What the Love Actually kid did next

Thomas Brodie-Sangster pictured in Love Actually in 2003 and at the premiere of Pistol in 2022. (Alamy/Getty)

It is difficult to forget his childhood when it is filmed. Even more when this film is a classic of Richard Curtis, Love Actually.

“It’s every Christmas at least three times,” Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who you’ll remember as Liam Neeson’s lovesick son Sam in the 2003 film, told Yahoo in 2014.

“I haven’t seen the whole film for a long time. I do not need it. I went to see it during previews and screenings. The first time it was on TV, I watched it, took the DVD and watched it. It was exciting for me!”

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The actor, now 32, is undoubtedly proud of his film debut, although – despite a host of successful roles since his stint in Game Of Thrones and several Maze Runner films – it’s always the thing he was best known for.

UK.  Thomas Brodie-Sangster in a scene from ©Universal Pictures: Love Actually (2003).  Plot: Follows the lives of eight very different couples dealing with their love lives in various loosely related tales, all set during a frenetic month before Christmas in London, England.  Ref: LMK110-J6851-121020 Supplied by LMKMEDIA.  Editorial only.  Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these film or television still images, but provides service only to recognized media.  photos@lmkmedia.com

Thomas Brodie-Sangster in a scene from Love Actually. (Universal Images)

“Even if they say, ‘Oh my God Game Of Thrones, it’ll be Love Actually straight away,’ he admitted. “Game Of Thrones is huge in the US, but so is Love Actually.”

But it’s hard not to see the 13-year-old who played drums and pined for the pretty girl at school in the star-studded celebratory comedy.

“I’ve got a bit of a baby face,” he told Us, pointing out that all that’s really changed is that he’s stretched out a bit and his voice has gotten deeper.

Read more: Hugh Grant found Love Actually’s dance scene ‘excruciating’

Fortunately, in the years since, the Londoner – the son of two actors – has managed to avoid the pitfalls of many child stars who find themselves caught up in alcohol, drugs and bad behavior.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid that fame or money or free drugs would mess me up,” he said. “I remember friends or school associates going off and drinking a hot bottle of vodka by the park and it was never me.”

Instead, Sangster’s tastes were more refined.

Actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster poses for photographers as he arrives at the screening of the film 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure'.  in London, Wednesday, January 22, 2018. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Thomas Brodie-Sangster at the fan screening of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, 2018. (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

“I remember being a kid and my grandfather would come down from Scotland with a bottle of scotch and he and my dad would sit down and have a couple of scotches a night, in a nice glass and I remember being fascinated by it, thinking it’s cool. I wanted to do it. I’d say, ‘no, I’m not sitting on a park bench drinking a hot bottle of vodka, I’m drinking a nice single malt .’

He laughs and worries about sounding pretentious. “That’s how I became ‘Posh Kid’ in school, even though I didn’t,” he sighed. “I’m from Elephant and Castle.”

Read more: The best movies on TV at Christmas

“I never liked going out and being absolutely p****d. I really like to drink,” he continues. “I make my cocktails at home and I really like Old Fashioneds, the whiskey sours and the Manhattans… But I like the whole process and how sociable it is. Making them for other people and then sitting around listening to music and then slowly you find yourself slightly drunk. instead of just going and getting lost.

UK.  Liam Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in a scene from ©Universal Pictures: Love Actually (2003).  Plot: Follows the lives of eight very different couples dealing with their love lives in various loosely related tales, all set during a frenetic month before Christmas in London, England.  Ref: LMK110-J6851-121020 Supplied by LMKMEDIA.  Editorial only.  Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these film or television still images, but provides service only to recognized media.  photos@lmkmedia.com

Liam Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in a scene from Love Actually. (Universal Images)

Then there is Game Of Thrones. His character Jojen Reed — a seer who helps Bran Stark see the future — joined the show in season three and is still alive and kicking in the books.

This is not the case in the show. Jojen was killed off in the TV series and Sangster didn’t even know until he was on the plane to Belfast to start filming the fourth season.

“I had finally made time to read the last episode because there was quite a lot to go through – ten hour-long episodes,” he recalls.

Thomas Brodie Sangster as Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones (HBO/Sky)

Thomas Brodie Sangster as Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones (HBO/Sky)

“Towards the very end, it was said that Jojen had been stabbed multiple times. And I was like, ‘what?!’ Oh, but it’ll be fine, no one told me I was dying. It says my sister is coming to slit my throat and I’m like, ‘WHAT?! What are you talking about?’ And then it says somebody throw a molotov cocktail and Jojen goes up in flames and I was like, ‘ok, I’m DEAD, dead, dead. I can’t come back from this. just read while going to film it.

Read more: Which streaming service has the best Christmas movies?

While he may not be returning to Westeros anytime soon, he’ll be sitting with his eggnog watching Hugh Grant boogie through the halls of Downing Street the next time Love Actually appears on TV.

“I’m going to sit down and catch a few scenes and reminisce a bit,” he says. “Over the years, you can see it a little more like a movie. At first it is impossible. You can’t help but reminisce about what happened that day, what you did, what you ate for lunch. I look and I see a small child.

Liam Neeson, Olivia Olsen and Thomas Brodie-Sangster film a scene for a short film by

Liam Neeson, Olivia Olsen and Thomas Brodie-Sangster film a scene for a short ‘Love Actually’, directed by Richard Curtis, on London’s South Bank. (Alamy)

In 2017, Brodie-Sangster reprized his role as Love Actually for a charity short titled Red Nose Day Actually. Set 13 years after the events of the film, it saw Sam reunite with his stepfather Daniel (Liam Neeson) after years of living in New York.

It is revealed that Sam is with Joanna, his crush in the film played by Olivia Olsen, who asks Daniel for her stepson’s hand in marriage. And it was an on-screen and off-screen reunion.

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“It was very magical,” Curtis told The Daily Beast in 2017. “Thomas was definitely a very little boy when we did it and now he’s a real man, so I think that one was particularly touching. because Liam hadn’t seen him since the premiere.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Talulah Riley and Thomas Brodie-Sangster attend Bulgari Gala Dinner to celebrate Queen's Platinum Jubilee and unveil 'Jubilee Emerald Garden';  fine jewelry set at Westminster Abbey on July 1, 2022 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Bulgari)

Talulah Riley and Thomas Brodie-Sangster attend the Bulgari Gala Dinner to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Bulgari)

The cast recently reunited for an hour-long special, titled The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later, which aired on the ABC US network.

Brodie-Sangster is now enjoying big success in the TV world, earning a Primetime Emmy nomination for his role in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit and earning plaudits as Malcolm McLaren in Danny Boyle’s Pistol. He is currently dating his Pistol co-star Talulah Riley, dating at multiple events throughout 2022.

(Editor’s note: This interview was first published in 2014)

Love Actually airs on Prime Video or ITVX with ads.

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