Edgar Wright on Last Night in Soho and the darker side of the swinging 60s

Asia's Tech News Daily

Perhaps the best way to describe the experience of watching Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho is to say that it really does feel like spending a boozy evening in the titular London district.

That’s meant as a compliment, but also a warning. This is a film that wants you to feel intoxicated by its relentless energy, one that bludgeons you with neon and nostalgia until you find yourself stumbling out of the theater as if you’d spent the last two hours not in a red recliner, but a Carnaby Street nightclub.

It’s this same dizzying energy that attracts Thomasin McKenzie’s Eloise, a gifted but naive fashion student with dreams of becoming a designer, to the British capital in Wright’s latest feature. Soon after arriving, though, she begins to encounter visions of a mysterious young performer, Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy), whose own tainted dreams reveal the city in a far more sinister light.

Ahead of Last Night in Soho’s release on October 29, TechRadar sat down with its director to talk inspirations, creative responsibility and the dangers of excessive nostalgia.

  • These are the biggest new movies coming to theatres in 2021

“The point of the movie is about perception versus reality,” Wright tells us over Zoom. “It’s powered by the idea that going back to the 60s will solve everything, because everything was great then and nothing was bad – when in truth, there wasn’t a decade like that. It’s about the danger of romanticizing the past.”

Wright is referring to the central premise of Last Night in Soho, which finds its young protagonist whimsically imagining (or so we think) the life of a promising stage star in London’s Soho during the swinging 60s. Taylor-Joy’s Sandy embodies all that McKenzie’s Eloise admires about the era – confidence, style, beauty – until the city’s seedy underbelly begins to betray a much darker reality.

‘The good old days’

Admittedly, a psychological thriller set 60 years ago might seem a left-field choice for a director whose previous movies have concerned zombies, aliens and bank robbers, but Last Night in Soho instead marks something of a passion project for Wright.

“I’d had the idea for at least a decade before we started, and it was really a feeling brought on by two things,” he says. “One is an obsession with the 60s that started with my parents’ record collection. In the days before the internet, and even having a TV in my room, I was obsessed with these records, and when you’re not born in that decade, you have to piece together its legacy from the culture left behind.”

(Image credit: Focus Features / Universal Pictures)

“Then beyond that,” Wright adds, “I have become very nostalgic for a time that I did not live in, and often have fantasies about travelling back to that decade. But when that fantasy is occupying a lot of your waking moments, you have to wonder whether you have a problem. That whole idea of ‘the good old days’ – what does that actually mean?”

This intrigue into an alluring but unfamiliar era would go on to provide the moral dilemma at the heart of Last Night in Soho – its tug-of-war between fact and fiction. Wright himself admits that the real-life accounts of women like Sandy affected his rose-tinted impression of the 60s and London as a city.

The point of the movie is about perception versus reality”

Edgar Wright

“While I was making The World’s End and Baby Driver, I hired a researcher who studied elements of the story through literature, film and TV,” he says. “But we wanted to get a more authentic impression through testimonials from people who lived in this world. And, you know, [we learned] some incredibly sobering, harrowing stuff that we didn’t necessarily put in the movie, but it validated where the story was going.”

“All of the darkest stories you can imagine have already happened. Some of those we know about, while some of those have already gone to the grave. It was just fascinating and disturbing to get into, because Soho is one of those places where legends loom large, so getting to the heart of that reality was fascinating.”

Sex and the city

Without wishing to give away too much, Matt Smith’s Jack proves an antagonist of sorts in Last Night in Soho, a smooth talker who sells Sandy – and the onlooking Eloise – a hollow dream of fame and fortune. His character is one who perhaps best symbolizes the deceptive charm of London in the movie: a city which, like all others, hides dirty secrets beneath a shiny façade.

(Image credit: Focus Features / Universal Pictures)

“Other people have said [this movie is] a love letter to London,” Wright tells us. “But I would call it a dark valentine. With any big city, you have a complicated relationship with it. I love London, but of course it can also be a terrible place. You can’t unreservedly love somewhere. Even Soho itself, it’s a fun place to go, but you’d have to recommend it to a tourist with words of caution.”

“So, in a way, this is me processing [my] feelings about the city: good and bad. Most of my films have contained similar elements – Hot Fuzz was a love letter to a certain place, but a damning indictment at the same time.”

