Love Hard is Netflix’s latest romantic holiday movie. Netflix has been giving holiday romantic movie giants like The Hallmark Channel and Lifetime some major competition. The Princess Switch film series, the A Christmas Prince movies, and other original Netflix Christmas movies have received a lot of buzz and high viewership. Now it’s become a Netflix tradition for a fresh batch of Christmas movies to premiere every holiday season. Netflix kicks off the holiday 2021 Netflix movies with Love Hard. The Love Hard cast includes Nina Dobrev and Darren Barnet, so you know it’s a must-watch.
If Love Hard does well enough, perhaps we'll see a sequel sometime next year, and if so, the Love Hard cast may be back. Here’s where you may have seen the Love Hard cast before.
Nina Dobrev (Natalie Bauer)
Nina Dobrev plays leading lady Natalie Bauer in Love Hard. She travels cross country to meet her online love interest. Her romantic fantasy gets crushed when she discovers that he’s not the man she thought he was, literally. Most will instantly recognize Dobrev for playing Elena Gilbert and all her doppelgangers on The Vampire Diaries. She was part of The Vampire Diaries cast from 2009 to 2015, and then made a return for The Vampire Diaries series finale.
OG Nina Dobrev fans will first remember her from playing Mia Jones on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Dobrev also reprised her role as Elena for The Originals. She also appeared on the series Robot Chicken and Workaholics. She briefly played the lead on the now-canceled CBS series Fam. Nina Dobrev also appeared in the films The Poet, Chloe, The Roommate, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Final Girls, Flatliners, Then Came You, and XXX: Return of Xander Cage.
Jimmy O. Yang (Josh Lin)
Jimmy O. Yang plays Josh, the man who catfished Natalie into believing that he looked a little different than how he appeared on a dating app profile. Most may recognize Yang for playing the extremely annoying Jian-Yang on Silicon Valley. He also had guest roles on the series Battle Creek, Those Who Can’t, Broken, Drunk History, Fresh Off the Boat, and Space Force.
Yang also appeared on episodes of 2 Broke Girls, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, New Girl, Criminal Minds, and Another Period. He had roles in the films Patriots Day, Life of the Party, The Happytime Murders, Fantasy Island, The Opening Act, and Crazy Rich Asians.
Darren Barnet (Tag)
Darren Barnet plays Tag, the face behind Josh’s profile pictures. Natalie discovers that he lives not too far from the real Josh and sets out to make her dream romance real. Darren Barnet has been making girls, women, and men choose between team Paxton or team Ben ever since he made his debut in Never Have I Ever. On Never Have I Ever, he plays Paxton Hall-Yoshida, one of the objects of Devi's (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) teen fantasies.
Barnet has also appeared on the TV shows This is Us, Criminal Minds, S.W.A.T, Family Reunion, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and as a lead in the Facebook Watch series Turnt. Darren Barnet also played the male lead Grant in American-Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules. He also appeared in the film Untitled Horror Movie.
Harry Shum Jr. (Owen Lin)
Harry Shum Jr. plays Owen, a member of Josh’s family. Shum Jr. spent years busting a move as Mike Chang on Glee. He eventually stepped out of the background and played more of a major role in later seasons. He then played Magnus Bane on Shadowhunters and became one-half of the TV show’s most popular romantic pairings. Shum Jr. also appeared in the TV shows Tell Me a Story, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Greek, and iCarly.
Harry Shum Jr. also appeared in the movies Step Up 2: The Streets, Our Family Wedding, Step Up 3D, White Frog, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, Crazy Rich Asians, Broadcast Signal Intrusion, and All My Life.
James Saito (Bob Lin)
James Saito plays Bob Lin, another member of Josh’s family. Saito has been making movies and TV shows since the 1970s and 1980s, and he has appeared in such popular movies as Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Devil’s Advocate, The Thomas Crown Affair, Pearl Harbor, Life of Pi, Big Eyes, While We’re Young, and Always Be My Maybe. He also voiced The Shredder in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Saito appeared in M*A*S*H, Eli Stone, One Life to Live, Altered Carbon, and Dash & Lily. He also appeared in episodes of The Incredible Hulk, Knots Landing, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Young and the Restless, Law & Order, Blue Bloods, House of Cards, Marvel’s Iron Fist, Elementary, Modern Love, Prodigal Son, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Mikaela Hoover (Chelsea)
Mikaela Hoover plays Chelsea in Love Hard. Hoover is no stranger to holiday romance movies, as she played Annie in Holidate. The Netflix film starred Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey as two singles who decide to become “holidate” buddies at every upcoming holiday to avoid family judgment. Hoover played Madison Westerbrook on the web series Sorority Forever.
