Essential festive viewing, Love Actually is easily the starriest Christmas film out there boasting screen legends such as Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson and Colin Firth.


Believe it or not, it has been sixteen years(!) since the British film smashed the box office in Christmas 2003, and since then the famous faces have been rather busy.

Here's a look at what the cast has been up to – other than appearing in Red Nose Day Actually of course.

Hugh Grant (David)

Hugh Grant: A Life on Screen
BBC/BAFTA/Debra Hurford Brown

Rom-com favourite Hugh Grant played David, the British Prime Minister who fell for Martine McCutcheon and blessed Downing Street with his dance moves, a clip which still does the online rounds on Youtube or in gif form.

Other than starring in the Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Grant had a quiet couple of years after Love Actually, but has recently appeared in Paddington 2, the critically-acclaimed A Very English Scandal and can soon be seen in Guy Ritchie's The Gentleman.

Hugh, of course, appeared in Red Nose Day Actually in 2017, but also One Red Nose Day and a Wedding earlier this year, a short sequel to another of his Richard Curtis collaborations Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Liam Neeson (Daniel)

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson played Daniel, a grieving widow who encouraged the then-young Thomas Brodie-Sangster to pursue his American classmate crush through Heathrow airport in true rom-com fashion.

After Love Actually, Neeson appeared in Batman Begins and voiced Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia films, but his image forever changed after surprise hit Taken turned him into a mature action hero, and he would go on to appear in the Taken sequels, The Grey and Clash of the Titans.

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Most recently he starred in Cold Pursuit and Men in Black: International.

Colin Firth (Jamie)

Colin Firth

After Love Actually, Firth starred in several crowd-pleasers such as Nanny McPhee and Mamma Mia!, before earning awards recognition for A Single Man and an Oscar for The King's Speech.

He is known these days for playing spy Harry Hart in the Kingsman films, and also recently starred in Mary Poppins Returns and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Dame Emma Thompson (Karen)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 7: Actress Emma Thompson leaves Buckingham Palace after receiving her damehood at an Investiture ceremony on November 7, 2018 in London, England. Ms Thompson, 59, received the accolade in recognition of her services to drama. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Dame Emma Thompson, of course, played poor jilted wife Karen, who famously broke down upon learning her husband was having an affair – a scene Thompson based on her own experience.

After Love Actually, Thompson popped up in the Harry Potter films as Professor Trelawney, wrote and starred in the Nanny McPhee movies and appeared in Bridget Jones's Baby.

She was most recently seen in BBC drama Years and Years, reuniting with Liam Neeson in Men in Black: International and wrote the screenplay for fellow festive film Last Christmas.

Laura Linney (Sarah)

Laura Linney

One of the few Americans in the film, Linney played Sarah, the graphic designer trying to woo her work colleague.

The following year Linney reunited with Liam Neeson in Kinsey, and would go on to star in films such as The Savages, Arthur Christmas and Sully.

However, it is television that Linney is probably best known for now, having played the lead character Cathy in The Big C, and starring alongside Jason Bateman in Netflix thriller Ozark.

Alan Rickman (Harry)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Alan Rickman attends the World Premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 at Trafalgar Square on July 7, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Rickman played managing director Harry, who got awfully close to his secretary Mia and of course broke his poor wife Karen's heart.

Rickman, of course, continued to play Severus Snape in all the Harry Potter films, appeared in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd adaptation and voiced Absolem the caterpillar in the Alice in Wonderland films. He sadly passed away from cancer in 2016.

Keira Knightley (Juliet)

Keira Knightley (Getty)
Keira Knightley (Getty)

Knightley played the appropriately-named Juliet, the recipient of Andrew Lincoln's affection in the famous cue card scene that was recently recreated by Boris Johnson.

Knightley found stardom around the time Love Actually came out by appearing in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, as well as period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina.

She recently appeared in another period piece The Aftermath earlier in 2019, as well as political thriller Official Secrets.

Martine McCutcheon (Natalie)

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 14.23.13

McCutcheon was tipped for Hollywood stardom after appearing in Love Actually, but alas it was not to be. Upon returning from America she starred in ITV soap Echo Beach, was a judge on Soapstar Superstar and a regular panellist on a series of Loose Women. She has stayed out of the spotlight in recent years, but did revive her pop career in 2017 with new album Lost and Found.

She also recreated Love Actually's famous cue card scene in an advert for Uber Eats this year.

