In Review

Love Actually sequel: Which characters will return?

Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln reprise their popular roles to raise money for Red Nose Day

Fourteen years after its release, romantic comedy Love Actually is getting a sequel - of sorts

Many of the cast from the much loved - and much loathed - film are reuniting to raise money for Comic Relief.

Red Nose Day Actually, a ten-minute film written by Richard Curtis and his wife Emma Freud, reveals what the original characters are doing in 2017.

Original stars Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln and Colin Firth, along with Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy and Rowan Atkinson will be back.

Missing from the line-up is Emma Thompson, while Alan Rickman, who played her unfaithful husband, died last year.

Curtis said: "I would never have dreamt of writing a sequel to Love Actually, but I thought it might be fun to do ten minutes to see what everyone is now up to."

He was "delighted" so many of the original cast could take part, he said, adding: "It'll certainly be a nostalgic moment getting back together."

Interest in the fate of the Love Actually characters and their complicated love lives was sparked when Freud took her family to a screening of the film in 2015 and live-tweeted her reactions.

At the time, she seemingly shut down hopes that Knightley and Lincoln's characters, Juliet and Mark, would get together, but cheered fans by saying youngsters Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson) did become "a thing".

Hillary Busis at Vanity Fair has some predictions for the key characters: David, the prime minister played by Grant, must be enjoying retirement after serving out his term, while Daniel, the grieving father played by Neeson, may be getting romantic advice from his now-grown stepson, Sam.

She also wonders if Juliet and Mark might be together after all, since Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played Knightley's husband Peter, is not in the cast list.

Love Actually was a "notoriously polarising film" when it was released, says Catherine Shoard at The Guardian, and it has been repeatedly "unpicked, spoofed and deconstructed" ever since.

Its showdown between Grant's prime minister and Billy Bob Thornton's boorish US president has also become "a touchstone of political discourse ever since", she adds.

Only this week, Harper's Bazaar compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Grant's character following his meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Red Nose Actually will air on BBC1 on 24 March as part of the Red Nose Day appeal.

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