And while she admitted to having imposter syndrome appearing alongside a number of Hollywood stars, Richard originally hid the fact he’d written the part of Natalie especially for her.
Richard made the revelation in a new video to promote a Love Actually quiz in aid of Comic Relief, explaining that the scripts had been written using Martine’s real name.
“When I was writing the film, I was absolutely determined that Martine was going to play the woman that Hugh Grant fell in love with,” he said.
“It was only when we were about to have the read-through, which was actually sort of going to be her audition, that I suddenly realised I had called the character Martine.
“So literally the day before, we did that sort of ‘change all’ thing on the computer. [We] changed everything to ‘Natalie’ suddenly, and then hoped it would be okay, because we didn’t want Martine to see the part was for her and then do so badly and be sad for the rest of her life.
“But she was absolutely perfect at the read-through, as we expected,” he added.
Reflecting on joining the cast, Martine also said: “I spent most of my life with imposter syndrome thinking I was going to be kicked out of anywhere fabulous.
“I remember calling him and saying, ’I don’t know if I’m going to be able to hold my own for this first rehearsal today. I can do theatre and TV, but movies with these huge stars and Oscar winners, and the heart throb of all time, Hugh Grant – will I be able to hold my own?
“[Richard] told me, ‘Oh shut up, we wrote the part for you, and Hugh can’t wait to meet you, and wanted you to be a part of it all along’.”
Richard and Martine will be reuniting with Love Actually cast members Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley and Kris Marshall for Comic Relief’s Ultimate Love Actually Christmas quiz, with tickets available for £5 until 29 January from the website.