When Last Night In Soho director Edgar Wright submitted his latest film to the Venice Film Festival, he called it “a dark Valentine to Soho.” Elaborating on that, Wright told the Lido press corps this afternoon, “I love London, but there’s a lot to fear about it as well, so you have a conflicted relationship with the city… I’ve spent more time in Soho than I have on any of my couches at home. The story of the film and the film itself were inescapable at some point.”
Thomasin McKenzie stars as Eloisie, an aspiring fashion designer who is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer (Anya Taylor-Joy). But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something darker.
The film is steeped in the 60s and there are indeed dark themes that resonate in contemporary society. While Wright has asked audiences here not to reveal key plot points ahead of the film’s release late next month, he said today the point of the movie is, “It’s dangerous to romanticize the past… Things that are happening now, were happening then.”
Chimed in co-screnwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, “How you experience the 60s now, it’s the fashion, the music, the Swinging 60s. We peeled that back and made those discoveries.”
Wright said he always conceived Last Night In Soho as “a psychological thriller sort of going into horror territory… Shaun Of The Dead is a comedy horror, and I always wanted to build up to something more serious… The best of that genre finds a way to tell a serious story.”
There are lighter moments and 60s fashion and music are prominent throughout. Queen’s Gambit star Taylor-Joy performs a rendition of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” in the film which will be included in a longer version on the soundtrack, it was revealed today. She told journalists, “I always sung for myself, but not quite on a stage staring dead at Matt Smith, so that was quite frightening.”
The film is very highly choreographed with significant mirror work — much of which was done in-camera. Taylor-Joy said she and McKenzie (who is not in Venice), “really took care of each other. It was wonderful having a partner throughout everything — I couldn’t move if she didn’t move.”
Also starring are Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, and the late Diana Rigg. Smith got in a good laugh during the press conference today when asked about working in the 60s setting. “How did the time travel feel? Well, I’ve done it before,” quipped the erstwhile Doctor Who.
Wright recalled the late Rigg saying, “It’s difficult for me extricate the movie from working with her now because the movie was a very emotional experience to conceive and make and now that’s all tied up with the fact that Diana’s not with us anymore. I’m sad I won’t get to have a gossipy lunch with Dame Diana Rigg.”
Last Night In Soho world premieres out of competition in Venice tonight. Focus handles domestic which opens on October 29. Pic begins international rollout slightly earlier.