Last Night in Soho gives audiences a chance to see the late Dame Diana Rigg in her final role before her death. Since the movie's slick London setting is a tribute to the 1960s, director Edgar Wright relished the opportunity to work with her. In a roundtable discussion with PopCulture.com and other media before the movie's release, Wright called it a "joy" to work with Rigg, who died in September 2020.
Wright, whose other films include Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, recalled meeting the Game of Thrones star the first time after she read the script. "She just wanted to meet me... and as sort of somebody who'd grown up having a crush on her in The Avengers... sort of meeting Diana and she was completely dressed up," Wright recalled. "She had leopard skin and bangles and she was already! The first thing she said to me was, 'I'm having a Campari and soda. Will you have one too?' And I was like, 'Yes, of course.' So I'm like, how can you say no to that?"
The second thing she told Wright was that she enjoyed the script. "Some people are scared by the dark material, but I'm not," she told him. With a big smile on his face, the filmmaker recalled how funny Rigg was as a person. "So even though it's just terribly sad that she's not with us now and to sort of be here when the movie comes out," he said. "I just choose to be happy and grateful that I got to know her at all."
Last Night in Soho stars Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise "Ellie" Turner, an aspiring fashion designer who loves the 1960s, but soon discovers that the London of 2021 has changed since the Swinging Sixties. She also realizes that the Swinging Sixties she dreamed of wasn't perfect either. Her dreams are filled with visions of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a '60s singer Eloise believes was murdered by Jack (Matt Smith). Rigg stars as Eloise's landlady.
The soundtrack for the film is filled with classic 1960s songs, and the film itself draws influence from the movies of that era as well. While it might seem that Last Night in Soho does draw significantly from '60s horror classics, Wright said he drew more influence from the serious British dramas of the era. "During writing, it was more about watching a lot of social dramas at the time... watching British dramas that were both really great ones and also some of the more sensationalistic, sort of exploitative ones," Wright said. "There was just sort of a grounding in the kind of the time and seeing how certain social issues are tackled and not always, maybe that sensitively."
Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who co-wrote the script with Wright and has an Oscar nomination for her work on 1917, said Wright sent her a stack of DVDs to draw from. However, old newsreel footage was far more inspiring to her. "The thing that I really found most inspiring was the Pathe newsreel footage, Wilson-Cairns explained. "So it's just a car with a camera mounted on it just driving around the streets of Soho. I think that for me, because I'd lived and worked in Soho whilst I was watching that, I was... recognizing places and feeling a familiarity with a decade in a time I had never been. That to me was sort of getting into the core of what Ellie would experience and that... So that was enlightening." Last Night in Soho is now playing in theaters.