Updated: May 20
It’s December!!! Which means it’s time to watch Love Actually for the 37th time since the undisputed Christmas Movie GOAT was released back in 2003. Yes, Richard Curtis’ festive RomCom has everything you want in a Christmas classic: singing, dancing, and Mr. Bean frustrating Professor Snape by meticulously gift-wrapping a jewelery box. It also has one of the greatest casts in movie history, which leads us nicely to our article today…what if Fantrax did Love Actually?
Exciting news indeed. Which of our favourite fantasy assets would be a shoo-in for the part of Billy Mack? Could any of our draft heroes play the role of PM quite like Hugh Grant? Who would be tasked with taking over for the likes of Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, and Andrew Lincoln? And could anyone match the magic of Rowan Atkinson’s iconic cameo? (Spoiler: the answer is no, but we’ve got someone who could give it a go!).
So go grab yourself a mulled wine, put Coldplay’s ‘Christmas Lights’ on in the background, and settle in as The Inner Geek takes you through the cast of Love Actually as you’ve never seen them before. Oh, and make sure you click on the links in each blurb if you want to watch the character's best scene in the movie (as decided by The Inner Geek!).
Billy Mack (Bill Nighy)
The rock and roll legend that records the (now IRL) Christmas classic “Christmas is All Around” is perhaps the best character in the whole movie. The loveable Billy Mack is the old-timer giving it one last go at the big time and, to the surprise of everyone, succeeding. Sound familiar, Andros Townsend? Everton’s resurgent midfielder had seen his career drift into relative obscurity in recent years – watching from the (England) sidelines as younger, flashier models came and took over what had once promised to be a lifetime of stardom. But now he’s back. And it’s most likely a fleeting visit, but one which deep down we are all enjoying – even if it doesn’t really make much sense and probably isn’t in the best interests of the industry.
David (Hugh Grant)
The Prime Minister whose love for Natalie leads him to disregard all foreign policy recommendations and stand up to those dastardly Americans. Standing up for the little guys? That is Marcus Rashford’s wheelhouse all over. Whilst Rashford has generally focused his political career on ensuring school children have enough food, Prime Minister David seems to be more inclined to ensure school children have memorable nativity plays. Each to their own, I guess. Both reached the top of their respective ladders at a young age, and both have become national heroes – representing their countries interests on the world stage admirably. And let’s be honest, you can definitely picture Marcus rocking those dance moves to the Pointer Sisters just like Hugh did so iconically.
Natalie (Martine McCutcheon)
A member of the Prime Minister’s household staff with a proclivity for attracting the eye of world leaders. Natalie’s rise from tea and biscuit carrier to girlfriend of the most powerful man in the UK was a rapid one – only slightly faster than Andrew Robertson’s ascent from the Scottish Third Division to Champions League winner. The likeable, no-nonsense, working-class Natalie is every bit the Liverpool man in personality, if not in appearance. It was tempting here to pick a certain other Premier League left back based on the on-going joke in Love Actually about Natalie being a little “chubby”…but I am shaw that those comparisons would be deemed inappropriate, and we don’t want that at Christmas time.
Harry (Alan Rickman)
The director of a design agency who has literally no idea what constitutes as a Christmas present for anyone. Alan Rickman’s Harry flirted with a more visually appealing future before ultimately deciding (rightly so) that loyalty was the way forwards. Ring any bells, Jamie Vardy? Admittedly, we don’t get to see how their story ends, and its clear things will never be as good as they once were with Karen/Leicester, but we’re still left with hope that they can rekindle the good times, even in the twilight of their careers. Harry and Jamie also have…let’s say, a “hard” face – for instance, you wouldn’t want to get into an argument with them over which Die Hard film was the best (obviously the first one according to Rickman) – but you get the sense that once you crack the surface, they’d be great to go for a (butter)beer with.
Karen (Emma Thompson)
The wife who is being cheated on by Harry and who is sister to the Prime Minister. She also makes a mean Octopus costume. It’s got to be Shane Duffy, hasn’t it? It’s sad to say after several loyal years together, but it feels like Karen and Shane are not truly wanted by their respective partners. Karen, forsaken for a newer prize; Duffy, offloaded to play in the Scottish Premiership. I’m not sure who had the worse deal to be honest. And yet both have returned and, to a large extent, carried on like the preceding event didn’t really happen. I get that. Bottle up all those emotions – that’s what Christmas is truly all about. Oh, and don’t tell me you can’t picture Duffy at home sat on his sofa, sewing together the eighth leg of a costume octopus for his little ones just like Karen.
Mark (Andrew Lincoln)
The card-holding, lovestruck best man whose video-recording skills, whilst strong, seem to neglect any forward thinking. Yes, somehow Mark fails to contemplate that a stalker-ish homemade video might take some explaining if fallen into the wrong hands, but I digress – that part bears no reflection on our Fantrax equivalent (that I know of at least). The real reason Curtis Jones fits the bill here is because at this moment in time, Mark/Curtis are all potential and a bit of a pushover. But give it 10 years and the boy is going to be a kick-ass hard man leading his team through an apocalyptic world of zombies (and no, that’s not me suggesting Jones will be playing in Ligue 1…). A minor character now but primed for the big time.
