as released two albums. Moniz is a singer who had released two albums prior to Love Actually and provided dubbing for the speaking and singing voice of Anastasia's title role in the Portuguese release of the animated 1997 film.

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Billy Bob Thornton (The U.S. President)

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Billy Bob Thornton had two Oscar nominations to his credit for A Simple Plan (1998) and Sling Blade (1996) — and a win for writing the latter — when he made a cameo as the smarmy U.S. president in Love Actually.

That same year he portrayed the title character in Bad Santa, a role he reprised in a 2016 sequel. He has appeared in a wide range of films since, including Friday Night Lights (2004), Mr. Woodco*ck (2007), Our Brand Is Crisis (2015), Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016), and The Gray Man (2022).

He also starred on the first season of Fargo alongside Martin Freeman as Lorne Malvo, for which he earned an Emmy nomination. He then took on a Golden Globe-winning role on Amazon's Goliath, and lent his voice to the country musical podcast Make It Up As We Go.

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Rowan Atkinson (Rufus, the jewelry salesman)

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Best known for his roles on British sitcoms Blackadder and Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson brought his signature brand of bumbling humor to his cameo as an overzealous salesman in Love Actually. Atkinson had a long-running relationship with writer-director Richard Curtis, having co-written the Blackadder television series with him.

In the years since, Atkinson has continued to play his most popular character Mr. Bean, including on an animated series, a sketch at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, and on the short-form TV series Mr. Bean.

He has also appeared as a hapless British spy in three Johnny English films and a series of television films as famous fictional French detective Jules Maigret. Atkinson starred on another short-form series, Man vs. Bee, which premiered on Netflix in 2022.

'Love Actually': Where are they now? (2024)
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