Love Actually: what happened to the actors who had small roles

What happened to them, actually? As the cast of Love Actually reunite 20 years on for a TV special, we reveal the different lives of the actors whose small roles made a big impact on fans worldwide

  • The cast of Love Actually have reunited for a US TV special on the festive movie
  • This gives us a chance to look back on live of actors who had smaller roles in film 
  • Actors who had small role in festive classic have gone on to have great careers
  • Read more: ‘TalkTV’s James Whale, 71, discusses his terminal cancer 

We all remember Hugh Grant’s dashing Prime Minister and Emma Thompson, heartbreaking portrayal of Alan Rickman’s long-suffering wife, but what happened to the rest of the cast who made Love Actually a Christmas hit? 

Grant, Colin Firth, Martine McCutcheon and the other main actors of the 2003 movie have appeared in a ABC special airing today in the US to reminisce on the movie nearly 20 years after it was made. 

The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later sees journalist Diane Sawyer interview the main stars as well as writer and director Richard Curtis.

But what about the actors who scored smaller roles on the festive classic and helped it make it the cult watch it is today? 

Diane Sawyer interviewed the cast members of Love Actually ahead of a ABC special airing today in the US (pictured with Thomas Brodie-Sangster)

For instance, Adam Godley, who led the school’s choir into a now infamous rendition of All I Want For Christmas is You, has found fame at the theatre and in other shows since Love Actually was released. 

Meanwhile, actresses with minor roles in the Christmas movie, including Sienna Guillory, who played Firth’s cheating girlfriend in the film, or Julia Davis, who stood out as an unimpressed caterer, have seen their careers blossom on the small screen. 

Here, Femail reveals the fame and fortunes of the actors whose smaller roles turned Love Actually into a hit. 

Sienna Guillory – Jamie’s cheating girlfriend

Sienna Guillory played Colin Firth’s girlfriend, who it is revealed is cheating on him with his brother at the start of the movie 

At the start of Love Actually, Jamie – played by Colin Firth –  heads to his friends’ Juliet and Peter’s wedding and leaves his girlfriend. played by Sienna Guillory, at home. 

The girlfriend doesn’t have a name, yet plays an instrumental part in the plot of the movie, because she pretends to be sick so she can cheat on Jamie with his brother. 

After he finds out he’s been played by his girlfriend, Jamie travels to Portugal, where he meets Aurelia, played by Lucia Moniz, whom he falls in love with. 

Since the release of Love Actually, Guillory has seen her career blossom. 

She first found fame in Jilly Cooper’s Riders in 1993, became a top model, was a tabloid darling when she dated Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels star Nick Moran, and then moved to LA where she played a string of tough girls including warrior Jill Valentine in the hit Resident Evil series. 

After having her girls, Valentina and Lucia, she was terrified she’d never work again. Instead, she had just a few weeks after the birth to get super-fit for the Resident Evil film, Retribution.  

Sienna Guillory went on to star in Stan Lee’s thriller action series Lucky Man which aired from 2016 to 2018, alongside Rupert Penry-Jones

Sienna is married to actor Enzo Cilenti, and the pair moved back to the UK from LA in 2013 with their daughters because she wanted to be closer to her family. 

‘I was terrified people would have forgotten me’ – but almost immediately she got the script for Luther, to play the maverick cop’s love interest Mary Day. 

‘It’s easier to play characters that are different to you; with Jill Valentine I was all-powerful. With Mary I had to be really honest; she’s got emotional Tourette’s like me. Playing her was an emotional ride.’

Sienna says it was a joy to work with Luther’s lead Idris Elba.

Sienna was ‘terrified’ she wouldn’t get acting roles after returning to the UK from LA in 2013, but almost immediately landed the role of Mary Day in Luther alongside Idris Elba 

‘He’s amazing,’ she gushed. ‘He’s really big, and I never knew what he was going to do next; pick me up or knock me over. The love scenes were a perk,’ she adds. ‘It was much nicer kissing him than Antonio Banderas, who told me I was a terrible kisser in front of the whole crew [on 2011’s The Big Bang]. 

She has also starred in several TV projects, including Stan Lee’s thriller action series Lucky Man which aired from 2016 to 2018. 

From 2015 to 2018 she also starred as Natalie Yelburton in Fortitude, alongside Richard Dormer and in In 2018 she also made an appearance in the music video for Liam Gallagher’s Paper Crown. 

