Edgar Wright cast Anya Taylor-Joy in Last Night in Soho before it was written

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright (left) and Krysty Wilson-Cairns on the set of Last Night in Soho.

Parisa Taghizadeh

This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

Edgar Wright made a number of films that I absolutely adore, like Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz, The Sparks Brothers and, my favorite of his, The World’s End. Wright’s latest film is Last Night in Soho, which stars Matt Smith, Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie. I went into the film without knowing anything about it, having not even seen the trailer. I was rewarded with a fresh, engrossing story that melds elements of nostalgia, psychological thrillers, horror films and ’60s music films. It’s a beautiful tale about the dangers of living in the past, told through Wright’s precise hypnotic visuals.

Perhaps the most apt description of the film comes from the writer/producer Larry Karaszewski, who described Last Night in Soho as a “musical/slasher remix” of Ingmar Bergman’s Persona and the Roman Polanski film Repulsion.

Last Night in Soho is a masterpiece. It reminds me of when Paul Thomas Anderson made There Will Be Blood, a high-water mark at that point in Thomas’ career. Last Night in Soho is Wright’s high-water mark. He spent over a decade developing the story and brought on Oscar-nominated screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns to help him pen the screenplay. She co-wrote the Sam Mendes film 1917.

Fortunately for me, both Wright and Wilson-Cairns were my guests on CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast. Wright explained casting Taylor-Joy even before the screenplay was written.

“I talked to Anya about the plot of the movie before I even met Krysty. I had seen The Witch at Sundance in 2015. And even though we hadn’t written a word of the screenplay yet, I said she should be the lead of my Soho movie,” said Wright.

Wilson-Cairns said that the first time she met with Wright was for drinks at a bar in Soho. It was opposite a strip club that she used to live above. That meeting and details from Wilson-Cairns’ life as a “Soho person” would become integral to the film.

During my interview, Wright and Wilson-Cairns explained their process, the joy of working, the importance of Soho and the joy of working with the legendary Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp. Wright explained his friendship with filmmaker George Miller, who made the Mad Max films and Happy Feet but was also a physician earlier in his life. He showed Miller Last Night in Soho just before London locked down for the pandemic.

“George approaches movies in an analytical way. He’s the best person to show a movie,” said Wright. “I had this strange experience of sharing my movie with him, and going to a restaurant afterwards. And it was in those days just before the shutdown where people were already staying away from restaurants. We went to this empty restaurant and I was talking to another director, about my movie, but also with a real doctor about the pandemic.”

It was during their conversation at the restaurant that Wright suggested Miller cast Taylor-Joy in his upcoming film Furiosa, the origin story for Charlize Theron’s character in Mad Max: Fury Road.

You can listen to my interview with Wright and Wilson-Cairns in the podcast player at the top of this article. Subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.

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