‘Love Actually’: 7 Stars You Totally Forgot Were in the Holiday Classic

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Love Actually is a bona fide Christmas classic. While not everyone agrees that the 2003 movie about interconnected relationships in the weeks leading up to December 25 is a heartwarming rom-com, it remains a seasonal favorite. 

One of the most appealing things about Love Actually is its all-star cast. What other movie brings together Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, and Liam Neeson? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you haven’t seen Love Actually in a while, you may have forgotten that these stars are also in it, sometimes in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it roles. 

Andrew Lincoln 

Before he was slaying zombies on The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln was pining over his best friend’s wife in Love Actually. He played Mark, who memorably declares his love for Keira Knightley’s character Juliet via posterboard. Whether you think his unrequited affection is sweet or creepy, once you see it again, there’s no forgetting the way he dramatically zips up his sweater as Dido’s “Here With Me” plays on the soundtrack. 

January Jones 

Years before she became famous for playing brittle 1960s housewife Betty Draper on Mad Men, January Jones had a small role in Love Actually. She played Jeannie, one of several ridiculously attractive young women (also played by Elisha Cuthbert, Shannon Elizabeth, and Ivana Miličević) from Wisconsin who fall for Colin (Kris Marshall) when he visits a bar in Milwaukee.

Denise Richards 

These days, Denise Richards appears on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But back in 2003, the Wild Things star had a small part in Love Actually. She appears in the film’s final scene, when she arrives at Heathrow with Colin and her sister Harriet (Shannon Elizabeth).

Rowan Atkinson 

Comedian Rowan Atkinson doesn’t have a huge part in Love Actually, but it is one of the funniest. He plays a shop clerk who takes a ridiculously long time to wrap up a necklace that Harry (Alan Rickman) is purchasing for his coworker Mia (Heike Makatsch), with whom he is contemplating having an affair. 

Rodrigo Santoro

Rodrigo Santoro
Rodrigo Santoro | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Westworld fans know Rodrigo Santoro as Hector Escaton. But before he joined the cast of the HBO series, he played Karl, the co-worker who Sarah (Laura Linney) is madly in love with. The two have a connection, but Sarah’s family responsibilities stand in the way of a romance. 

Billy Bob Thornton

Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton plays the sleazy U.S. president in Love Actually. He hits on Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), the secretary of the British Prime Minister (Hugh Grant). His behavior is gross, but it does inspire Grant’s character to finally make his move and declare his feelings for Natalie. 

Claudia Schiffer 

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer pops up at the end of Love Actually. She plays a single mom who Liam Neeson’s widowed character meets at the school Christmas pageant. Her casting is a not-too-subtle joke, as earlier in the film we learned that Neeson’s character had a crush on the real Schiffer.  

Those aren’t the only easy-to-miss stars in Love Actually. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who would go on to star in the award-winning 12 Years a Slave, plays the husband of Knightley’s character. Thomas Brodie-Sangster had one of his first major roles as Sam in the movie, long before he’d become better known as Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones. And Sherlock’s Martin Freeman plays John, a stand-in actor who falls for his co-worker Judy.