In 2021, she played busy mum Maggie Howard in the part-animated children’s movie Clifford The Big Red Dog. 

Julia Davis – Annie The Caterer 

Julia Davis stood out as Annie, an unimpressed caterer who is hit on by Kris Marshall’s Colin in the movie

Throughout her career, she has endeared herself to fans with her roles in Gavin and Stacey and the Night Nighty, pictured 

Love Actually is beloved for mixing festive cheer with pure British comedy, as perfectly exampled by an interaction opposing Colin Frissell, played by Kris Marshall and a caterer named Annie, played by Julia Davis. 

As he tries to charm the caterer at a party they are both attending, he criticises the finger food on offer, only to be mortified when the woman reveals she has provided the treats he just made fun of. 

His interaction with Annie convinces Colin to move to the US, where he thinks women will be unable to resist his British charm. 

Julia’s career has propelled her to success since her appearance on the festive movie. 

She’s recently appeared in the TV series The Outlaws, and last year played Maureen McGuinness in the BBC drama A Very British Scandal. 

That same year, she voiced Linda Le Bon in the animated movie Sing 2. 

Throughout her career, she has endeared herself to fans with her roles in several BBC comedies, including much-loved sitcom Gavin and Stacey.

Julia played the unsatisfied, angry Dawn Sutcliffe, whose up and down relationship with husband Pete saw the pair exchange bitter insults one moment and playing tonsil tennis the next.

The couple’s vow renewal in the third series of the popular show left fans in stitches as Dawn turned up her nose at her husband’s blingy eternity ring, which she proclaimed ‘disgusting’ at the altar.

In addition to her hilarious performance in Gavin and Stacey, Julia starred in and wrote BBC black comedy Nighty Night – another favourite with comedy fans.

She plays Jill in the sitcom, who discovers in the first episode that her husband is terminally ill – and so signs up for online dating websites in order to find a replacement.

After little success, she instead turns to her attention to her neighbour, Don (played by Angus Deayton) who is also married. 

Rodrigo Santoro – Karl  

Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro played the ultimate Christmas heartthrob Karl in Love Actually  

In 2016 Rodrigo received personal blessings from Pope Francis Santoro for his role as Jesus in Ben-Hur (pictured at the in Limites Prime Video event in June in Madrid) 

Hunky Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro played the shy object of Laura Linney’s affections, Karl – although their almost-office romance never quite got off the ground on screen.

Since the release of Love Actually, Santoro has worked steadily, clocking up appearances in 300, and Focus alongside Margot Robbie.

Among his acting credits following the Christmas rom-com is a role in the third series groundbreaking ABC drama Lost, which followed survivors of a plane crash after they landed on a mysterious island. 

Although he didn’t have a leading role in the drama (his character Paulo was killed off shortly after he first appeared), the show was watched by millions – and no doubt, many viewers would have recognised the character from his role as Karl.

He’s starred in the big budget HBO drama Westworld, a sci-fi-meets-the Wild West mash-up in which he played wanted gang leader Hector Escaton.

In 2016 Rodrigo received personal blessings from Pope Francis Santoro for his role as Jesus in Ben-Hur, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer financed remake of the sweeping 1959 biblical epic.

He also appeared alongside JLo in What To Expect When You’re Expecting in 2011. 

Throughout his career, Santoro has won countless awards – most of which were in Brazil.

He also received a nomination for an MTV Movie Award for best villain in 300. 

Elisha Cuthbert – Carol-Anne – American Goddess 

In the movie, Elisha Cuthbert, left, is one third of a trio of raucous American women who welcome Brit Colin Frissell, who hopes a move to the US will guarantee him a better love life

 A year after Love Actually was release, Elisha got the main role in the raunchy romcom The Girl Next Door, where she played a reformed adult movie actress who falls in love with her besotted neighbour

Playing a character credited as ‘American Goddess,’ Elisha Cuthbert was sure to have a busy career after her stint Love Actually. 

The actress first rose to fame as Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer’s daughter Kim in 24, before starring in the festive classic. 

In the movie, she is one third of a trio of raucous American women who welcome Brit Colin Frissell, who hopes a move to the US will guarantee him a better love life. 

Elisha, who plays Carol-Anne, and her friends, played by January Jones and Shannon Elizabeth, coax Colin into saying several words as they dote on his British accent. 

