Strolling down California streets in bell bottoms, sunglasses and a sloppy t-shirt this week, actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster couldn’t have looked further away from the wholesome, loved-up schoolboy he played in Love Actually.
The then cherub-faced 12-year-old won hearts in the 2003 rom com as Sam, Daniel’s (Liam Neeson) stepson, who had fallen completely in love with classmate Joanna (Olivia Olson).
In the 16 years since, Thomas, now 29, has grown into a bona fide Hollywood star, landing a role in Game of Thrones and becoming a familiar face on the screen.
But what about the rest of the star-studded cast? From a gigging comedian to Oscar-nominated performances, FEMAIL takes a look at the very different paths they have taken…
SAM (THOMAS BRODIE-SANGFORD)
Thomas was 12 when he filmed his role as lovesick Sam, opposite Liam Neeson as his stepdad
Strolling down the streets of Los Angeles in bell bottoms, sunglasses and a sloppy t-shirt this week, Thomas Brodie-Sangster looked completely different to his cherubic character. The actor was photographed with his girlfriend Gzi Wisdom in Venica, California
Thomas Brodie-Sangster played Jojen Reed in several episodes of the HBO hit series
Game of Thrones fans might have noticed a familiar face beyond the Wall in early series of the monster hit show.
Jojen Reed was played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, the child star who played grieving Liam Neeson’s stepson Sam in Love Actually.
Sangster, who runs through the airport to tell his schoolgirl crush he loves her during the film’s big finale, had a recurring role in the HBO series, as a young heir tasked with helping to protect Bran Stark.
The now 29-year-old has starred in the hit sci-fi adaptation Maze Runner and in 2017 he starred in a 15 minute sequel to Love Actually, shown on the BBC as part of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day.
The actor has enjoyed film success in Nanny McPhee, Nowhere Boy – in which he played a young Paul McCartney – and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Thomas has frequently been spotted spending time with his Australian photographer girlfriend Gzi Wisdom in Venice, Los Angeles.
JOANNA (OLIVIA OLSON)
Olivia Olson captured viewers’ hearts with her incredible singing in the hit movie, and her singing was so good that director Richard Curtis was reportedly worried the audience wouldn’t believe it was her own voice
Now, 27, Olivia’ incredible singing voice saw her release her first EP ‘Beauty is chaos’ in 2013, before releasing album Nowhere Land in June 2018
She was 11 when she starred as the adorable schoolgirl who stole her classmate Sam’s heart – and stunned viewers with her powerful rendition of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You.
At the time, her singing was so good that director Richard Curtis was reportedly worried the audience wouldn’t believe it was her own voice, and trained her to make it sound ‘more believable’.
Flashback: Schoolboy Sam will go to any lengths to get Joanna to notice him in the festive favourite
Now, 27, Olivia’ incredible singing voice saw her release her first EP ‘Beauty is chaos’ in 2013, before releasing album Nowhere Land in June 2018.
The actress is even rumoured to be have signed up for Simon Cowell’s spin-off Celebrity X Factor, due to air this autumn.
The LA-based actress and singer has also been part of the cast behind two animated series – the Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, in which she voiced Marceline the Vampire Queen, and Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, in which she voiced Vanessa Doofenshmirtz.
COLIN FRISSELL (KRIS MARSHALL)
Kris Marshall, now 46, played Colin Frissell, who famously travelled to the US in search of love in the Christmas rom com Love Actually (pictured)
The actor, pictured in August, has landed high-profile film roles in the years since the hit film. The star shares two children with wife Hannah Dodkins, who he married in 2012
Most recently, Marshall has been showing off his acting chops in the ITV adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sanditon. Pictured far right as character Tom Parker with the rest of the cast
Aside from his memorable turn as would-be ladies’ man Colin Frissell in Love Actually, Kris Marshall, now 46, is perhaps best known for playing Nick Harper in the comedy series My Family.
Optimistic geek Colin travels to Wisconsin in Love Actually, in search of American women who will appreciate that ‘Stateside, I am Prince William’.
Since then Marshall has appeared in the BBC film Heist, the independent British rom-com Sparks & Embers in 2015, and starred in a long-running ad campaign for BT.
He played lead detective DI Humphrey Goodman in the BBC drama Death in Paradise from since 2014 to 2017, citing pressures placed on his family.
Most recently, Marshall has been showing off his acting chops in the ITV adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sanditon.
He shares two children with wife Hannah Dodkins, who he married in 2012.
