“Last Christmas” director raves about “Game Of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke: “I could not believe how funny she is!”
“Bridal Alarm” director Paul Feig will be releasing a Christmas movie “Last Christmas” starring “Game Of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke, inspired by the music and life of Wham! Singer George Michael. Our interview:
Just in time for the release of the German trailer of “Last Christmas”, we talked to director Paul Feig (“Brautalarm”, “Just a small favor”), who is currently in London, the film’s location and location. Feig has revealed to us how the Christmas movie written by Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Best Screenplay for “Sense and Sensibility”), which, as the title suggests, is inspired by the musical work of Wham! Singer George Michael, is different from other films In contrast to the comedic talent of “Game Of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke, and why the images of his cameraman John Schwartzman remind him of the films of Stanley Kubrick.
Christmas movie, which, as the title may already suggest, is inspired by the musical work of Wham! Singer George Michael
A Christmas movie for adults
FILMSTARTS: “Last Christmas” is just your second Christmas movie since “O je, du Fröhliche!” In 2006. Why did you decide to return to this genre now?
Paul Feig: That’s what I ask myself every day … (laughs) You know, I think I know why. It’s just a great script that happens to be a Christmas movie. The characters have spoken to me so much and the world that you realize rather casually “Oh yeah, it’s a Christmas movie!” But that was definitely not what excited me. I did not sit and thought “I really have to make another Christmas movie”.
It’s just a great script that happens to be a Christmas movie.
But then that became essential, we realized that the Christmas aesthetics make the movie a lot more special, it fits the story, which is about healing and reparation. The discovery of family love and self-love. It all goes very well with the Christmas theme, this time of the year is just so much about such ideas … and besides, I just knew right away how pretty I can make the movie look, because what could be nicer than London at Christmas time?
But that was then essential, we have noticed that the Christmas aesthetics makes the movie a lot more special, it fits the story
FILMSTARTS: You are known for “bridal alarm” and “arrested development”, especially for comedy directed at adults. Will “Last Christmas” be a family movie in the first place or can we expect a bit more dirty jokes?
Paul Feig: He’s lying somewhere in the middle I would say. He is definitely family fit, there is nothing in it that is really offensive. But he still has a bit of edge. My other Christmas movie was clearly a children’s movie. I think this one is okay for the whole family, but it’s more for adults, I’d say.
I think this one is okay for the whole family, but it’s more for adults, I’d say.
Comedy-Star Emilia Clarke?
FILM STARTS: Emilia Clarke is known to most from “Game Of Thrones” and “Star Wars.” How did you know that she also has talent for comedy? Did you take the project with her in mind?
Paul Feig: I met her three or four years ago as part of a meeting at my company, just because I have the opportunity to invite people I like and see what they are like. I could not believe how funny she was in this meeting. So humorous and cheerful and she had that really bright energy and when she left, I thought, “God, I have to find a movie for her, I just have to cast her in a comedy.”
“God, I have to find a movie for her, I just have to cast her in a comedy”
And then, as I read the script, it soon became clear to me, “Oh, that’s just the movie I can do with Emilia,” because not only would she be great in the role, but she could also add another layer to it at the same time , It is a challenging role because the character is a bit wild, especially at the beginning. It would be absolutely delicious to see Emilia, I thought to myself. It really came to my mind very quickly after reading the script.
It is a challenging role because the character is a bit wild, especially at the beginning.
FILMSTARTS: Emilia Clarke has publicly talked about having had a near-death experience herself while shooting “Game Of Thrones”. Has that affected how her character behaves in the film?
Paul Feig: No. When I occupied Emilia, I did not know that she had experienced this situation. So no, but it may be natural that she has incorporated this personal experience into the role. But that has always been part of the story.
The new Cary Grant
FILMSTARTS: You’ve already worked with [the lead actor] Henry Golding. What does he specifically use in such a project?
Paul Feig: For me he is Cary Grant! He is like a movie star to me from the old days. He just has such a positive mind and brings a light-footed touch and of course he is also very handsome on the screen, he is also very funny and working with him is wonderful. When we did “Just a little favor” we had a lot of fun together, so I could not wait to work with him again. We have a good time together, we have become really friends and hang around a lot. It’s always nice to make a movie with people you like.
He is like a movie star to me from the old days.
FILMSTARTS: He’s already worked with Michelle Yeoh on Crazy Rich. Did you consciously occupy it to bring the two back together? Do you often interact with each other in the film?
Paul Feig: No, not at all. It was not a conscious decision to bring the two back together. I’ve always been a fan of Michelle. When I shot “Just a Little Pleasure” with Henry in Toronto, “Crazy Rich” was just fresh in the box and she happened to be in Toronto to shoot “Star Trek”. He took me to dinner with her and I was so excited to meet her. We became good friends pretty fast. And when I read the script and how the role was described, I immediately thought, “That’s Michelle!” She and I talked about making a movie together for a while, so that was perfect. Only later did I realize that I had half the cast of “Crazy Rich” with me.
FILMSTARTS: Do you know how Emma Thompson decided to make a movie about the music of George Michael?
Paul Feig: Yes, it was brought to her by another producer eight years ago. It was a very vague idea, but she jumped for it. She knew George and talked to him about it. He was thrilled with the idea and wanted to make sure that one element of the movie was dealing with the homeless, because the topic was very important to him. He knew about the project, which makes me feel good. [Emma Thompson] took this idea and developed it, then the author Bryony Kimmings came along and wrote a script draft, then Emma has again made a revision … The two have been working on it for about eight years. It was only brought to me when the script was finished.
She knew George and talked to him about it.
