Last Christmas Trailer

Another thing that’s looming over this movie is, of course, George Michael. But is there a reason that Kate has such an affection for George Michael songs in the context of the movie, aside from the quirky premise of it being structured around George Michael and Wham songs?

The original script was inspired by the song “Last Christmas,” that was the idea for the movie. [Producer] David Livingstone years ago, had said, “Maybe you should do a movie about “Last Christmas.” So by the time it was written — Emma had written in there, a few places where it’d be nice to hear some George. But that was kind of it. But at the same time, when I was coming on board, his estate was reaching out to us because we had to get the rights to the song and they were aware of it. One of the first things they did is say, “We want you guys to come out to London and see the George Michael documentary that aired on BBC.” But there was a two-hour long version, a theatrical version that was never seen. So we came out saw that. And watching that I was just like, this has to be the sound for the movie. Because I’m always doing that with my movies — like the French songs in A Simple Favor — something that unifies the movies musically. And seeing George’s story, what he’d been through, hearing his music — a lot of which I hadn’t heard before, not the big hits but the deeper tracks — that made me think, “This is sound for the movie.” The movie’s based on their music anyway.

So we found the song “Heal the Pain,” and that’s the one where I thought, George’s songs are speaking to these characters and telling the stories of the characters. And I said, this has to be the song for the skating scene. Everyone thinks it’s going to be a romantic song, but actually I like that it’s a kind of dark song about running out of time. And, we find out that there were songs that had never been released before and they were going to give us the rights to use one of them. The song that we used at the end of the movie was so perfect. And so, when we went into production, we had songs hardwired in there. [At the beginning, it was the joke of] a girl who was singing a hymn in church and then it just became a George Michael song. So it just grew and then by the time we got the post, we already had five or six songs hardwired in, but then it’s like, well, let’s keep it going because certain songs belong there. But it grew very organically.

Did you hope that “Last Christmas” would achieve through this movie the same Christmas notoriety as “All I Want For Christmas” did with Love, Actually?

Yeah, you always hope that what you put in a movie has a second life. It was so funny after Bridesmaids, the Wilson Phillips song had this resurgence. You know, that just means that you’ve done something that struck a chord with people. I’m in London a lot over the course of my life, and especially the last 30 years with my wife because we’re both Anglophiles. If you’re ever in London, anytime around Christmas, all you ever hear is “Last Christmas.” I think it’s the most-heard Christmas song there, at least. So from my point of view, it’s already a song that’s as famous as “All I Want For Christmas.” But now, it’ll go beyond Britain, I hope. I hope it takes off, I love that song. It’s very evocative, it takes you right to a scene.

For your past few movies you’ve played with different genres for each — for this one, specifically the rom-com and the holiday movie. What do you find appealing about the rom-com, and what do you think of the genre’s resurgence lately?

I love a great rom-com. I’m friends with Nancy Myers and she would say to me, “Nobody is not interested in how somebody else fell in love.” But, you know, there was a spate of them for a long time that I felt weren’t as much fun. They got very formulaic. My favorite rom-coms are like Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday. One of my favorite movies of all time is a movie called What’s Up Doc which is with Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand. There’s a big muscular chase scene and crash in it, but it’s a romantic comedy that at the end of the day is about two people falling in love. When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, I love those movies when they’re great. And I am very happy that they’re coming back, I just hope they don’t end up becoming formulaic like they did with genre sort of petered out for a while. But that’s the great thing about genres: they come on strong, you fall in love with them, only for them to peter out. But then they come back.

Speaking of genres, what other genres are you hoping to tackle in the future?

I’m dying to do a musical. I just did a musical with our show Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, airing this Sunday.

And you’ve got Dark Army coming up so you’ll be doing a little spin on classic movie monsters as well.

[I wanted to tell a story] about a monster, and about creatures or misunderstood creatures. It all goes back to Freaks and Geeks for me. That’s a monster story, just about burnouts and nerds who are considered monsters. They’re the weirdos and outsiders. Any stories about outsiders I love, and so the monster genre to me is just an extension of that. But I’m very excited about doing that. Hopefully that will be one of my next couple of films. I’m in the middle of a rewrite on it right now. I wrote my original draft that I was very happy about, but now we’re being very hard on it.

But yeah, that’s a genre I’d like to do. I’d love to make a sci-fi epic, I’d love to do a western. Sky’s the limit, I just love genres.

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Last Christmas is available for purchase on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital now.

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