A year after Love Actually was release, Elisha got the main role in the raunchy romcom The Girl Next Door, where she played a reformed adult movie actress who falls in love with her besotted neighbour. 

She also continued her role as Kim Bauer in 24, who famously gets kidnapped in the pilot episode of the programme prompting her father Jack (Sutherland) to hunt down her captors.

In subsequent series, she remains a pivotal character to the plot (and gets kidnapped several more times), as viewers watch her grow into adulthood and pursue her own career while her father risks his life to save the world. 

From 2011 to 2020, Elisha had a recurrent role on the romantic series Happy Endings, where she played Alex Kerkovich. 

The mother-of-two – who shares Zaphire, four, and Fable, born earlier this year, with husband Dion Phaneuf, recently spoke about feeling ‘pressured’ in her early career to pose for sexy men’s mag shoots.

‘That’s what the [film] studio wanted you to do…,’ she said. ‘I mean, Halle Berry was doing it, for God’s sake… Jennifer Aniston was doing it. We were probably too young to be subjected to that, and feeling pressured to do that.’

Throughout her career, Elisha posed for the likes of FHM and Maxim and ended up on a number of ‘hot girl’ lists at the time.  

She was previously dubbed TV’s most beautiful woman by Maxim readers but at the time said she was worried about how her Happy Endings co-stars Casey Wilson and Eliza Coupe would react to the news. 

‘To think that one person could be the most beautiful when there’s Kaley Cuoco, Sofia Vergara, Zooey Deschanel? They’re all stunning,’ Elisha told Maxim at the time. 

Adam Godley – Sam and Joanna’s teacher Mr Trench

Adam Godley played a small part in one of the movie’s most iconic scene – the All I Want for Christmas choir rendition which serves as a Love Actually’s emotional climax

Adam, left, recently played the Archbishop in HBO’s irreverent historical drama on Catherine The Great, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, right 

This actor played a small part in one of the movie’s most iconic scene – the All I Want for Christmas choir rendition which serves as a Love Actually’s emotional climax. 

As the choir prepares to begin the song, Adam plays the teach who introduces the performance, before putting on a scarf and joining the choir. 

The musical number sees Sam, played by Thomas Brodie-Sandford, playing the drums in hopes of impression Joanna, the most popular girl in school, who he has a crush on. 

Adam has enjoyed a successful career since 2003, multiplying projects both on and off screen. 

He recently played the Archbishop in the irreverent historical drama on Catherine The Great, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult. 

He also voiced the chimp named Pogo in Netflix’s uber successful Umbrella Academy.  

His theatre work has also won him acclaim, who has been nominated for a Lawrence Olivier Award four times between 1999 and 2019. 

He also won the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut for his role in Private Lives, and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2011 for Anything Goes and this year for his part in The Lehman Trilogy.  

Nina Sosanya – Annie 

Nina Sosanya played the Prime Minister chief of staff in Love Actually and went on to have a great career 

The actress recently starred in thw Channel 4 series Screwed alongside Derry Girls alum Jamie-Lee O’Donnell

She played the Prime Minister’s chief of staff in Love Actually, and Nina Sosanya’s career only blossomed further after her appearance in the Christmas classic. 

This versatile actress has been in some of TV’s most beloved shows, including the second series of Killing Eve. 

She also recently starred in Screwed alongside Derry Girls alum Jamie-Lee O’Donnell alongside this project she also appeared as a recurrent character in the BBC tv series Staged. 

And between 2019 and 2020, she got a starring role in His Dark Materials as Elaine Parry. 

She has also enjoyed a successful on stage career, starring in the emotional play Frozen in 2018 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. 

Marcus Brigstocke – Mikey

As local radio DJ Mikey, Marcus Brigstocke was surprised by interviewee Billy Mack’s honesty during an appearance to promote his ‘festering turd’ of a Christmas single

Since then he’s gone on to work extensively in comedy on Radio 4, and presented a weekly topical chat show on BBC Four called The Late Edition

As local radio DJ Mikey, Marcus Brigstocke was surprised by interviewee Billy Mack’s honesty during an appearance to promote his ‘festering turd’ of a Christmas single.

Since then he’s gone on to work extensively in comedy on Radio 4, and presented a weekly topical chat show on BBC Four called The Late Edition.

The comic appeared on the reality show The Jump in 2014, but was forced to withdraw from the grand final after injuring his knee.