That complicated relationship with the city makes Last Night in Soho one of the more reflective films in Wright’s often satirical body of work. “It’s more autobiographical than people realize,” he reveals. “I went to art college. I came from Somerset to London. Even the idea of Eloise being obsessed with her grandmother’s record collection is me being autobiographical.”

Naturally, then, the naivety of the movie’s protagonist mirrors, in part, Wright’s own as a young man. “Coming to the big city for the first time, it’s incredibly scary if you don’t know anybody, if you don’t have money or connections,” he explains. “One of the things I find heartbreaking in the movie is seeing how confident and secure in herself Eloise is before she comes to London, and I was like that when I went to art college.”

(Image credit: Focus Features / Universal Pictures)

“I was the king of my domain back in Somerset, and then you go to a different city and everybody seems cooler, everybody seems so much more mature and advanced. And some people never get on track with a big city, they just can’t find a way to deal with it. A lot of people have had that experience.”

Bringing it home

But beyond the doom and gloom of Last Night in Soho’s horror-driven premise, Wright remains grateful to have been given the opportunity to bring yet another original project to the big screen – an experience he hopes is the aspiration of all filmmakers.

“I feel like it’s my duty – a director’s duty – to make an original film if you’ve got the opportunity to do so,” he admits. “There are a lot of rehashes and reboots [out there] and, you know, I watch a lot of them, but there’s a point where I kind of think, ‘am I going to just repeat my childhood for the rest of my life? I don’t need to see 10 versions of this.’”

I feel like it’s my duty – a director’s duty – to make an original film if you’ve got the opportunity to do so

Edgar Wright

The originality of Last Night in Soho wasn’t its only appeal, though – it also marks Wright’s first film for almost a decade to be set in his home country. “After Baby Driver, I had the opportunity to make this movie, and I wanted to do it precisely because it was something completely different for me,” he says. “I wanted to bring some of the things that I did in Baby Driver back home in a different location.”

But as you’d expect, transposing the frenetic energy of a heist movie into one of the busiest social districts in the world was no easy task. “Most people don’t shoot in Soho for a reason, it’s not somewhere that you can ever fully control,” Wright chuckles, “so what we were attempting to do on location was really ambitious – everywhere that it’s shot is actually where it is.”

(Image credit: Focus Features / Universal Pictures)

That authenticity of place adds a real depth to the experience of watching Last Night in Soho. For a film about the intimidating scale of a big city, its creaky apartments, sticky pubs and narrow mews make for a surprisingly claustrophobic London, one that won’t appear unfamiliar to those who regularly walk its rain-soaked cobbles.

“One of the real things driving me to make the movie was the idea of shooting in Soho itself,” Wright says. “And, to be honest, if [the studio] had said we can’t shoot in Soho, I probably wouldn’t have made it.”

A final bow

Getting to tell this story in this location evidently proved a special experience for the director – but he reveals one last privilege for which he remains immensely grateful.

Filming on Last Night in Soho wrapped just weeks before the passing of the late Dame Diana Rigg, who stars in the movie as Eloise’s landlady, Miss Collins. To speak further on her role would risk spoiling the plot, but Wright is keen to sing the praises of Rigg’s peerless talent and calming influence.

(Image credit: Focus Features / Universal Pictures)

“I mean, what a joy,” he says of the Game of Thrones and James Bond alumni. “I could be sad about her no longer being with us, or I could just choose to be happy and feel grateful that I got to work with her at all. All of my memories of Diana are like happy family memories. Even the last time I saw her, essentially on her deathbed, she was so funny, so sharp, she had me howling with laughter. That’s the Diana I remember.”

“She was magnetic and hypnotic,” Wright concludes, “and working with her was one of the proudest moments in my career.”

Last Night in Soho, then, is far from just a stylish horror-thriller about the city of London – it’s the final bow of a beloved actor who built her century-hopping career on its most famous stages. McKenzie, Taylor-Joy and Smith are all equally brilliant in Wright’s latest picture, but it’s Rigg’s enduring ability to surprise that will make it worth the ticket price.

Last Night in Soho lands in theaters globally on October 29

  • These are the new horror movies coming to theaters in 2021
Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


How to turn civilians into citizen developers

These days, the demand for business applications – apps that can speed business processes, improve productivity, and reduce cost – far exceeds the ability for IT to deliver. Which explains ... Read more »

What kind of low-code apps should citizen developers build?