MARK (ANDREW LINCOLN)
Mark confesses his true feelings for Juliet in a scene from the Christmas classic Love Actually
Lincoln, 45, starred as sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes in the US show The Walking Dead
Lincoln has received various awards and nominations for his portrayal of Rick Grimes; including Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television in 2015 and 2017 (seen at a Walking Dead photocall last year)
Young Sam had competition in the broken heart stakes from camera man Mark, who struggles to be around his best friend’s wife Juliet [played by Keira Knightley] after falling in love with her himself.
One of Love Actually’s most famous scenes shows Mark standing outside the couple’s house in the snow to finally tell Juliet how he feels – via a series of hand-scrawled cardboard signs, and to a soundtrack of carolers singing Silent Night.
Since then, Andrew Lincoln, 45, has gone on to enjoy success Stateside, where he stars as sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes in the hugely popular AMC series The Walking Dead.
Lincoln has received various awards and nominations for his portrayal of Rick Grimes; including Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television in 2015 and 2017.
He has two children, Matilda and Arthur, with Gael Anderson, daughter of Ian Anderson, flautist and vocalist of Jethro Tull.
DAISY (LULU POPPLEWELL)
Daisy, the daughter of Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman’s characters, was cast as the lobster in her school nativity play
Now 28-years-old, Love Actually cast-member Lulu Popplewell is a comedy writer
She performs a monthly set in North London with tickets starting at just £5
Schoolgirl Daisy, the daughter of Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman’s characters, was memorably cast as a lobster in her school nativity play in Love Actually.
Now 28, former child star Lulu Popplewell is a writer and stand-up comedienne.
Lulu previously voiced the character of Lyra Belacqua in the BBC Radio 4 version of His Dark Materials, and her older sister is Anna Popplewell, who played Susan Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia films.
She performs a monthly set in North London with tickets starting at just £5.
NATALIE (MARTINE MCCUTCHEON)
In Love Actually the Prime Minister, played by Hugh Grant, falls for Martine’s character Natalie
As a newly installed member of staff at 10 Downing Street, Natalie hits it off with the PM
Now, 43, Martine McCutcheon appeared on the panel of the ITV show Loose Women for one season
Martine, 43, recently celebrated her musician husband Jack McManus’ 35th birthday – the couple share a four-year-old son Rafferty
She was previously best known for playing Tiffany in Eastenders, but since Love Actually Martine McCutcheon will forever be the Downing Street staffer who swears like a sailor and wins the heart of the Prime Minister, played by Hugh Grant.
Since playing Natalie, McCutcheon, who won an Olivier award for her role as Eliza in My Fair Lady in the West End, has made guest appearances in Spooks, starred in a Tesco ad campaign, and published a novel, The Mistress.
In 2016 she was unveiled as a new full-time panelist on the ITV show Loose Women, but left after one season.
Martine, 43, recently celebrated her musician husband Jack McManus’ 35th birthday – the couple share a four-year-old son Rafferty.
BILLY MACK (BILL NIGHY)
Bill Nighy steals the show as an ageing rocker desperate for one last hit in the Christmas film
This month he was cast as the lead voice in new animated film Dragonkeeper. He is pictured in London in March
Bill Nighy stole the show in Love Actually as an ageing rocker in search of one last hit for old time’s sake – a role that won him a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor.
The actor, now 71, has enjoyed a career resurgence in the years since the classic rom com was released, racking up roles in major franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Nighy has also lent his talents to several children’s and young adult films, with roles in Detective Pikachu and Arthur Christmas. He also appeared in the 2016 film version of Dad’s Army.
This month he was cast as the lead voice in new animated film Dragonkeeper.
Known for his classic style and dapper suits, Nighy was listed as one of the 50 best-dressed over-50s by The Guardian in 2013 and one of GQ’s 50 best-dressed British men in 2015.
JULIET (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY)
As Juliet, Keira Knightley thought her husband’s best friend didn’t like her
Now a married mother, the actress most recently, she appears as real-life whistleblower Katharine Gun in Official Secrets. She is pictured at the Chanel Cruise show in Paris in May
Keira’s star continued to rise and rise after she appeared as Juliet in Love Actually at the age of 18.
In the years since, Knightley has gone on to deliver Oscar-nominated performances in Pride and Prejudice and The Imitation Game.
The British star has previously been listed among Hollywood’s highest paid actresses.
Keira, 34, shares two children with her former Klaxons band member husband James Righton.