Marcus played the title role in a revival of American musical Barnum in 2017, for which he acquired specialist circus skills including magic and walking a tightrope.

Joanna Page – Just Judy 

One of the funniest love stories unfolding in the Christmas classic follow two actor stunt doubles falling in love over the holidays as they film nude scenes for a blockbuster movie, played by Joanna Page and Martin Freeman, pictured 

Joanna as Stacey Shipman in the sitcom Gavin and Stacey, starring Matthew Horne, James Corden, right and Ruth Jones

One of the funniest love stories unfolding in the Christmas classic follow two actor stunt doubles falling in love over the holidays as they film nude scenes for a blockbuster movie. 

Joanna Page played the young blonde ingenue falling for Martin Freeman and who eventually agrees to go out with him in the run up to Christmas. 

The actress’s career exploded following her appearance on Love Actually and she went on to star alongside James Corden in Gavin and Stacey. 

Endearing herself to the nation, Joanna went from strength to strength, and recently played Bethan Stubbins in the 2020 movie Doolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr. 

She has also starred in several made-for-TV production throughout the year. 

Lucia Moniz – Aurelia

As a Portuguese cleaner, Lucia Moniz made viewers believe in true love as she fell for Colin Firth’s character Jamie.

The multi-talented star had success as a singer before starring in the Richard Curtis film and returned to the music industry after its release, producing albums in 2005 and 2011. Pictured in February of this year 

As a Portuguese cleaner, Moniz made viewers believe in true love as she fell for Colin Firth’s character Jamie.

The multi-talented star had success as a singer before starring in the Richard Curtis film and returned to the music industry after its release, producing albums in 2005 and 2011.

Moniz reprised her role from Love Actually for Red Nose Day Actually, a short-film sequel that was broadcast on British television in March 2017.

Gregor Fisher – Joe 

Gregor Fisher played Joe, Billy Mack’s long-suffering manager. He’s worked on several projects since Love Actually 

Gregor Fisher has had landed a handful of film roles in recent years and in TV shows including Missing and OIiver Twist in 2007 (pictured at the 2016 Edinburgh film festival) 

Long-suffering and gloriously ‘normal’ music manager Joe was the perfect folly to the outrageous Billy Mack in the festive movie. 

George Fisher has had landed a handful of film roles in recent years and in TV shows including Missing and OIiver Twist.

The actor rose to fame playing the titular role in the series Rab C. Nesbitt from 1989 to 1999 and reprised it from 2008 to 2014. 

He endeared himself so much to Love Actually fans that viewers were shocked when his character was cut off from the 2017 Red Nose Love Actually special which saw some of the cast return as their famed characters from the Christmas movie. 

Last year, Fisher played Ray in the family sitcom The Cockfields. 

Meg Wynn Owen – PM’s secretary 

Meg Wynn Owen, 82, had £65,000 stolen from her by Brian Malam, 60. She played Hugh Grant’s secretary when he was Prime Minister in Love Actually 

The late Meg Wynn Owen played Hugh Grant’s stern-looking secretary in Love Actually. 

Sadly, the actress’s life ended on a tragic note after she was swindled off £65,000 by a conman. 

Meg, who died in July earlier this year, 82, and whose real name was Margaret Wright, was forced to wear dead people’s clothes at her care home and have staff cut her hair after she was robbed of all her money.

Brian Malam, 60, was jailed for more than two-and-a-half years for raiding the dementia sufferer’s life savings.

A court heard the pair struck up a friendship while working on BBC shows before Malam – who was a costume designer on the Doctor Who video games – was made her power of attorney.

Mrs Wright, who is known for her roles in Upstairs, Downstairs (pictured) and Pride & Prejudice, was left wearing the clothes of ‘deceased’ residents at her care home after having her life savings swindled

Prosecutor Abigail Jackson said Mrs Wright – who also starred in Upstairs, Downstairs and Pride & Prejudice – entrusted Malam to transfer money to her care home.

But Malam instead made electronic payments of £53,000 along with more than £11,000 in direct spending from her accounts to himself, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Ms Jackson said the alarm was raised by her bank when they spotted suspicious activity on Mrs Wright’s account.

She said: ‘Mrs Wright became terribly upset about it. The matter was then reported to the police in September 2020.

‘That’s how the investigation with the police started and the matter came to light.’

The court heard Mrs Wright’s Barclay’s account was left with a £1,750.12 overdraft which was later written off by the bank.

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