Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ adolescent experiences both influenced their film Last Night in Soho — including one very embarrassing encounter involving a Kinks record and writer-director Wright’s high school crush.
The psychological horror movie, which stars Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, is very much a product of both screenwriters’ love of London’s Soho neighborhood and the 1960s. But one specific moment that influenced Last Night in Soho, Wilson-Cairns said, is when a 16-year-old Wright went to a party at the home of a girl he had a crush on. Hoping to impress her, he put on a Kinks record. Then someone loudly asked — to Wright’s humiliation — “Who the fuck plays this granny shit?”
For Wilson-Cairns’ part, she infused parts of her own identity into McKenzie’s character Eloise, a young woman who moves to London with dreams of finding success in fashion design.
Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Wilson-Cairns remembers her film school experience being similar to Eloise’s experience at a fashion school in the film. Wilson-Cairns studied at both the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the National Film and Television School in Buckinghamshire, England — and she also used to work at The Toucan, the bar in Soho where Eloise gets a job in the movie.
Wilson-Cairns and Wright also both have loved ones with strong memories of the ’60s — a time period that figures prominently in the movie. And like Wilson-Cairns, Wright also came to London as an outsider, having come from small towns in southwestern England.
The screenwriting duo first met and decided to co-write the script of Last Night in Soho five years ago when the U.K. was in the midst of Brexit.
“In 2016, when I was editing Baby Driver, Sam Mendes introduced me to Krysty in terms of like, you guys should meet, because you’d become fast friends. And he was totally right,” Wright said. Wilson-Cairns was co-writing Mendes’ WWI epic 1917 at the time.
Wilson-Cairns remembers well the first night she and Wright met for dinner because it was the night the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
“I loved Europe. I voted ‘Remain.’ And so did Edgar. We all voted Remain because we’re not idiots, ” she laughed. “So we ended up meeting and being just overwhelmed with sadness. So we had this first meeting, and then we drowned our sorrows a little bit. And the bar we actually drank in was opposite my old apartment, which was above a strip club in Soho. And I said to Edgar, ‘Oh, I lived above here for five years.’ And he was like, ‘I’ve got this idea about this young girl that moves to Soho. Can I tell you about it?’ So I’m glad we went to the Dean Street Townhouse to have a drink.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Last Night in Soho is now playing in theaters in the U.S.
Main Image: Thomasin McKenzie and Terence Stamp on the set of Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. Photo Credit: Greg Willams.