Emma Thompson Personally Convinced Paul Feig To Direct Last Christmas

Emma Thompson in Last Christmas

Director Paul Feig has had a long career in TV and film, having entertained audiences for decades. And he's back in theaters this holiday season with Last Christmas. The holiday romantic comedy stars the talents of Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, although Feig did have to fight for the latter actor to get into the movie. And it turns out that he was convinced by Emma Thompson herself to direct the project.

Emma Thompson actually wrote the screenplay for Last Christmas, in addition to playing Emilia Clarke's mother Adelia. I had the chance to speak with Paul Feig ahead of the upcoming movie's release, where he revealed how he got involved. Simply, because Thompson asked him. When I asked why he decided to helm a Christmas movie he told me:

Well, because Emma Thompson sent it to me, and it was so good. I made a Christmas movie 13 years ago called Unaccompanied Minors, and it didn’t do well at the theater. I was happy with it, but it did not do well. It kind of put me in movie jail for a few years. So I was definitely not looking to do another Christmas movie at all. But out of the blue Emma sent me this script.

Well, that was easy. It turns out all that it took was the great Emma Thompson's request to convince Paul Feig to make his second Christmas movie, more than a decade after his last one.

Emma Thompson and her husband came up with the idea for Last Christmas, and she eventually signed on to-write the screenplay with Bryony Kimmings. It took a whopping eight years for Thompson and her husband to write the original story, even meeting with the late George Michael about it before his death. And when the time finally came to find a director, Thompson personally sent Paul Feig the script.

And it does make sense that Paul Feig would agree to helm the project, given the talent behind Last Christmas. There's a strong cast involved, notably Game of Thrones fan favorite Emilia Clarke as protagonist Kate. Crazy Rich Asians' Henry Golding plays leading man Tom, and they're joined by the likes of Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson, with a quick cameo by Patti Lupone.

Related: How Last Christmas Director Paul Feig Incorporated So Many George Michael Songs

In our conversation, Paul Feig mentioned his 2006 movie Unaccompanied Minors. This was Feig's second time directing a movie, and the family-friendly comedy failed to really perform when it hit theaters. Based off a true story, the movie follows kids in an airport on the Christmas, and the adults who try to wrangle them. The movie starred Wilmer Valderrama, and was a box office bomb, making $21.9 million on a $26 million budget. Feig mentions that put him in "movie jail", but luckily he was able to get out and craft some really fresh and exciting projects.

Last Christmas is in theaters now, and you can read my review here. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies. Plus, our 2020 premiere list to plan your movies for the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.