Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace) stars alongside Golden Globe winner Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit) in director Edgar Wright’s remarkable psychological thriller Last Night in Soho, now playing in theaters. The Baby Driver helmer also co-wrote the screenplay along with 1917 Oscar-nominated scribe Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
“Eloise (McKenzie), an aspiring fashion designer, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer, Sandie (Taylor-Joy),” reads the official synopsis for the film. “But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something far darker.”
ComingSoon’s Senior Movie & TV Editor Kylie Hemmert spoke with McKenzie about playing Eloise in the film, the relationship between her character and Taylor-Joy’s Sandie, and more.
Kylie Hemmert: I have to say that you were mesmerizing as Eloise in the film, and I was wondering, what did you love most about playing this character?
Thomasin McKenzie: I think there are lots of things that I really loved. Like I loved being blonde. I loved all the costumes. I really, really enjoyed, though, the more physical side of the role, like the dancing and the stunts as well. I’d never done a role that was so physically demanding before. So it really was a huge challenge, but also very like — I felt very proud seeing the finished product. And obviously, I was helped; [Varpu Kronholm], my stunt double, and the stunt coordinator, and the editing and everything. But it’s just amazing to see it come together.
What was your initial reaction when you first heard about the project or read the script?
When I first read the script, it was so long ago. I read the script in I think the end of 2018 [laughs] so it’s hard to kind of like go back and remember my first reaction, but I think it was excitement at potentially — I auditioned for it, I went through that whole process and had a few conversations with Edgar. But just to even be able to have a chance to work with Edgar, to be in consideration for it, was really exciting to me ’cause he’s a director that I really admired. I love his body of work, and I really was curious to see what it would be like working on an Edgar Wright set ’cause I imagined it would be very different to working from anything else.
And I was right. I think this film was the most complicated film I’ve ever worked on. There was just so, so much to take into account, so many layers. I think kind of like how similar Ellie’s journey from a small town to a big city, how similar that journey was to my journey coming from New Zealand to the more international film industry, just to kind of explore that and reflect on my own journey, I suppose, and kind of integrate my own experiences into what Ellie was going through. But again, it’s such a complex script that there were so many things I was excited about experiencing.
And how do you think Eloise’s dreams about the past and of Sandie specifically inspired her in her daily life? Like, what was it about Sandie in that time period, in the ’60s, that drew her in so much at first, before it became this bigger, darker mystery?
You know, Sandie and Ellie are two very different people. I think Ellie, you know, you can tell in the film that she was going through some real mental health struggles and had a tough past; she’d lost her mom. So, Sandie to her was such a magical figure, and someone she could aspire to be like, someone who could walk into a room filled with confidence and filled with, I don’t know, the belief that they are worthy and the belief that they have talent. I think Ellie doesn’t believe in herself, necessarily. She had a lot of self-doubt, so to see someone who had that was amazing. When things started to spiral for Ellie was when she saw Sandie falling apart and wanting to preserve that, you know, amazingly confident and talented woman she first became enamored by.
RELATED: Edgar Wright Talks Inspirations Behind Psychological Thriller Last Night in Soho