Juliet (Keira Knightly)
The object of Mark’s affection who somehow thinks that kissing him for an absurdly long time on the lips is a good way of giving him closure. Keira’s storyline is solid. It’s nice, it’s heart-warming. But it’s not a Champions League material storyline. Much like James Ward-Prowse. And perhaps it’s that nicety that’s stopping it from reaching the Alan Rickman/Colin Firth levels of storyline. We need a bit more bite from both Keira and James before we can start considering them first round material. There are so many similarities – both repping that girl/boy next door vibe, both could do with a bit more airtime. And, of course, both can Bend It Like Beckham.
Jamie (Colin Firth)
The cuckolded writer who finds love in the form of his housekeeper Aurelia and somehow learns passable Portuguese within three weeks. Yes, Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is the perfect counterpart for Jamie, not least because his last relationship ended so, so badly. It’s safe to say Arsenal fans aren’t that fond of their former number 2, but new club Aurelia Villa (awfully tenuous, I know, but it’s Christmas so let me have it) have taken him to their heart. It’s still early days in the relationship, and there will no doubt be communication issues as Emiliano/Jamie gets to grips with the new language (Brummie can be hard to understand, and that’s before adding in the fluent Scouse of the manager) but it’s fun, exciting, and has a lot of promise.
Sam (Thomas Sangster)
The teenager who inexplicably learns to play the drums within a month in order to impress a classmate who looks five years older than him. I’m not sure whether Billy Gilmour’s penchant for acquiring musical skills is quite at Sam’s level, but one thing they both have in common is their ability to run. Few people cover the pitch like the young Scot, just like few people cover an airport like young Sam. Laughably inadequate representations of airport security aside, Sam expertly applied pressure at the right time and managed to intercept sweetheart Joanna just in time – skills that make Gilmour one of the Premier League’s brightest prospects. Thomas Sangster (now 31, by the way!) has had a solid career – let’s hope the Chelsea loanee can do something similar.
Daniel (Liam Neeson)
The recently widowed man whose parenting skills are put to the test again – though this time he’s not forced to “find them and kill them”, it’s simply a case of helping his stepson impress his sweetheart. This is James Milner all over. Successfully nurturing through the next generation is exactly what Milner has been doing these last few seasons at Liverpool. He often does so with a smile on his face and a cheer in his step…but you absolutely would not mess with the guy. One wrong move and we go from loveable RomCom sweetie to no-nonsense, all-action hard man. Milner hasn’t exactly experienced the same level of heartbreak in his career as Daniel did when his wife passed away, but that relegation with his boyhood club Leeds United back in 2003-04 (yes, the evergreen Milner was actually an integral part of that side!) would’ve hurt for sure. Also, if Daniel’s chat with women is anything to go by, both are equally boring.
Mia (Heike Makatsch)
Harry’s seductive secretary whose flirtations with her boss go from excessive to absurd with that leg-opening scene in the office. Move over Harry and Marv, Christmas’ biggest villain is quite easily the character of Mia – or Marcos Alonso, to use her Fantrax name. Okay, so in reality, it is clearly Harry who is in the wrong, but this is pre-woke 2003 remember, and a single woman getting her rocks off with a married man is maybe more culpable than the man himself unfortunately. Anyway, what does that have to do with the Chelsea left-back, I hear you ask. Well, Mia is the ultimate tease. She offers immediate gratification but has zero interest in a prolonged relationship. No doubt it will be fun whilst it lasts, but you need to think about the long-term with this one. Hence, Marcos Alonso.
Colin (Kris Marshall)
The loveable loser Colin has an inability to find love himself, which, naturally takes him to America. Here he has the pick of all the ladies, because, you know, the accent, obviously. Moving overseas and having everyone adore you is something that Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin knows all about. Like Colin, ASM doesn’t really have much support around him. We get a brief bit of Elisha Cuthbert (Ryan Fraser?) and his relationship with Abdul Salis (Callum Wilson?) has potential, but the storyline is pretty much all Colin. Despite the undoubted fun and laughter that Colin brings, there’s no denying that his storyline is amongst the lower-tier in the movie, which is apt, because that’s exactly where Newcastle lie amongst the Premier League’s elite.
Karl (Rodrigo Santoro)
The hot nerd at work and the object of Sarah’s affections – he nearly seals the deal after the office Christmas party but receives the coldest of cold showers. This has Jesse Lingard written all over it. Well, perhaps not the “hot nerd” part, but if Sarah is West Ham, and the Christmas party is his magical loan spell in the second half of the 2020-21 season, then the subsequent return to the Manchester United substitutes bench is a very appropriate cold shower. A fleeting experience of success and happiness, cruelly taken away from him – yes, that’s Karl and Lingard’s storyline alright. Rodrigo Santoro, who plays Karl, was also in Lost – which pretty much sums up Lingard’s career.
Rufus (Rowan Atkinson)
The meticulous gift-wrapping jewellery salesman whose small amount of screen time nevertheless provides a large amount of entertainment. Much like the 2021/22 version of Adama Traore. Yes, Traore has found game time surprisingly hard to come by this year but has nevertheless produced in fantasy in the form of a 14.8 PP90. Similarly, Rufus is used sporadically in the film, but is effective whenever called upon. Rufus, played by the legendary (and this word is used a lot, but is absolutely correct here) Rowan Atkinson, is the cherry on the sundae that is Love Actually and whilst Adama is unlikely to ever reach a similar status IRL, he’s already accomplished it in the Draft Fantasy community. Not quite the same physique though.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
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