FILMSTARTS: How exactly is the music built into the film? Were you familiar with George Michaels entire discography?
Paul Feig: Well, I know her now. The film is based on his music and there were allusions to it in the script, so “here we could play one of Georges songs”. But nothing specific, but then I was extremely busy with his music – I knew all his hits, with Wham! and “Faith” and “Freedom” and all that, but beyond that, I did not have that intimate knowledge of the depth of his work. It was a crazy discovery that I was allowed to do while preparing for the filming. I’ve heard more and more music and noticed “Hey, I can use a lot of that in the film in a way that underlines the story!” In a way that underlines the characters and their situation.
I knew all his hits, with Wham! and “Faith” and “Freedom” and all that, but beyond that, I did not have that intimate knowledge of the depth of his work.
When I heard the song “Heal the Pain”, which I’ve never heard before, I realized that it’s how he describes the story of this movie, that we’ve put the song into the script so characters interact with it and put it on even sing a job. It kind of kept growing as we progressed with production. George Michael was [Emilia Clarke’s character Kate’s] favorite singer and she wants to be a singer, during the production everything is merging into the post-production phase. […] We now have around 15 songs in the movie.
When I heard the song “Heal the Pain”, which I’ve never heard before, I realized that it’s how he describes the story of this movie, that we put the song into the script
We now have about 15 songs in the movie.
Love Story with Mystery Twist?
FILMSTARTS: The trailer has been very well received on the net and it is already speculated that maybe not everything is as it seems and possibly even a supernatural element comes into play. Can you give something away?
Paul Feig: All I can say is that the movie has tons of surprises in store. The thing about trailers is that people always think they’ve seen through everything from the trailer. What I can say is that they definitely have not seen through everything. There is a lot to discover in this film. But everything remains very conciliatory and hopeful.
The movie has tons of surprises in store. The thing about trailers is that people always think they’ve seen through everything from the trailer. What I can say is that they definitely have not seen through everything.
FILMSTARTS: You often referred to the film in interviews as “Rom Com Plus” and earlier mentioned the homeless element. Which stories are hidden in the film besides the romance?
Paul Feig: We are just experiencing a part in the lives of these characters in London and Henry’s character is volunteering at a homeless shelter and seeing the homeless. And Emilia is drawn into this world through him. We also spend a lot of time with her family, an immigrant family from Eastern Europe. They came to London to escape the war and find it difficult to cope there. Strangers in a foreign country, if you like.
This story of a family that has been damaged in some way and needs repairing … it picks up on different topics and all about getting to the heart of the problems that one person, Emilia Clarke’s character, has and explains how her life is so out of joint and why she is in this stage where we get to know her. She stands pretty close to herself when we get to know her.
it’s all about getting to the heart of the problems that one person has, Emilia Clarke’s character, and explaining how her life is so out of joint
FILMSTARTS: Her mother is played by Emma Thompson herself. What can you tell me about her character?
Paul Feig: Emma plays the mother of this family, she is a very challenging person, she is a very strict mother, she is not diplomatic at all. She insults her children and her husband. The whole family is in danger of falling apart because of this mother, who is struggling with her own problems. By contrast, the fact that she is an immigrant and how her life went is in contrast to how she imagined her life.
Originally Emma should not appear in the movie. She should only be on the set with me every day because I wanted to have her as a writer. But it soon became clear to me that I had one of the greatest actresses of all time sitting on the set with me, so why should not I include her in the movie? I said to her, “Emma, you should be the one who plays the mother in the movie.” And she said “I do not know if I should” and I said “I’m not making a movie [with you] you just sit next to me and not play in it. “She did a great job because she is very funny in the role, but also very touching, because she looks so real. The [test] audience has literally eaten her out of hand!
Originally Emma should not appear in the movie.
The [test] audience has literally eaten her out of hand!
FILMSTARTS: You said in interviews that the film was a love letter to London. How exactly does that express? What role does the city play and what exactly do you love about it?
Paul Feig: I have always had a great relationship with London. My maternal family is British. I came here at 13 on a vacation trip and just fell in love. I’ve always been a fan of British comedy. I immediately felt a connection. When I met my wife 30 years ago, she often worked in London, so we both came here a lot and met friends here. The way I dress [is very British]. I am known to wear three-piece suits. [London] is a place where you can walk around in a three-piece suit and nobody thinks that’s funny. I like the look of the city and its history.
The movie is just great to watch. My cameraman John Schwartzman has done a fantastic job. Much of it was filmed with the light that was there. We have some scenes that were lit only with the little Christmas decoration. Since no studio light was used. This adds an almost cubic glow to the pictures.
We have some scenes that were lit only with the little Christmas decoration. Since no studio light was used. This adds an almost cubic glow to the pictures.
Paul Feig: I like to play with different genres. If you look at my films, you realize that they are all in different genres. The goal I set myself for my career is to try out all genres. One of my favorite filmmakers is Howard Hawks, who has effortlessly switched from a screwball comedy to a gangster movie to a western. As a filmmaker, that’s just more interesting for me GOMOVIES.
The goal I set myself for my career is to try out all genres.
I do not want to repeat myself. It’s fun to explore the tropics of different genres and play around with them, bringing in new energy or a new way of looking at it. My next movie, which I’m writing right now, is going to be really different than this one. I think that’s also because I worked for a long time as a TV director and if you work as a TV director, you do a medical series on one day, a family series the next, and then a crazy comedy. .I just like that, it makes my life as a storyteller more interesting.
I do not want to repeat myself.
if you’re a TV director, you’re doing a medical series one day, a family series the next, and then a crazy comedy … I just like that
“Last Christmas” starts on 14 November 2019 in German cinemas.