Anya Taylor-Joy stars in Edgar Wright’s new “Last Night in Soho,” but it wasn’t the first time they could have worked together. “I had read the ‘Baby Driver’ script’ and auditioned for it,” Taylor-Joy told me Monday at the “Last Night in Soho” premiere at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. “I was a really really big fan of his.”
“I do remember that,” Wright said. “But I’m glad we did this instead.”
Wright first approached Taylor-Joy about “Last Night in Soho” roughly six years ago, shortly after seeing her breakout performance in Robert Eggers’ Sundance hit “The Witch.” “He was a judge at Sundance and I was really starstruck,” Taylor-Joy said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my god, Edgar Wright wants to talk to me!’ …I don’t think he was planning on telling me what the story was about but we got along so well, he was like, ‘So, this is what the movie is.’
Wright said, “I didn’t have a script. I only had the story but I thought, ‘She should be the lead in my “Soho” movie.’ I met her for coffee in Los Angeles and I told her the entire plot of the movie. She was like, ‘I want to be a part of that.’”
Wright initially thought Taylor-Joy should play Eloise, but that part eventually went to “Jojo Rabbit” star Thomasin McKenzie. Taylor-Joy plays Sandee, an aspiring 1960s singer in London who Eloise sees in her dreams.
“Over the years, I started to sound like the boy who cried wolf whenever I’d run into Anya,” Wright said, laughing. “And when I started writing it and I’d seen a lot of her other movies, I started to think she might be right for Sandee. When I finally sent her the script, she luckily agreed.”
Taylor-Joy gushed, “I love the fact that Edgar is so into music because it makes such a difference to be able to hear what the scene is going to sound like, it has an entirely different energy to it. Plus, he’s just an encyclopedia of every movie music reference you have ever thought of. He has a wealth of knowledge.”
Wright co-wrote the script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, whose feature film writing debut “1917” earned her an Oscar nomination. “I don’t feel any pressure,” Wilson-Cairns insisted. “I just sort of take each one as it goes. I had so much fun making this film. I’m so proud of it. I think I judge every film I make by, would I watch it hungover on a Sunday and enjoy myself? I can assure you, I would watch this on a Sunday and enjoy myself. If you try and emulate your last one or think too much about it, you would just be paralyzed.”
“Last Night in Soho” was the first premiere to be held at the Academy Museum. New Zealand native McKenzie has finally been able to return to red carpets since the pandemic. Sadly, she was unable to go on promotional tours for her released drama, Jane Campion’s “Power of the Dog.” “I had to miss out on a lot of things because I was unable to attend a lot of the festivals so that’s why I am so excited to finally be here and reunited with everybody,” McKenzie said.
Following the screen, Wright and his cast headed to a party upstairs from the theater that included sketches of the film’s costumes on display as well as speciality cocktails, including Vesper martinis with gin, vodka, lillet blanc and a lemon twist.