“I love time-consuming, manual tasks,” said no employee ever. Why? Because they drain employee productivity and morale. When you’re in a war for talent, it’s more important than ever to ... Read more »

Take 25% off stylish gifts at Abercrombie today—and save even more on kids

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. If you’ve been looking for stylish gifts with price tags that ... Read more »

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 12GB is here, but does it matter?

After months of rumors and a whole graphics card generation since it first came out, there’s a new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 on the block, and this time it has ... Read more »

Amazon Web Services outage impacts Google, Venmo, DoorDash, Spotify, multiple banks

Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage Tuesday, the company said, limiting service at many key and popular sites. The company provides cloud computing services to many governments, universities and ... Read more »

Eurobank to sell 80% of merchant acquiring unit to Worldline

Eurobank, one of Greece’s four largest lenders, said on Tuesday it entered into a binding agreement to sell 80% of its merchant acquiring business to French payments firm Worldline in ... Read more »

The 10 best places to buy artificial Christmas trees online

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. The downsides to getting a real Christmas tree are that you’ll ... Read more »

Disney+, Netflix, Slack among services impacted by Amazon Web Services outage

“We have identified the root cause and are actively working towards recovery,” said an update on Amazon Web Services’ status page. Read more »

Amazon down - live updates: Web services outage hits Disney+ and Venmo

Amazon Web Services, the shopping giant’s internet infrastructure arm, is experiencing technical issues that are echoing across much of the rest of the internet. A variety of websites and services ... Read more »

AC Milan vs Liverpool live stream: how to watch Champions League from anywhere

Jurgen Klopp’s in-form Reds travel to Italy this evening, looking to build upon a run that has seen them notch up five straight wins in the tournament. Follow our guide ... Read more »

Mrs Brown's Boys voted best UK sitcom, beating The Office, Peter Kay's Car Share, and The IT Crowd

Grace Dent may have called Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special “the worst comedy ever made” but that hasn’t affected the UK public’s love for the show. In a new poll ... Read more »

Rohingya refugees sue Facebook for $150B, alleging platform spread hate speech, violence

LONDON (AP) — Rohingya refugees sued Facebook parent Meta Platforms for more than $150 billion over what they say was the company’s failure to stop hateful posts that incited violence ... Read more »

Amazon not loading? Can't hook up on Tinder? The internet has failed you again. Here's what to do

Having trouble streaming Disney+? Amazon or its products like Alexa or Ring security cameras? Tinder? Venmo? What’s up with your Roomba? Websites and applications that use Amazon Web Services were ... Read more »

NASA unveils new weapon in the war on asteroids: An Earth-loving algorithm

It’s been 66 million long years since an asteroid erased the dinosaurs — and astronomers are getting antsy. In the last few months, they’ve warned that space rocks as big ... Read more »

Real Madrid vs Inter Milan live stream: how to watch Champions League from anywhere

These two European giants clash for what looks set to be a tasty Champions League encounter this evening at the Santiago Bernabéu. Follow our guide as we explain how to ... Read more »

Australia vs England live stream: how to watch free Ashes 1st Test cricket from anywhere

The scorecards are blank and the whites pristine, but there’s already the sense that both Australia and England are playing catch-up as the 2021-22 Ashes commences today. The tourists have ... Read more »

Google Meet arms hosts with tools to silence disruptive attendees

Keeping your meetings on track in Google Meet is about to get a whole lot easier as Google has added the ability to lock audio and video in its video ... Read more »

UK bets on hydrogen for net-zero aviation, but will its plan work?

As part of UK’s initiative, the (ATI) unveiled on Monday a concept aircraft with ambitions as high as the skies  it’s gonna fly to. It’s a midsize commercial plane, able ... Read more »

Apple poised to become first $3 trillion company

Apple Store in Beijing, China Apple is poised to become the world’s first $3 trillion (£2.3 trillion) company as it emerged that a secret deal with China had helped fuel ... Read more »

A year of COVID vaccines: how the UK pinned its hopes on the jab – and why those hopes are under threat

A year ago, Margaret Keenan made history. On December 8 2020, she became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine outside of a clinical trial. Ninety-year-old ... Read more »