She appeared in the television series How I Met Your Mother, Happy Endings, Anger Management, Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls, and Lucifer. Mikaela Hoover also appeared in the movies Airplane Mode, The Belko Experiment, Guardians of the Galaxy, Super, and The Suicide Squad.
Heather McMahan (Kerry)
Heather McMahan plays Kerry, Natalie’s good friend. McMahan is best known for being a comedian with a regular gig on Today and a podcast called Absolutely Not. Those who follow her on social media are quite familiar with McMahan and her comedy tours. However, she’s fairly new to the screen acting world.
Heather McMahan has appeared in the TV shows and movies Merry Ex-Mas, If Loving You Is Wrong, Family, The Trap, Zoe Ever After, and Bride to Maybe. Love Hard appears to be one of her first major film roles.
Althea Kaye (Grandma June Lin)
Althea Kaye plays Grandma June Lin, the head of the Lin family, in Love Hard. She’s not afraid to say whatever is on her mind, and she often provides the comic relief of Love Hard. She’s also very curious about dating apps, so much so that she makes it her mission to understand them.
As far as Althea Kaye's previous roles, she may be new to the screen acting world, as there are only a few credits listed on her IMDB page. Her recent appearances include two episodes of CW's Kung Fu and three episodes of Freeform's Motherland: Fort Salem.
Rebecca Staab (Barb Lin)
Rebecca Staab plays Barb. Staab is best known for playing Elizabeth Barrington in the early 2000s on Port Charles. She played Colleen on Somewhere Between. Rebecca Staab also appeared in the movies The Marrying Man, Love Potion No. 9, and Breakthrough.
She appeared in episodes of Glee, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, The Young and the Restless, NCIS, Nip/Tuck, and The Drew Carey Show. Rebecca Staab is a Hallmark movie regular, so she has appeared in many Hallmark movies, including The Irresistible Blueberry Farm, A Christmas Miracle, and Mingle All the Way. She also played Eileen Bruce in Hallmark’s original film series Chronicle Mysteries.
Matty Finochio (Lee)
Matty Finochio plays Lee in Love Hard. Finochio has appeared in over 90 TV and movie projects, starting back to the mid-2000s. He appeared in the TV shows The L Word, Sanctuary, Supernatural, Workaholics, Lucifer, and The Flash. Matty Finochio played Tweedle #1 in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Professor Cameron Foley in The Order, Bobby Hart in Day of the Dead, Alan in Date My Dad, and Teddy in A Million Little Things.
Finochio is also a holiday movie regular, appearing in Jingle Bell Bride, Holiday Date, Season’s Greetings, Jingle All the Way 2, and Tiny Christmas. He has also appeared in the movies Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, 50/50, Freaks, and A Cinderella Story: Starstruck.
Fletcher Donovan (Eric)
Fletcher Donovan plays Eric in Love Hard. Eric is the lovable guy who we first see as the Uber/Lyft driver that drives Natalie to the Lin family. He’s also Josh’s former stoner buddy. He only appears briefly in the movie but he’s a fun side character that provides a few chuckles.
Fletcher Donovan has appeared in episodes of Turner & Hooch, Big Sky, Firefly Lane,and 2020 The Stand miniseries. He also appeared in episodes of The Man in the High Castle, Supernatural, and Unspeakable. Donovan also played Jared on a few episodes of A Million Little Things. His movie credits include Kingspin, Drink Slay Love, He Sees You, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wildflower, and Crawlspace.
Catch Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Darren Barnet, and the rest of the Love Hard cast exclusively on Netflix. It’s one of the movies on Netflix to check out this Holiday season. It's just the right amount of holiday whimsy to get you into the holiday season. Stream Love Hard on Netflix.
Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.
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