Richard Curtis swears he didn’t set out to make a Christmas classic with “Love Actually” — which just turned 10 years old — but that’s what exactly happened.
“I didn’t really think that when I was writing the film. I certainly didn’t think, ‘This is a cunning commercial measure.’ I just thought it was in the spirit of the film,” Curtis tells Metro. “Particularly in the States I think it’s become a Christmas thing. I think it’s just kind of on a loop on some English TV stations [year round], but I think it’s become more of a Christmas thing. And it’s delightful. I think you consider it lucky. I feel that a little bit about ‘Love Actually,’ that I wrote a multi-thing movie, and because it was a Christmas one it looks like it’s going to last.”
What Curtis finds particularly entertaining is what’s become of the film’s massive cast, originally built as a mix of big stars (Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson) and lesser-known faces (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln).
“It now seems over-cast because half the cast weren’t very well-known [at the time], only if you really watched English telly,” he says. “And now with Martin Freeman being ‘The Hobbit’ and with [Lincoln on] ‘The Walking Dead’ and with January Jones on ‘Mad Men’ and Chiwetel now I hope going to win an Oscar this year [for ’12 Years a Slave’], the movie’s looking increasingly unbalanced. There was meant to be a balance between people you knew and people you didn’t. Even Thomas Sangster, who played the little boy, is now on ‘Game of Thrones.'”
In that spirit, here’s a look at what the ensemble of “Love Actually” have been up to lately.
1. “The Prime Minister and Natalie”
Hugh Grant: Currently filming “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” for Guy Ritchie, Grant was last seen playing several nasty characters in “Cloud Atlas” and taking on Rupert Murdoch in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
Martine McCutcheon: A familiar face with U.K. audiences when the film premiered thanks to her work on “EastEnders,” McCutcheon will next be seen in the TV movie “The Home Office.”
2. “Daniel and Sam”
Liam Neeson: The esteemed Irish actor reinvented himself with 2008’s “Taken” and has now become one of the most successful — if unlikely — action stars in the world.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster: The 23-year-old has grown up on TV and movie screens, with roles in “Doctor Who” and “Nowhere Boy,” and currently stars on “Game of Thrones.”
3. “Jamie and Aurelia”
Colin Firth: Already a fan favorite at the time thanks to “Pride and Prejudice” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” the very busy Firth is now an Oscar winner for “The King’s Speech.”
Lucia Moniz: The Portuguese actress and singer has been working steadily on TV in her home country, most recently on “Bem-Vindos a Beirais.”
4. “Harry, Karen and Mia”
Emma Thompson: The actress with the most heartbreaking and memorable scene in “Love Actually” is also earning plenty of Oscar buzz for this year’s “Saving Mr. Banks.”
Alan Rickman: Forever known to a generation of fans as Professor Snape in the “Harry Potter” series, Rickman recently starred as Ronald Reagan in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and NYC nightlife guru Hilly Kristal in “CBGB,” and will next take on King Louis XIV in “A Little Chaos.”
Heike Makatsch: The German actress has been working steadily in Europe for the past decade and can be seen in theaters now in “The Book Thief.”
5. “Peter, Juliet and Mark”
Keira Knightley: Already a star on the rise 10 years ago, Knightley is now an Oscar nominee who can next be seen in “Can a Song Save Your Life” and “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor: After years of under-the-radar supporting roles, Ejiofor is a Best Actor hopeful this year for the powerful “12 Years a Slave.”
Andrew Lincoln: Lincoln went relatively unnoticed for years until taking the lead role in AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” now in its fourth season.
6. “Billy Mack and Joe the manager”
Bill Nighy: The incredibly busy Nighy — who turns 64 this month — most recently reteamed with Richard Curtis for “About Time” and is set to start filming the sequel to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” shortly.
Gregor Fisher: Fisher has been doing plenty of work on the small screen in Britain in series like “Empty,” “Rab C. Nesbitt” and “Love Life.”
7. “Colin and the American girls”
Kris Marshall: Already a British TV star thanks to “My Family” when he made “Love Actually,” Marshall will hit movie screens next in “Sparks and Embers.”
January Jones: A bit part in “Love Actually” eventually led to meatier roles as Betty Draper in “Mad Men” and Emma Frost in “X-Men: First Class.”
Elisha Cuthbert: Already a star on “24” 10 years ago, Cuthbert was most recently seen in the beloved-but-canceled sitcom “Happy Endings.”
Ivana Milicevic: The third American gal Colin falls in with currently stars on TV’s “Banshee.”
8. “The naked stand-ins”
Martin Freeman: He was already a TV star in the U.K. 10 years ago thanks to “The Office,” but now he’s both John Watson on “Sherlock” and the hobbit in, well, “The Hobbit.”
Joanna Page: The Welsh actress has worked steadily on TV in the last decade — most notably as Stacey on “Gavin & Stacey” — and most recently popped up as Elizabeth I on the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special.
9. “Sarah and Karl”
Laura Linney: The film’s resident American in London has kept very busy, recently wrapping up “The Big C” on TV and popping up in films like “Hyde Park on Hudson” and “the Fifth Estate.”
Rodrigo Santoro: The popular Brazilian actor will reprise his near-unrecognizable role as Xerxes in the upcoming “300: Rise of an Empire.”