Edgar Wright Responds to Stephen King’s ‘Last Night in Soho’ Tweet: “I Am Truly Humbled”
Angelenos weathered a cold and blustery Monday as temperatures dipped into the 50s and rain fell across the southland, conditions that seemed rather fitting for a premiere of a film set in London. And it did not go unnoticed.
Standing on stage inside the Academy Museum’s David Geffen Theater just before 8 p.m., Focus Features ’ Peter Kujawski jumped at the chance to connect gray skies to Edgar Wright ’s Last Night in Soho . “I hope you guys noticed that we spared absolutely no expense in importing the London weather for everyone today for the full authenticity of the experience,” quipped the chairman, “and thank you for coming out in spite of that and for being here to celebrate this incredible film.”
Kujawski welcomed Wright to the stage and he wasted no time in admitting that he hoped on landing a similar joke, but, out of options, he turned attention toward gratitude for being the first movie premiere to be held inside the Academy’s jewel of a theater. “It’s such a privilege,” he said, though he was quick to say it’s a privilege to have any screening whatsoever now. “It’s so great to be in a room together watching not just this film but any film. We all have to count ourselves very lucky that we get to do this.”
Wright took time to count his own blessings by paying tribute to his partners at Focus, Universal, Film4, Working Title and Complete Fiction for allowing him to cut his own path in the industry by making “original movies.” He added: “I don’t take any of these things for granted at all and the chance to make original movies and be seen around the world means so much.”
Taking in the sights Monday evening were producers Nira Park, Eric Fellner, Leonora “Leo” Thompson, sound editor Julian Slater, Universal chairman Donna Langley, Focus vice chairman Jason Cassidy, Universal president Abhijay Prakash, and guests Annette Bening, Taika Waititi, Clifton Collins Jr., Darren Criss, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Beck, Adriana Lima and the Sparks duo Ron and Russell Mael.
Last Night in Soho is a psychological thriller starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie in the story of a young fashion student (McKenzie) who moves to London to follow her dreams only to end up plagued by nightmares when she winds up embodying an aspiring singer named Sandie (Taylor-Joy) in the 1960s. The film opens this weekend after being pushed back several times amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Wright acknowledged what an “emotional journey” it has been to get to this point; a moment worth celebrating, but not without pause in that one of the stars of the film, Diana Rigg , passed away last September at age 82.
“This is her final role,” Wright noted. “We’re terribly sad that she’s not here to celebrate with us but I have to just choose to be happy that we got to know and work with her at all and so, I really hope you enjoy her in the movie and after the movie we can raise a vesper in her honor and celebrate the great Diana Rigg.”
There was much to celebrate. On the red carpet prior to the screening, both Wright and his co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns ( 1917 ) were giddy about a tweet from horror maestro Stephen King that he posted less than 24 hours before. “I got an advance look at Last Night in Soho ,” he shared with his 6.5 million followers, “and plan to see it again when it opens on Friday. I hardly ever re-watch — there’s so many good things out there — but this one is special. Time travel with a twist.”
Wright told THR that he was not only floored by the compliment but also by the pledge for repeat business during a time when theaters still need all the help they can get. “I honestly don’t think I would’ve really come up with this film if I hadn’t read his books when I was at a very impressionable age, like 13, 14,” Wright continued. “Aside from even the horror elements, he also always had a lot of references to music within his books, and that was something that really stuck with me.”
Same for Wilson-Cairns. “I grew up loving Stephen King. Edgar sent me that tweet and I sent it straight to my mom and it was about 3 a.m. in the UK and she phoned me up, screaming. I’m such a huge fan of Stephen King and to have praise and feedback like that from him is an absolute dream come true.”
She was already pinching herself about working with her close friend. “Working with Edgar is such a joy,” continued Wilson-Cairns. “He’s an incredible collaborator who is also a very good friend. Every day was like going to work with a buddy, talking about films and music, and trying to create something new, different and original. He’s such a great director and I respect him so much. It was a privilege to be in the same room with him.”
Wright no doubt hopes moviegoers share multiplexes this weekend and he’s not just hoping all the tickets purchased are for his film. He told THR that after landing in L.A. a few days ago, he snuck away for a double feature, seeing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Malignant . “That was a good afternoon,” he said. “It should be all hands-on deck. As soon as they opened in the UK, I was there. Same when I arrived here. Anything that does well is good for the business. I really want cinema to survive, and I really want exhibitors to still be there in a year. The important thing is going back to the theaters, and that’s something I want to be able to do for myself, as a customer.”