When it comes to making a romantic holiday film that will become an instant classic, there are many factors involved. Great script? We think Hollywood veteran Emma Thompson knows how to write a memorable movie. Brilliant director? We love Ghostbusters, Bridesmaids, and A Simple Favour‘s Paul Feig. Leading actors with instant chemistry? You know we’re already shipping Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. Throw in a great soundtrack (which we think a movie inspired by the hit Wham! song will include) and you’ve got the upcoming holiday romance Last Christmas.
In the exclusive first look at the film, Entertainment Weekly is sharing three snaps from the Last Christmas set, which show Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke and Crazy Rich Asians lead Henry Golding enjoying winter activities like ice skating, dressing as an elf, and staring longingly into a loved ones’ eyes. Okay, maybe that last activity can be done in any season.
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Time for a Christmas romance with Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding! 🎄💘 Get your exclusive first look at #LastChristmas, an upcoming rom-com co-written by Emma Thompson and inspired by the Wham! song. Link in bio for a sneak peek from director Paul Feig. 📷: Jonathan Prime/Universal
Thompson began writing the script years ago, taking inspiration from the 1984 Wham! holiday classic. George Michael, who famously wrote, produced and sang “Last Christmas,” gave Thompson his blessing on the script before he passed away on Christmas Day in 2016. The film’s more serious subject matter, including issues of homelessness, were an important script component to the English superstar. “We have a whole story line in our movie about a homeless shelter, and [we consulted] with a lot of homeless charities to make sure we were portraying it correctly,” Feig told EW, adding that Michael’s estate approved the use of his music throughout the film, including an unreleased track that will play in the final scene. “The great sadness is that he’s not here to be a part of this,” said Feig. “But he knew it was going to happen, and that gives me such joy. We feel like he’s here with us.”
Feig shot Last Christmas in London, sidestepping the usual Hollywood move of creating a snowy backdrop on a hot set and instead using the city’s holiday decorations. “I was hell-bent on [shooting] in London before Christmas so we could use all the lights and the decorations that were naturally here,” Feig tells EW. Preparing to give Love Actually a run for its holiday rerun money, Feig shot the film around famous London landmarks like Piccadilly Circus, the Strand, Regent Street, and the Embankment. Shooting also took place in Covent Garden’s Yuletide Wonderful, the real-life year-round Christmas store where Clarke’s character Kate works.
“It’s an over-the-top place with more Christmas than you would ever see in one building, but it’s absolutely lovely and classy,” says Feig. “But it’s overload, especially if you’re like Emilia’s character in the movie and not entirely in the Christmas spirit.”
Feig says the film isn’t all mistletoe and apple cider, with Last Christmas packing a dramatic punch, making it a fitting film to honour a holiday love song that is also a heartbreak track. “It’s got the idea of romance, but also of somebody trying to repair their life — of familial tensions and how a family is falling apart and what it takes to put a family back together and dealing with the aftermath of difficult situations,” says Feig.
Prepare to give your heart away to Last Christmas when it arrives in theatres on November 8.