Last Christmas director Paul Feig has revealed that Emilia Clarke almost didn’t sing the Wham hit.
As teased in the trailer, Clarke sings the perennial classic in the festive rom-com that was inspired by the song of the same name. But Feig was worried about using it and he had a very different idea.
“At first, we weren’t even sure what she should sing. At one point, I was even going to have her singing ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade, which I love,” he told Digital Spy.
“And everybody goes, ‘But that doesn’t quite make sense’. But I kept going, ‘Can she sing ‘Last Christmas’?’ I was worried that maybe it was going to be too on the nose to have her do it. But then it kind of just felt right.”
The solution was Feig thinking about doing a “fun version” of ‘Last Christmas’ and asked composter Teddy Shapiro to come up with a “Ronettes kind of version”. “We took a couple of cracks at it, and it ended up in the movie,” he continued.
“We were actually going to shoot an alternate song. We were actually going to shoot ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ too. We pre-recorded that, also, and we just ran out of time on the day.”
‘Last Christmas’ isn’t the only Wham or George Michael song in the movie and the blend of story and his songs developed during production, with moments in the script where it would “be a nice place to just hear a little George”.
“I consider it a ‘soundtrack of your life’ movie, I’d say. Because, again, if you have a favourite artist and they’re songs that mean something to you,” Feig explained.
“For all of us in our lives, certain things trigger memories of that song or you hear the song and it triggers a memory of something that you were doing at the time. I just wanted that all going in there.”
As for any George Michael hits that Feig couldn’t fit in there, there’s “definitely a few”.
“You walk the line between wanting to put in the hits that everybody knows, like ‘Careless Whisper’ and those things, versus, ‘Well, that’s been in a lot of movies, so we don’t necessarily need it’,” he continued.
“So yeah, there is several that we weren’t able to get in that I kind of wish we could have. But we got a bunch.”
Last Christmas is in US cinemas now and is released in UK cinemas on November 15.
Digital Spy is launching a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.