This year, while pregnant with her second child and promoting film The Aftermath, said she chose to no longer appear nude in film after having a child.
Most recently, she appears as real-life whistleblower Katharine Gun in Official Secrets.
PETER (CHIWETEL EJIOFOR)
Chiwetel Ejiofor went on to deliver an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated performance in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, pictured
Ejiofor was cast in the all-star remake of Disney animated classic the Lion King, released this summer. Pictured, the actor promoting the film at an event in California in July
His character Peter had few lines in Love Actually, but Chiwetel Ejiofor has become one of the most successful of the film’s alumni.
He was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for his searing performance as Solomon Northup in the film 12 Years a Slave, and starred opposite Thandie Newton in the big-screen adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.
He is also an acclaimed stage actor – his portrayal of Othello at the Donmar Warehouse in 2008 earned him an Olivier award for Best Actor.
Chiwetel, 42, has since starred in Doctor Strange, The Lion King, and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and this month he was announced as joining Mark Wahlberg’s Thriller ‘Infinite’.
MIA (HEIKE MAKATSCH)
Mia turned the head of her married colleague, played by the late Alan Rickman, in the film
Heike, 48, pictured in July, has appeared on the panel of the German TV ‘Goldene Kamera’ Awards and lives in Berlin with her husband Max Martin Schröder and their three daughters
The German actress plays Mia, who makes her intentions towards her married boss – played by the late Alan Rickman – more than clear in the movie as staff prepare for the annual work Christmas party.
Bemused but intrigued, Harry buys Mia a necklace as a Christmas present, which his wife Karen (played by Emma Thompson) discovers and thinks is for her.
Karen holding back tears after tearing the wrapping paper off a CD from her husband – and realising he bought the necklace for another woman – is one of the most moving scenes in the film.
Since playing temptress Mia, Heike, a former flame of Daniel Craig, has appeared in German productions and also played Leisel’s mother in the movie version of The Book Thief in 2013.
Heike, 48, has appeared on the panel of the German TV ‘Goldene Kamera’ Awards and lives in Berlin with her German Indie band husband Max Martin Schröder and their three daughters.
KARL (RODRIGO SANTORO)
Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro played the object of Laura Linney’s affections, Karl
In 2016 Rodrigo, now 44, received personal blessings from Pope Francis Santoro for his role as Jesus in Ben-Hur, seen in New York in May
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.
He’s starred in the big budget HBO drama Westworld, a sci-fi-meets-the Wild West mash-up in which he plays wanted gang leader Hector Escaton.
In 2016 Rodrigo, now 44, received personal blessings from Pope Francis Santoro for his role as Jesus in Ben-Hur.
Next up, Santoro, one of Brazil’s most famous actors, will appear in Hulu original drama Reprisal alongside Abigail Spencer – one of the Duchess of Sussex’s closest friends.
He shares a daughter with Brazilian actress Mel Fronckowiak.
MIKEY (MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE)
A regular on comedy panel shows, Marcus Brigstocke also appeared on The Jump in 2014
Marcus Brigstocke, 42, now a comedian, is seen at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last year
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, 42, 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.
JEANNIE (JANUARY JONES)
Jeannie, played by January Jones (second from left), was one of the group of American girls Colin hit it off with in a Wisconsin bar
Now 41, she is a staple on the Hollywood scene and went on to become part of the cast of the Fox comedy series The Last Man on Earth. She will appear on Netflix comedy The Politician, out this month
January Jones starred in Love Actually as Jeannie, the ringleader of a group of all-American girls who hapless Colin bumps into upon arrival in Wisconsin.
Enchanted by his accent, the girls go on to succumb to his English charms.
January went on to win fame and acclaim as Betty Draper in the hit series Mad Men, which aired from 2007 to 2015.
Now 41, she is a staple on the Hollywood scene and went on to become part of the cast of the Fox comedy series The Last Man on Earth.
She will appear on Netflix comedy The Politician, out this month.
DAVID (HUGH GRANT)
Hugh Grant was seen in the star-studded Royal Box at Wimbledon this summer. Pictured, the actor shares a joke with his wife Anna and friend and fellow actor Jude Law
Still going strong 16 years after starring as newly elected British Prime Minister David in Love Actually, Hugh Grant remains an icon of the British screen.
Grant appears to pick and choose occasional film roles that appeal rather than working on back-to-back projects.
