Last Christmas Is a New Rom-Com Classic
Of course, starting Kate at a low point means she’s the character with the most room to grow. “I felt this was a role I could be free within to bring experiences that I both understood and related to,” Clarke explains. “[Last Christmas has] characters that are both real, flawed, honest, and downright lovable. It was a glorious filming experience for me to be a part of.”
At first, though, Clarke wasn’t fully confident in the role. “When I first met Emma, we were in Covent Garden at 1 a.m. about to turn over on our first scene,” Clarke says. “And I remember saying, ‘Please say if I’m just crap‘ and her laughing not knowing what on earth to do with that. She just gave me a cuddle and stayed by my side. She was always such a powerful force of encouragement, intelligence, and laughter. I will be attempting to keep her near for the rest of my days. She fueled my self-belief.”
To be fair, it’s certainly a departure from her role as Khaleesi on HBO’s fantasy-drama Game of Thrones. Feig remembers having a general meeting with Clarke about three or four years ago at his offices and being unsure about what to expect. But then, “We had so much fun laughing and joking around that when she left, I said to my producing partner, ‘God, I’ve got to get her into comedy. She’s so funny.’”
Feig says when he read the Last Christmas script, Clarke came to mind right away for Kate. “She’s such a great actress that she can really find the depth in this character and do all the emotion and the drama that’s required of it,” he says, “but she can also do all the comedy. It was really fun letting her do the more physical gags and all that because she embraced it and was so good at it.”
Thompson agrees. “Em was a revelation. Her acting, her comedy, her voice, her soul of a clown, her stamina, her generosity of spirit, and her humor made her the ideal coconspirator.”
For Golding, playing opposite Clarke was easy. “We really didn’t have to build any chemistry at all. I think it was there from the get-go,” he says. “Emilia’s wonderful. She is one of the hardest-working ladies in Hollywood, and she’s been so successful because of it. It was a dream to be on set in these hilarious scenes with her. It came really naturally, because we just had an amazing connection.”
Henry Golding is.…well, Henry Golding.
Tom is the mysterious stranger Kate keeps randomly bumping into around London. Not to give everything away, but they build a friendship over time that, naturally, leads to love. It works because Tom gives Kate balance—he brings her into the light when her instinct is to go dark. “I just love that he’s so whimsical and carefree in a sense,” Golding says of the character. “He’s so sprightly. He’s always energetic and charming. He’s just that breath of fresh air.”
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