“Last Christmas” is based on the famous Wham! holiday song, but the film has a decided twist that has audiences buzzing.
Clarke plays Kate, a woman who is having a bit of a rough time and who is a heart transplant patient. She meets Golding’s character Tom, who takes her on a tour of the city and implores her to “Look up” as a way of getting away from distractions and really being present in life.
Livingstone told THR he came up with the idea for the film when faced with the challenge of introducing something new into the already well-worn trope of holiday films.
“I thought the biggest thing I can think of is [the song] ‘Last Christmas,'” he said. “That’s the one thing that happens every Christmas, particularly in the UK. [George Michael’s] our Stevie Wonder, really, where you just go, ‘Oh, my god, Christmas has arrived. It’s ‘Last Christmas.'”
George Michael was one half of the duo Wham! and sings the song “Last Christmas” which he also wrote.
Livingstone said he had approached Michael about working together on the project and the singer wanted Emma Thompson to write the script.
It all was put on hold, Livingstone said, after Michael’s death in 2016 and Thompson’s busy schedule. But it all came together after Livingstone and Thompson ran into each other at an awards ceremony.
“We were both backstage and I said, ‘We should really do something, Emma. And she said, ‘Let’s do Last Christmas. Let’s make it happen,'” he said. “So we did. She wrote the beautiful script.”
Audiences learn at the end that Golding’s Tom actually died and was the heart donor who saved Clarke’s Kate.
It’s a literal interpretation of the song’s line “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.”
Director Paul Feig told THR the ending helped hook him.
“I like when movies surprise you and things are unexpected but in very emotional ways — something that affects you so deeply and connects you even more to the characters and makes their journey become even more clear,” he said.
Feig also talked to Vulture about wanting to go beyond just a typical “girl meets boy” film.
“None of us ever — I know I definitely didn’t want to, and Emma [Thompson] didn’t want to, and Emilia didn’t either — want to make a movie about, you know, a woman being saved by a man,” he said.