Gina Mei
December 22, 2015 3:35 pm

In the 12 years since it came out, Love Actually has become a holiday classic; and at this point, it feels like we know everything there is to know about the film and its characters. But one recent discovery has us questioning our fandom in ways we never thought possible — and it’s completely blowing our minds.

At first glance, Love Actually‘s Karl and 300‘s Xerxes might not have a lot in common. One is handsome, but approachable — someone you might have a crush on at work but are unable to pursue because of family issues outside the office — and the other is an intimidating king with eighty pounds of gold draped around his body. But guess what? THEY ARE THE SAME PERSON.

According to Buzzfeed (and confirmed by IMDb), Rodrigo Santoro, the actor who played Karl in Love Actually, also played 300‘s titular villain, Xerxes the Persian god-king. Which also means one of Love Actually‘s many adorable turtleneck-loving characters starred in one of the most anti-turtleneck films of all time. (That being said, I’m choosing to believe that Xerxes’ jewelry is an homage to the garment.)

From a logical perspective, I understand that this is how acting works, and that a person isn’t just going to play the same character over and over again for all of eternity. For an actor, that would be very unfulfilling and boring and probably a sign that your career isn’t going too well. I am also very aware that Love Actually and 300 do not exist in the same cinematic universe; and that even if they did, the stories take place approximately 2,500 years apart. And yet, there is something unbelievably appealing about the fact that the person who played sweet, understanding, and crush-worthy Karl is the same person who played Xerxes, possibly one of the most insufferable villains of the ’00s.

But is it really so hard to fathom? After all, both characters aren’t exactly what you’d call chatterboxes; and both are worshipped far and wide. On top of that, they’re both considered “untouchable” by their peers. (Sorry, Laura Linney.)

Obviously, Santoro isn’t the only Love Actually star who’s been in other notable films. (It should also be noted that Santoro has been in a plethora of other amazing movies and TV shows, too.) No matter how much flack it might get from its critics, it’s impossible to deny Love Actually‘s dazzling cast of superstars, who’ve all gone on to covetable careers if they didn’t have them already.

As a result, this kind of “crossover” is inevitable — and very fun to think about. Can you imagine Liam Neeson’s Taken speech in Love Actually? Or if Harry Potter‘s Severus Snape, Sybill Trelawney, and Rufus Scrimgeour were all just trying to have a normal Christmas in London? Why aren’t Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver fighting over Bridget Jones? And when did Daniel become prime minister? Why isn’t Rick battling the walkers instead of writing “romantic” poster boards?

The questions could go on forever; but for some reason, Santoro’s turn as Xerxes feels extra confounding. If you need proof that movie magic is real, we’re pretty sure this is it.

Related stories:

A definitive ranking of the relationships in Love Actually

Everything you never noticed about Love Actually

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