THE little girl from Love Actually, who stunned viewers with her incredible singing voice, has revealed that the Christmas movie was her FIRST kiss.
LA-based Olivia Olson, now 28, was just 10 years old when she bagged the part of Joanna Anderson, and has lifted the lid on secrets behind the 2003 Christmas classic.
Olivia revealed that she was extremely nervous about her scenes with on-screen “love interest” Sam, played by a then-12-year-old Thomas Brodie-Sangster.
Speaking to Fabulous, Olivia recounted: “We were kids, I wouldn’t say there was any romance, but that was my first time kissing a boy ever. It was weird.
“There were definitely feelings there of anticipation, like little kids’ nerves.”
Sadly she hasn’t kept in touch with Thomas as she “didn’t have a phone or email address at the time” – but she has been watching him from afar in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit and was impressed at his American accent.
Olivia revealed a comical part of filming was that she kept losing her baby teeth on set.
She said: “I think the funniest for me was the wardrobe department being up in arms as I kept losing teeth during filming.
“I kept losing my baby teeth, since we filmed so much of the film out of order, by the time we did the singing scene which was a close up of my mouth they were like ‘ah can you please stop losing teeth’ because the continuity was out the door.
“I think I lost like three or four teeth on the set which was wild.”
To tackle the issue, the crew had to film from tactical angles that would avoid exposing her missing pegs.
Love Actually director Richard Curtis said in the DVD commentary that Olivia’s singing was “so perfect”, they were scared audiences wouldn’t believe a ten-year-old really sang it.
Olivia said she had no singing training before auditioning for the film and revealed: “Yeah he did have that concern.
“We did the first take all the way through and I was sat there for 10 to 15 minutes and couldn’t hear what they were saying.
I think the funniest for me was the wardrobe department being up in arms as I kept losing teeth during filming.
“They hit the button and said ‘Olivia that was really really good, can you try one maybe not so good, we’ve just agreed it might be too unbelievable, can you sing it more straight?’
“We did another take where I sort of held back on some of those runs and I believe they used a mashup of the two takes.
“When I heard it back I could hear there were tweaks that were different in the post production and I think it was to make the breaths more exaggerated.”
Love Actually was the first ever movie she ever auditioned for, but thankfully the star-studded cast was extremely welcoming.
Olivia said: “The cast were really nice. I think the nicest people who took such a warming to all the kids in the film were Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson.”
She revealed that the movie was actually shot backwards so the first day was the airport scene at the end where everyone reunites.
This helped her to meet some of the A-list cast right from day one, which was useful as she had no idea who anyone was.
She said: “All the big stars were there on the first day. I was only 10 at the time so I didn’t really know who anybody was but my mum was completely starstruck.
“Hugh Grant was very sweet, he actually came up and said ‘Richard played your song for me, you have such a lovely voice’.
“My mum was pinching herself, I wasn’t knowing what was going on or who these people were.”
Olivia said that one of her most treasured memories was Emma Thompson teaching her how to “cry” when acting.
She explained: “Emma was very personable, she let all of us watch some of her really intense crying scenes and was jumping in and out of character between cuts and sort of talking to us about her acting process and how she could cry.
“It was really cool she took the time to do that, as I think a lot of actors probably just want to focus on the task at hand and not care that there are kids asking questions.
“Her main thing was just that she truly truly in her heart believed that she was the character Karen, so she was like ‘my husband bought a necklace for another woman and that makes me devastated’.”
Olivia was too young to watch the 15-rated movie when it came out in cinemas, but she did get to watch it at the premiere with her parents.
This included having to awkwardly sit through the infamous “porno scene”, which starred actors Martin Freeman and Joanna Page doing X-rated positions in the nude.
She said: “Richard was actually very kind to my parents and Thomas’s parents.
“He turned around just before and was like ‘this is the scene you might want to cover their eyes’.
“The porno scenes, but I could hear what was going on. It was just a couple of years later I actually watched it.”
Now she has watched the entire film thousands of times and her mum still puts it on every Christmas when she can get Olivia “drunk enough”.
The singer said: “Then she will put it on in the background, always. I think my brother is frankly sick of it at this point.
“I don’t care to watch it, I’ve seen that movie about 7,000 times.”
While the film is one of the most popular Christmas movies, Olivia said growing up boys used to tease her for being in it.
She said: “I was labelled as the ‘Love Actually girl’ and people were like ‘sing something.’
“I was made fun of for some of the outfits in the film. The crochet beanie and the sparkly top, it was a little bit of a laughing matter. You know how 15 year old boys are.”
Thankfully her boyfriend, who she lives with in LA with their two cats and one dog, thinks her role was “amazing.”
She joked of her boyfriend, who works in the crew side of the entertainment industry: “He’s so funny, if anything he acts like one of the 15 year old boys and pokes fun of me but he does think I was amazing and talented at that age.
“He knows it's a movie that moulds who I am today.”
Since Love Actually, Olivia has worked on the TV series Fast & Furious Spy Racers and Adventure Time: Distant Lands, and is bringing out a studio album in 2021.
She also starred on Celebrity X Factor last year, where she finished 12th, with Megan McKenna eventually winning.
But no matter what she does, Olivia can also expect the annual texts to come rolling in when pals sit down to watch Love Actually in December.
Olivia said: “Now of course it is such a classic I get the yearly text ‘look what I’m watching’.
“When I was a teen I found it annoying, now I think it is really sweet. I think you go through phases with that sort of thing.
“There was a brief moment when I was like ‘I just want to not be known as the All I Want for Christmas girl’, now I think it is such a part of who I am that I embrace it now.”
Meanwhile, this is what the Love Actually cast look like now – as lobster girl Lulu Popplewell brands film ‘s***’ & ‘sexist.
We shared how there was a classic scene in Love Actually that Hugh Grant absolutely hated shooting.
And Love Actually fans can move into charming £2m mews house from iconic scene in film.
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