AWS is down - and taken huge parts of the internet with it

UPDATE: 12:30 ET / 16:00 GMT – DownDetector notes that outage reports are falling across the board, with some websites such as Facebook and Disney Plus almost back to normal. ... Read more »

Apple's all-new AirPods Pro are in stock and on sale for $189.99 at Amazon

AirPods deals are always a hit during the holidays, and we’ve spotted Apple’s all-new AirPods Pro in stock and on sale for $189.99 (was $249) at Amazon. That’s a $59 ... Read more »

How AI Will Transform the Housing-Market Consumer Experience

You likely use artificial intelligence without even realizing it. For example, when you Google something, the search engine is being powered by AI, and when you scroll through a social ... Read more »

Rohingya Refugees Sue Meta For $150 Billion Over Extremism On Facebook

Rohingya refugee groups in Burma have sued Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:FB) for $150 billion on Monday, arguing it has not done enough on the Facebook platform to tackle hate speech ... Read more »

How to choose that your WhatsApp messages only last 24 hours, 7 days or 3 months

Temporary messages were incorporated into WhatsApp chats to give users more control and security over what they share on the social network. Since they started, they had the option of ... Read more »

3 Impacts of AI in the Machine Translation Industry

Throughout history, communication has been a crucial component of all aspects of human endeavor. From business and diplomacy to technology in more recent times, the ability to express and understand ... Read more »

Best antivirus software for protecting your connected devices

Our guide can help you decide which provider will best suit your device, budget, and user needs (iStock/The Independent) In this day and age, most people spend a considerable amount ... Read more »

Samsung merges mobile and consumer divisons in latest restructuring

Samsung has announced an internal reorganization that sees the South Korean giant merging its smartphone division into its consumer electronics business. The new SET division will sit alongside a seperate ... Read more »

TCL displays its foldable and rollable concept smartphone prototype at DTC 2021

TCL has introduced its concept design of a rollable and foldable smartphone during the DTC 2021 technology Congress that was held in China. Android Authority reports that the prototype of ... Read more »

Instagram pushes drug content to teens

Research group alleges the company does so despite promises to crack down. Read more »

8 best robot vacuum cleaners that clean your floors and carpets effortlessly

Our top picks boast nifty features like room mapping, automatic dirt disposal and even voice control (iStock/The Independent ) Whether you love them or loathe them, household chores are a ... Read more »

Amazon services down for thousands of users: Downdetector.com

There were 14,000 incidents of people reporting issues with services such as Prime Video and e-commerce. NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Amazon.com’s services including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Prime Video and ... Read more »

Dwayne Johnson wants Black Adam to fight a specific DC superhero – and it isn't Shazam

Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson has revealed which DCEU superhero he wants his anti-hero to fight – and it isn’t the character’s arch nemesis Shazam. In an interview with Total ... Read more »

This Victrola turntable promises to make playing vinyl a walk in the park

Getting into vinyl can seem like a daunting prospect for newbie record enthusiasts – but the latest record player from Victrola could make it easier than ever. The new Victrola ... Read more »

Amazon's infectious new sci-fi thriller, Encounter, will get under your skin

Michael Pearce’s Encounter, which arrives on Prime Video December 10, is a tricky film to describe. So genre-bending is its premise that the director himself has a hard time nailing ... Read more »

This Glossier gift set includes bestselling skincare and makeup—and it's bound to sell out

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Every year, your favorite beauty brands release limited edition products to ... Read more »

Siri is yet to regain crucial accessibility features that disappeared with iOS 15

Apple is still yet to reinstate functionality which was removed in iOS 15, where Siri could perform various tasks such as checking and playing voicemails. The commands in question are ... Read more »

Scientists find ‘stealth' version of Omicron not identifiable with PCR test

Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images Researchers fear new Covid variant could spread unnoticed because rough means of flagging up cases does not work Scientists have identified a “stealth” version of the ... Read more »

Cheap TV deal: Samsung's 65-inch 4K TV drops to a stunningly low price of $498

If you’re on the hunt for holiday TV deals, then you’re in luck. We’ve just spotted this stunning Samsung 65-inch Crystal 4K TV on sale for just $498 (was $648) ... Read more »

Firefox 95 wants to keep itself safe from code security flaws

The latest version of Mozilla Firefox is including a welcome security upgrade that the company hopes can keep its browser safe from code-based attacks. Available now, the desktop and mobile ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic