Actor and singer Michael Longoria said he hopes to “reclaim the story” told in “Last Christmas,” the 1984 holiday classic by British pop duo Wham!, with an inclusive new cover version.
HuffPost got a first look at the music video for Longoria’s “Last Christmas,” released Friday and viewable above. In it, the singer canoodles with a handsome love interest (played by Dario Nolfi) at home and in the festively decorated streets of New York.
Best known for his performances in Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” and “Hairspray,” Longoria told HuffPost that he had long envisioned George Michael, who was one-half of Wham! before embarking on a solo career, singing “Last Christmas” to another man. Though Michael later came out as gay, the original video for the song depicts the pop superstar exchanging glances with a woman.
“I get that in 1984, when the original music video was released, George Michael making eyes at a hot guy wouldn’t have sold records. That hurts my heart,” Longoria said. Michael, who died in 2016, may have had to present “a safer, more acceptable version of himself” to make the song a hit three decades ago, he added, noting, “I wanted to reclaim the story of ‘Last Christmas’ that I had always imagined as a young boy and make a new music video from a gay lover’s perspective.”
Though Longoria is openly gay, he admitted to having some concerns about filming the video at first. “I found myself worrying about being ‘too gay’ in front of passers-by,” he said. “Dario told me, ‘They need to see this.’ He was right.”
Longoria continued, “Even though I know hate exists all around me, I can’t let it inform the expression of who I am. Our daily expressions of love with our significant others deserve to be seen in the light.”
“Last Christmas” appears on his new holiday album, “Merry Christmas Darling,” which also features songs made famous by Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande and Britney Spears. Released on Nov. 9, “Merry Christmas Darling” is very much a personal project for Longoria, who met his now-husband, Taylor, at a Christmas party in 2008. The two married last December in Mexico.
Longoria’s relationship inspired “Merry Me This Christmas,” an original track he co-wrote with Rona Siddiqui. He gave his first TV performance of the song on the Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” on Friday morning.
“The heart, the universe or whatever you want to call it brought us together at that Christmas party,” Longoria told HuffPost in November. “It’s all written in that song.”