The scene is already famous: father and son, sitting on a bench, open up to mutual confidences, and when the child reveals his own passion for a girl of same age, the man shows great surprise. "Aren't you a bit young to be in love?". "No" answers the boy with as much genuine spontaneity. These few lines played by Thomas Sangster, alias Sam, in the movie "Love Actually", were sufficient to conquer the heart of many fans (some of the most dedicated ones have even opened a petition on the web, in order to convince the casting department of the next Harry Potter movie, to insert Thomas in the cast of the prestigious series). Moreover, Thomas' skills attracted enough of the critics attention to get him nominated for 'Best Actor in a Supporting Role' for the International Press Academy's next Satellite Awards.
That scene, actually, marked his debut on the big screen, but in spite of his young age (13 and half years) Thomas already brags a surprisingly professional curriculum, above all comprised by mini-series and TV movies. Like "Il segreto di Thomas" (Entrusted), for example, recently broadcast on Canale 5, where Thomas played the role of the little protagonist, alongside some great actors as Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Klaus Maria Brandauer; and thanks to which he obtained the 'Best Actor' recognition at the 43rd Television Festival of Montecarlo, this past July (2003).
Son of arts (his father is an actor and a musician, his mother is a dancer and is a carachterist for the BBC) Thomas brags also another prestigious relation, his cousin Hugh Grant.
But we don't have to believe that this has facilitated him in his career: on the set of "Love Actually", for example, even the director Richard Curtis had no knowledge of this relation. Thomas himself explained to us how his passion for acting was born.
"I was reading a scene with my mum three years ago and I really liked that," the young actor explains to us, contacted in London thanks to the kind collaboration of his agency, Marcus & McCrimmon Management "so I decided I would like to do it again and more often. But I never attended an acting school."
So, how do you prepare yourself for a movie scene? Do you have some little professional secrets?
"No secrets. I just try to learn the lines and when they say 'Action', I snap into character."
In the movie Love Actually you were side by side with a great actor, Liam Neeson. How has it been working with him?
"It was terrific. He was really fun on set and we had a really great relationship together."
Which has been the most difficult scene of the movie?
"The one where Liam was spinning me round and round at the end, because it was making me feel dizzy and sick doing it over and over again."
In this movie you even had to learn to play the drums. Was that difficult?
"It wasn’t too difficult. My dad taught me and I really enjoyed it. I would like to continue to play them but they take up so much space and are very noisy!"
Running through the list of Thomas' professional experiences, the one thing that stands out is the large range of roles he has already played, like a child suffering from cancer on "The Miracle of the Cards", the boy persecuted by his school companions on "Feather Boy" and even a young Adolf Hitler on "Hitler: The Rise of Evil". But if we ask him which of these was the most difficult to play and which was the most pleasant one, Thomas seems to have no doubt.
"Il Segreto di Thomas was the most difficult one to play, - he explains to us - because there were lots of emotional scenes, but it was also the most enjoyable filming experience for me until now."
You have already participated in many productions that talked about the Holocaust: have you learned more about it through these movies or from your schoolbooks?
"I always learn more interesting things on a film set and also more intricate details."
How much did your career change your ordinary life?
"My life hasn't really changed at all. When not filming I am at home or school. Except that after Love Actually was released I have started to get noticed on the street which can be annoying at times."
Tell me about your next projects: what are you working on at the moment?
"I am about to start filming Nanny McPhee, the new Emma Thompson film with Colin Firth and Judy Dench, and there are a few things in the pipeline for later on in the year."
Do you like Italy? Have you ever been here?
"I have never been to Italy but I would love to come so much. My mother toured all over Italy as a dancer and has told me how beautiful it is. I was very sorry that I wasn't able to be there for the Italian screening of Il Segreto di Thomas."
I apologize now if I finish with a question on the personal side. In Love Actually, Sam experienced the total agony of being in love with a girl at his school. Can you relate to what Sam experienced?
"I haven’t experienced these feelings myself yet."
Probably, then, the stepfather Daniel (Liam Neeson) was right to suggest that it was too much soon. But don't worry, Thomas: every thing at the right time.
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