Last Christmas writer and star Emma Thompson has revealed that George Michael gave her his blessing to pen the upcoming film.
The new festive rom-com, which is set to arrive in cinemas on November 15, centres around the music of late artist Michael and stars Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke. Its official trailer was unveiled back in August.
Thompson, who worked on the movie’s screenplay and portrays the character Adelia, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night (October 28) to discuss the release.
“This wonderful producer, David Livingstone, said, ‘Do you want to write a screenplay, a rom-com sort of thing, because we need a new Christmas movie based on ‘Last Christmas,’ and I said, ‘Not really, because it’s not my favourite Christmas song,’” Thompson explained.
You can watch the clip below.
However, she went on to say that she and her husband Greg Wise later began devising Last Christmas‘ plot and that they found “an interesting, sideways way of telling a different kind of story about the human heart.”
Thompson explained that she then sent a “good treatment” to Michael himself and later met up with the star to discuss getting the project off the ground.
“He was just the loveliest guy you could imagine,” she recalled of their meeting. “[He loved] all of these themes in the movie; he was passionate about homelessness, and he had this great social conscience.”
Thompson continued: “I got really enthused and we started to write, and then – of course – he had that tragic early death in 2016, on Christmas Day. So we lost him, and I miss him so much.
“I wish he was here because I know he’d love it, because the film’s like being hugged, and all of his music — we’ve got 15 of his songs, including a new one at the end — is so cool. ‘Heal the Pain,’ which is my favourite of his songs, it’s like it was written for the movie. He said that.”
Along with director Paul Feig, Thompson worked closely with the Michael estate on the use of his songs in Last Christmas.