British actor Hugh Grant will share the screen with his 13-year-old cousin in a new movie - and the youngster got the role based on his own merit.

Young THOMAS SANGSTER - who won critical praise for his role as the young Adolf Hitler in an American TV mini-series on the dictator's life - plays a boy who has a troubled relationship with his father, played by Liam Neeson, in LOVE ACTUALLY.

And despite their family connection, NOTTING HILL star Grant had no part in getting Thomas the role, as a friend of his reveals.

The pal says, "Thomas has talent far in advance of his years. He has managed to land some fantastic parts on the back of the few roles he has performed to date - and those parts appear to be getting more and more substantial.

"For example, Hugh's part in Love Actually is in fact a lot smaller than Thomas'.

"The inference would be that Hugh gave Thomas some kind of help with his career - but that's far from the case. The interesting thing is that no one on the set of Love Actually even knew that they were related.

"I just spoke to Duncan Kenworthy, the producer and Richard Curtis, the director, who said it's news to them."

08/07/2003 17:05