The world went into collective meltdown earlier this week when it was announced that the cast of Love Actually would be reuniting for a special ten-minute sequel in aid of Comic Relief and Red Nose Day.
Almost all of the lead actors from the original film are reported to have signed on to appear in the charity short, meaning that we’ll finally get answers to the questions that have been bothering us since 2003. How did Colin Firth’s engagement to Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), a Portuguese maid with whom he’d never had a genuine conversation, work out? Did Juliet (Keira Knightley) ever reveal to her lovely husband Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) that she snogged his best mate? And would Daniel (Liam Neeson) ever find true love again?
The team behind the sequel, including original screenwriter Emma Freud and director Richard Curtis, are so far keeping tight-lipped on how exactly the new film will play out. But Freud has shared a series of candid photos from the Red Nose Day Actually set on Twitter – and they’re enough to make a grown woman feel more than a little weepy.
First up: Daniel and his now not-so-little stepson Sam (Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster), who had the purest, most truly loving relationship in the whole damn movie.
Just look at how happy they are to be back together! (Also, in case you were wondering, little Sam is now 26 years old and not so little any more.)
THEY’RE BACK HAVING EMOTIONAL CHATS ON THE BENCH.
Freud poked fun at the original movie’s most defining fashion item, writing alongside a photo of Neeson and Brodie-Sangster, “Under that scarf Liam was wearing a turtle neck jumper.”
The screenwriter also shared a photo of Richard Curtis (who also happens to be her partner) on set with Olivia Olson, the actor who played Sam’s crush Joanna – aka “the coolest girl in school”.
Here’s Olsen singing Mariah in Love Actually…
… And here she is today, aged 24.
“Oh hello #rednosedayactually cast member looking slightly older than she did in the original film,” wrote Freud on Twitter.
Olson, who is now working as a voiceover artist and singer in her native Los Angeles, recently revealed that she had a real-life crush on Brodie-Sangster while she was filming Love Actually as a 10-year-old girl – and that their kiss in the airport at the end of the movie was her first kiss, ever. We’ll just leave you to process that information for a moment.
Read more: Which Love Actually character are you?
Another of Freud’s photo from the Red Nose Day Actually set shows Curtis with a man who looks an awful lot like Rodrigo Santoro, aka lovely Laura Linney’s handsome office romance Karl – despite the fact that it had been reported that neither Linney nor Santoro would be appearing in the sequel.
And here’s Freud’s photo:
Same guy, right?
If you already feel deeply invested in how Red Nose Day Actually turns out, there’s good news: Freud says that the script is still in development, and she’s open to suggestions as to how the characters’ stories should play out.
Red Nose Day Actually is being made in support of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day fundraiser and will hit TV screens March 24 on BBC One.
Other original cast members set to make a comeback in the one-time extravaganza include Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon as the British prime minister and his one-time assistant, Colin Firth and Lúcia Moniz as a bumbling author and his maid-turned-fiancée, Bill Nighy as ageing rocker Billy Mack, and Rowan Atkinson (Rowan Atkinson!) as a supercilious department store assistant.
Keira Knightley will also reprise her role as Juliet – although there’s been no word yet on whether Chiwetel Ejiofor will make an appearance, leading us to suspect that Juliet and Peter’s marriage may not have gone the distance after all.
Neither has it been confirmed whether Emma Thompson will return as selfless, dignified wife and mother Karen. When asked about whether the Oscar-winning actress will be taking part in the Love Actually sequel, Richard Curtis hinted that her involvement was still up in the air, saying: “Oddly, we’re not quite sure. It’s all been done in a great rush and I think not but I’m now thinking again.”
Thompson’s on-screen husband, of course, won’t be appearing in the sequel. Alan Rickman, who played her adulterous partner Harry, died last year.
“I would never have dreamt of writing a sequel to Love Actually, but I thought it might be fun to do 10 minutes to see what everyone is now up to,” said Curtis, as he announced the comeback. “Who has aged best? I guess that’s the big question… or is it so obviously Liam?
“We’ve been delighted and grateful that so many of the cast are around and able to take part – and it’ll certainly be a nostalgic moment getting back together and recreating their characters 14 years later.”
Images: Rex Features