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Movies & TV

24th Jan 2023

Love Actually star reveals incredibly emotional behind-the-scenes story

Rory Cashin

love actually

“She grabbed my wrist and said ‘It’s okay, I’m with you, I can imagine how you feel, it’s gonna be alright’…”

Yes, believe it or not, Love Actually turns two decades old this year. Released in cinemas in November 2003, the much-loved seasonal rom-com has become a must-watch Christmas event. Even all of these years later, fans will do a deep dive on the movie each and every year, unraveling each and every scene, and getting their hearts broken by Emma Thompson’s bedroom breakdown scene over and over again.

Among the many, many, MANY stars in the movie is Rodrigo Santoro, who plays Karl, the creative director at the graphic designer company, and the object of Sarah’s (Laura Linney) affections.

We recently caught up with Santoro to chat about his new supernatural drama Wolf Pack, and during the chat, we mentioned that this year would be the 20 year anniversary for Love Actually. You can check out our full interview with the actor right here:

During the interview, in which he also discusses his character in Wolf Pack, working with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and 2003 also being the 20-year anniversary for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which is most likely the other big movie that introduced Santoro to the movie-going public.

But when we specifically spoke about his favourite memories of working on Love Actually, the actor told us the following, which took place during for the first table reading for the script:

“I get there, and there is a long table with all the little signs with names on them. And as soon as I get there, I see Emma Thompson, I see Alan Rickman, and Liam Neeson. And it really felt like I was inside a movie myself. I was so young and these guys I grew up watching, it’s not possible!

“And then I saw the signs [on the table], and it was Laura Linney, who was my partner, and right next to it was my name, and right next to that, Rowan Atkinson. And, at the time, I knew Mr. Bean, but I didn’t put it together, so I’m sitting there and I said ‘Let’s see who this guy is’.

“And I’m across from Emma [Thompson], Alan – the amazing Alan Rickman – and Liam Neeson, and we’re all sitting there, and then Bill Nighy! It was like… ridiculous, that table. And I’m sitting there, and my legs literally start shaking. I couldn’t stop, it was involuntary. I was so nervous, I’m like ‘My god!’, and I had a couple of lines. I could barely speak English at the time, and I’m like ‘Hey, I’m here, I’m gonna do my best’.

“And then, Rowan Atkinson arrived and sat next to me, and I’m like ‘It’s Mr. Bean… I gotta leave, I’m not gonna be able to do this!’, so Laura [Linney] grabbed my wrist and said ‘It’s okay, I’m with you, I can imagine how you feel, it’s gonna be alright’. And we did the table reading, of course the first line I stuttered.

“I remember Emma Thompson, her expression. When you’re great, when you’re bigger than life [like she is], she just embraced me with her look. She was so generous, the way she looked at me, because she was right in front of me, right across the table, and without saying anything, she said ‘It’s okay, it’s okay…’

“That was very memorable. I will never forget that table, and I will never forget how they interacted with each other, how down to Earth that environment was, with so many big stars, but they were just so cool, like it was just another day in the office.”

Wolf Pack kicks off on Paramount+ from Friday, 27 January, while Love Actually is available to rent on Rakuten TV and Google Play.

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