It’s been 10 years since Love Actually warmed hearts all over the world (and many other movies have failed to copy its essence), but people still can’t get over the one storyline that ends without the “girl getting the guy”. Sure, Emma Thompson‘s storyline doesn’t end the best either, but it’s Laura Linney‘s that people still get depressed over. Linney plays Sarah, who has been pining over her co-worker, Karl (Rodrigo Santoro). She finally goes on a date with him and takes him home (and has her hilarious hallway freakout), but before things go anywhere, she gets a phone call from her mentally ill brother, who is in a home. She ultimately chooses her obligation to her brother than her crush, leaving the audience crushed. Can’t she have both?
10 years later, Linney reminisced with EW of how much impact it still has on people.
“Sometimes life doesn’t allow relationships to happen,” she says. “That’s what the tension of the story was: It was driven by the pull of and the distraction, the worry, the concern, and the fear of not being there for someone else even when it’s against your best interest. And actually, a lot of people over the years have come up to me and said, ‘That was my story.’”
Santoro remembers reading the script and trying to get writer/director Richard Curtis to change it. “I was like, ‘Richard, we’re the sad ending!’ He goes, ‘Yeah, it’s okay,’” he says. “But it was on purpose, it was meant to be that way because that’s life. It’s not always happy.”
While she was shooting Love Actually in London, Linney was also simultaneously shooting her memorable role in Clint Eastwood‘s Mystic River in Boston. ”I felt like I was in some crazy intercontinental repertory theater. It felt like actor camp.”
But she loved the ensemble feel, that also included Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, January Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martin Freeman, and Colin Firth: “It was a remarkable sort of gathering of folks. Most of the time, moviemaking can be really challenging and it can be really satisfying, but rarely is it fun. And I just remember having a lot of fun on that one, and that’s because of the people.”
And Linney still thinks she scored with her downbeat storyline. “I got the best kiss! That’s what I think. But it’s true, a lot of times, those things don’t work out, and I’m more than happy to represent that type of story.”
For Santoro, he’s never going to forget being part of the now classic Christmas film: “Every time I walk in the airport, I remember this movie. Every. Time. When I walk around, I look at people and observe people. I’m always interested in seeing what they’re going through, and that comes from that movie.”