Bill Nighy (Billy Mack)

bill nighy

The seemingly ageless Bill Nighy played rock and roll star Billy Mack, who was aiming for the Christmas Number One before it was an X Factor staple – his song Christmas Is All Around is still stuck in our heads.

He was then hardly recognisable in his motion-capture performance as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, briefly popped up in Shaun of the Dead, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as Rufus Scrimgeour.

More recently he can be seen in The Limehouse Golem – and Pokémon movie Detective Pikachu, of all things.

Rowan Atkinson (Rufus)

Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English
Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English (Getty)

Rowan Atkinson had a brief but memorable scene as jewellery salesman Rufus, performing physical comedy only he could.

Comedy legend Atkinson has returned to some of his most iconic characters since Love Actually came out, playing Mr Bean one last time in Mr Bean's Holiday and the title character in the Johnny English films.

He also had a serious turn as the title character in ITV's Maigret series, and joined Hugh Grant in One Red Nose Day and a Wedding.

Martin Freeman (John)

Getty, TL

Martin Freeman played John, the professional stand-in happy to simulate erotic scenes with co-worker Judy but too shy to talk to her off set.

Martin Freeman was coming fresh off his role in The Office when he was cast in Love Actually, relatively unknown at the time. He, of course, found fame playing long-suffering John Watson in Sherlock, and has since starred as Bilbo Baggins himself in The Hobbit Films and Everet Ross in Black Panther.

Most recently he was seen as Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher in ITV's true-crime series A Confession.

Andrew Lincoln (Mark)

Andrew Lincoln attends "The Walking Dead" Screening And Panel For SAG Nominating Committee at Pacific Design Center on October 27, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Craig Barritt/WireImage)

Andrew Lincoln's Mark was of course the man behind the now-iconic cue card scene, parodied by everyone from Boris Johnson to Martine McCutcheon this year alone.

Lincoln has since made it big in America playing protagonist Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead for nine seasons.

He can next be seen in drama Penguin Bloom next year, as well as the untitled Walking Dead spin-off film.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Peter)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 02: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Chiwetel Ejiofor speaks onstage at the Celebration of Black Cinema at Landmark Annex on December 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for the Celebration of Black Cinema)
Ejiofor played Keira Knightley's husband Peter, blissfully unaware of his best man's feelings for his wife.

Ejiofor has had a meteoric rise to fame since Love Actually, starring in The Martian, 2012, and Doctor Strange, as well as receiving an Oscar nomination for his lead performance in 12 Years A Slave. He can be seen in two big Disney films this year, voicing Scar in The Lion King remake and playing Conall in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

Olivia Olson (Joanna)

Olivia Olson The X Factor_ Celebrity (ITV)

She looks a little older these days, but Olivia Olson actually played Joanna, the American schoolchild with the voice of an angel who young Sam falls for.

After some spots of public singing, Olson had a quiet couple of years after Love Actually. She has lent her voice to several children's cartoons including Phineas and Ferb, Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls. She released a new album titled Nowhere Land in June this year, and was later a contestant on The X Factor: Celebrity. She made it to the live shows, where she came in 12th place.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Sam)

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 14.22.58

Despite being 29 now, the baby-faced Brodie-Sangster has continued to play teenagers and young adults, including Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones and Newt in the Maze Runner films. He also reunited with Emma Thompson in Nanny McPhee and voiced Ferb in Phineas and Ferb.

He currently voices John Tracy in animated reboot Thunderbirds Are Go.

Joanna Page (Judy)


Joanna Page played Judy, the professional stand-in spending much of the film simulating erotic scenes with Martin Freeman's character, only for the two to pursue a genuine relationship together.

The Welsh actress, of course, went on to play the titular Stacey in Gavin and Stacey, as well as appearing in another Christmas flick Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger! and guest-starring in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.

As many fans will know her next project will be returning to Barry Island – she will be reprising her role in the eagerly awaited Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special this year.

Heike Makatsch (Mia)

The 'other woman' in Karen and David's marriage, it turns out that Heike Makatsch's Mia (then a brunette) was the recipient of the necklace that caused so much pain for Emma Thompson's character.

She also starred in the first Resident Evil film, and appeared in the critically acclaimed Second World War drama The Book thief in 2013. Most of her career post-Love Actually, however, has been in films from her home country of Germany, including The Door and Hilde.

How can I watch Love Actually?

Love Actually is available for Prime subscribers to stream on Amazon.

If you’re not a Prime subscriber, you can get a 30-day trial for Amazon Prime and watch it for free.

It’s also available to rent or buy on iTunes and Google Play.


You can also buy the DVD on Amazon or buy the soundtrack here.