From the cast to the title, through its major influences, here are eight things to know about “Last Night in Soho”, the seventh feature film directed by Edgar Wright which also marks his return to horror.
Three months after his documentary The Sparks Brothers, Edgar Wright is already back in our theaters. And that’s in part because of the Covid-19, which postponed the release of Last Night in Soho, its seventh feature film, which also marks its return to horror for a year. In a less humorous register than that of Shaun of the Dead.
Led by Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit) and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Lady’s Game), Last Night in Soho follows Eloise as she leaves her native countryside to study fashion in London. And manages, every night, to go back in time to explore the 60s. Even if the dream turns little by little into a nightmare.
Between casting, influences, tributes and happy coincidences, here are eight things you should know about the fascinating opus of Edgar Wright, which does not fall into the trap of nostalgia and uses its device to evoke the place of women in society and the way men look at it.
Last Night in Soho borrows its title from the namesake song by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, published in 1968. And he does not hide it, since we hear it in the end credits. In an interview given to Total Film, the director revealed that it was largely thanks to Quentin Tarantino that his film was called so.
“In Boulevard de la Mort, he uses their song ‘Hold Tight'”, explains the English filmmaker. “I told him about the song, and about the band, and he asked me if I knew ‘Last Night in Soho’. He then played it to me, telling me that it was the best music for him. ‘had never been used in a movie before. So I started to compose a playlist called’ Soho ‘with some 300 songs from the 60s, but I never thought about the title of the movie. “
“Then for a long time it was called ‘Red Light Area’ [titre originel de la chanson, ndlr], but there was a Red Lights with Cillian Murphy. I then thought of ‘The Night Has a Thousand Eyes’, and I discovered while watching on IMBD that a film was already called so (…) But the solution was in front of my eyes, because I had already listened to the song, and I thought it was great: ‘Last Night in Soho’ “
Hence the title of the film … and the presence of Quentin Tarantino, to whom he asked permission to take up his idea, in the acknowledgments.
The seventh feature film directed by Edgar Wright, Last Night in Soho is the first worn by a female character (two, in this case, those of Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy). Does this have to do with the fact that this is also the first screenplay he co-wrote with a screenwriter, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who had worked on the 1917 script and will assist Taika Waititi on that of his Star Wars? ? Or is it to help her develop her heroines and the point about the way men look at women that he called on her?
Like a plane without her
While she was hired to star in Top Gun: Maverick, opposite Tom Cruise and Miles Teller, Thomasin Mckenzie left the project to be able to headline Last Night in Soho, along withAnya Taylor-Joy. The two actresses also have in common to have for M. Night Shyamalan: in Old for the first, Split and Glass for the second.
One sings, the other does not
From the first trailer, Last Night in Soho showed us the character played by Anya Taylor-Joy covering “Downtown” by Petula Clark. A few months later, while we were discussing his documentary with him The Sparks Brothers, Edgar Wright confirmed to us that it was indeed the actress who pushed the song and that the scene would be in the film. What a video came to remind us, in the light of the exit.
By sad coincidence, the two James Bond Girls that we find in the cast of Last Night in Soho are also the two actresses to whom the film is dedicated: mentioned at the beginning, Diana Rigg indeed died on September 10, 2020, at moment when the feature film should have originally been released, had the pandemic not stepped in.
Margaret Nolan left us a few days later, on October 5, 2020. A tribute is paid to her in the end credits.
Travel, travel (in time)
If there’s one regular on time travel on the big and small screen, it’s Matt Smith. Before Last Night in Soho, the English actor was (very) briefly seen in Terminator Genisys, but he was mostly the hero of Doctor Who for three seasons, between 2010 and 2013. One of his episodes, “The Nightmare scarlet “(S07E11) sent her to Yorkshire in the Victorian era, and one of the guests was none other than… Diana Rigg.
As often with Edgar Wright, several films and music inspired Last Night in Soho. But the director cites two feature films as major influences: Repulsion by Roman Polanski with Catherine Deneuve, traces of which can be found in some shots, the neurotic aspect of the story and the question of men’s gaze on women.
And Don’t Look Back by Nicolas Roeg, who can be recognized in his use of visions and how the past becomes an obsession. Without Last Night in Soho resembling a compilation of giallo (horror sub-genre from Italy and of which Dario Argento was one of the kings), because it manages to find its own identity.
From Hogwarts to Soho
After David Bradley, Bill Nighy or Jim Broadbent, passed to varying degrees by his Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The Last pub before the end of the world), Edgar Wright offers himself two other actors of the Harry Potter saga: James and Oliver Phelps, alias Fred and George Weasley.
The twins only make a brief appearance, on Eloise’s (Thomasin McKenzie) first time trip, and you might feel like you’re only seeing one. Edgar Wright actually used them for one of the story’s many, many mirror effects.