He appeared in the sci-fi drama Cloud Atlas in 2012 and won widespread acclaim for his role in Stephen Frears comedy drama Florence Foster Jenkins, opposite Meryl Streep.
Grant gave his talents to surprise hit film Paddington 2 in 2017 and a Very English Scandal in 2018.
Since Love Actually, Grant has also become a father of five, welcoming children with two different women.
In September 2011 he had a daughter, Tabitha, with Tinglan Hong. In September 2012, Grant had his second child, a son, with Swedish television producer Anna Eberstein. In December that year Hong gave birth to Grant’s third child, a son, after they reunited briefly.
In December 2015 he and Eberstein had a second child together, a daughter, with their third child together born in early 2018. Grant and Eberstein married in May 2018.
SARAH (LAURA LINNEY)
Laura Linney starred in Love Actually as Sarah, who is nursing a crush on colleague Karl
In 2017 she joined Netflix hit drama Ozark alongside Jason Bateman, a performance which saw her Screen nominated for the Actors Guild Award. She is pictured at the Tony Awards this year
Three-time Oscar nominee Laura Linney played Sarah in Love Actually, who prioritised caring for her brother over her secret crush on her colleague Karl in the movie.
Since playing Sarah, she’s appeared in numerous acclaimed films, including Kinsey and The Savages.
She starred in Sully, the Clint Eastwood movie about a pilot who tried to make an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River, alongside Tom Hanks.
In 2017 she joined Netflix hit drama Ozark alongside Jason Bateman, a performance which saw her Screen nominated for the Actors Guild Award.
KAREN (EMMA THOMPSON)
Emma Thompson plays Karen, who is married to Harry, played by the late Alan Rickman
Emma Thompson appeared alongside fellow Love Actually star Colin Firth in the latest Bridget Jones movie in 2016
Emma, 60, has received a number of credits in recent years for her performances in Beauty and The Beast (2017), Late Night and Years and Years this year
Emma Thompson, who plays a wife who discovers her husband has bought a necklace for another woman, is responsible for many of Love Actually’s most memorable scenes.
The acclaimed British actress, an Oscar and a BAFTA winner, has appeared in everything from Harry Potter to an instalment of Men in Black in the years since the movie’s release.
She appeared in the new Bridget Jones movie alongside her fellow Love Actually cast-member Colin Firth, and was also part of the cast for Disney’s action version of Beauty and the Beast.
Emma, 60, has received a number of credits in recent years for her performances in Beauty and The Beast (2017), Late Night and Years and Years this year.
JAMIE (COLIN FIRTH)
Colin, 59, went on to appear in Bridget Jones’s Baby, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Mary Poppins Returns
As Jamie, Colin Firth escapes to France after learning his brother has been sleeping with his other half behind his back.
But the would-be author finds love again with his Portuguese housekeeper in the Christmas classic.
This year Colin returned as Mark Darcy in the third film in the Bridget Jones series.
In the interim he’s appeared in acclaimed films including The King’s Speech, Tom Ford’s A Single Man, and the John le Carré adaptation Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Colin, 59, went on to appear in Bridget Jones’s Baby, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Mary Poppins Returns.
… And the fortunes of other stars
HARRY (ALAN RICKMAN)
Alan Rickman starred in Love Actually as Harry, an office manager who couldn’t resist the temptations of employee Mia.
The celebrated actor became known to a new generation of filmgoers as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter film industry.
In January 2016 the film world was rocked by news of Rickman’s death at the age of 69. It emerged the star had been battling cancer but only shared his diagnosis with his closest family and friends.
DANIEL (LIAM NEESON)
As widower Daniel, Sam’s stepfather, Liam Neeson made Love Actually audiences laugh and cry.
While he had long enjoyed success on screen, Neeson reached a new level of fame after he was cast in the hit Taken film series.
JOHN (MARTIN FREEMAN)
Freeman’s Love Actually storyline as a body double for sex scenes was deemed so raunchy it was cut from some versions of the film.
While the character of ‘John’ might not have the renown of others he shared the screen with, Freeman has had far greater fortune.
The actor has enjoyed success in a string of high profile roles in recent years, including The Hobbit, Fargo and Sherlock.
JOE (GREGOR FISHER)
Long-suffering and gloriously ‘normal’ music manager Joe was the perfect folly to the outrageous Billy Mack.
Fisher has had landed a handful of film roles in recent years and in TV shows including Missing and OIiver Twist.
AURELIA (LUCIA MONIZ)
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.