Last Christmas on SKY and NOW TV: Paul Feig Interview

Get the festive season rolling with this joyfully festive romcom penned by Emma Thompson and based on the songs of George Michael. Emilia Clarke stars as Kate – a young woman
subscribed to bad decisions. Working as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop is not good when you’re a wannabe singer at heart. However, when Tom walks into the store and into her
life, it seems too good to be true, and he slowly starts knocking down the barriers she puts up. As Christmas finally arrives, can the two make it work? Sometimes, you gotta have faith.

The Version had an exclusive chat with Paul Feig to discuss the film and its success.

Films like Last Christmas highlight a disconnect between critics and audiences. Give us the gist of the audience response to Last Christmas?

I had nothing but positive feedback, the internet is not a place where people are afraid to give their opinion, it has been overwhelming, 99% glowingly positive. We just wanted this movie to make people happy and emotional and put them in the Christmas spirit, and see the world in a loving way. There are just more people who would have seen it if they hadn’t seen the initial blast of negativity from the press.   It will have longevity with home entertainment as well.

How much attention do you pay to critics?

I mean, you know, by the time they’re saying stuff, you’re finished and hopefully you really like your movie, so you’re surprised when a lot like don’t like it, it throws it a bit.  I did wander if the critics would go along with this one, and we did think we might get hit, and then when it happens it bums you out, because you want people to like your movie. You don’t want critics to scare people away from going to see your movie, because they read a bunch of bad reviews.  Some people would be pushed away by the critics, but i’m glad in the UK and a lot of other countries a lot. 

What was it like directing Emma Thompson, given that she wrote the script?

It was great, what’s great about Emma is she’s an amazing writer-producer. She’s such a pro, once she steps in front of the camera, she gives herself over to the director. She doesn’t say ‘don’t tell me that, it should be like this’, she’s an open book, she tries all kinds of different things, she’s a dream.  On top of that the script she wrote is great.

The film is genuinely laugh out loud funny. When you’re directing, how do you remain objective in order to have a balanced view on whether it his going to be funny or not?

You just kind of use all your past expertise and taste to know what tends to be funny, you just go with what you think is going to work.  You never know, you just have to get enough stuff so you have options so if the joke doesn’t work, you have various takes to play with. You make a scene bigger or smaller, you do test screenings and then you play around with the material you have.  You kind of have multiple versions of the movie to play with.

 Last Christmas is a real love letter to London, isn’t it?  Where were your favourite bits to film and why?

 It was so much fun filming in London, I’m such a London junkie, Regent Street and Covent garden.. I couldn’t believe we were filming on Regent St, some people said it would be impossible. We filmed in Piccadilly Circus one night between two and three in the morning, we had full control over it and it was crazy. Just shooting there was so amazing, we shot in a lot of practical places, I was really having the greatest time.

Finally, Last Christmas shows you have a real understanding of what Chrismas is really about, can you tell us a bit about any traditions you have that make it special for you?

 I mean, just my wife and I celebrate, my parents are gone and we don’t have children, so we travel a lot, we go and see friends or else we go somewhere else in Europe, just the two of us, we really want to see places and how they do Christmas. Italy is fun, Munich is gorgeous, we are Christmas fanatics!

Last Christmas streams from Saturday 27 November on NOW TV and SKY TV.

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