Edgar Wright and Marcus Rowland on ‘Last Night In Soho’ production design – Deadline

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In his latest collaboration with writer, director and producer Edgar Wright on Last night in SohoProduction designer Marcus Rowland would seek to tap into the glamor and seedy side of London’s West End, both past and present.

Historically, productions featuring period scenes in Soho had chosen not to shoot outdoors in the center of the nightlife itself given the difficulty of functioning in the midst of its hubbub – moving entirely towards other parts of London or other cities, which offered the opportunity to better control the streets. But Wright and Rowland knew from the start that their movie would be shot in Soho proper, if it ever had to be shot.

“We love Soho; we know that incredibly well, ”Rowland notes, in conversation with Wright, in the latest edition of The Process. “So the chance to start exploring it again [was exciting]. “

Last night in Soho is a psychological thriller centered around Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), an aspiring fashion designer who discovers, while studying in central London, that she is mysteriously able to travel through the swinging 60s. In Soho From this period, she meets Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a dazzling aspiring singer whose body she occasionally inhabits, thus realizing a fantasy based on nostalgia. Eloise has just found out, however, that the glamor surrounding her isn’t all it seems to be, as dreams of the past begin to crack and shatter into something much darker.

To meet the challenge of shooting the period film in one of London’s busiest and most inaccessible areas, Wright and Rowland would need to spend a lot of time strategizing and researching with managing director Camilla Stephenson , to determine the real monuments of the city in which they could fit. the movie, what areas they could expand with period clothing and what places they would need to recreate on stage.

Since the hustle and bustle of the crowds in Soho usually doesn’t die out until 3 or 4 a.m., the exterior filming and location scouting that preceded it should be done in the wee hours of the morning. “The only time you could actually see one of the streets and… get a feel for where we might want to turn was at five or six in the morning,” Rowland explains. “It was the only time we could actually see the places we hadn’t really noticed, like the slightly more seedy side of Soho that is still there, and the clubs next door that you wouldn’t notice in the hustle and bustle. from everyone . “

Rowland adds that “a lot of shoe leather” was needed to secure access to the exteriors of the period scenes, with the production designer traveling alongside Wright and Stephenson “from store to store, or corner to corner. “, and asking business owners for permission to change their facades. “Obviously, we haven’t had the streets for that long, so we planned pretty carefully. It was basically a day when we changed almost everything, but [it was] surprisingly easy once we start going, ”he recalls. “And it was funny because a lot of people who have lived in Soho for a long, long time come up to you saying, ‘Oh, I remember that. “”

One of Wright’s favorite sets from Soho– and all of its filmography – was Rowland’s recreation of Café de Paris, the iconic nightclub that is said to have celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2024, but sadly closed permanently amid the Covid-19 pandemic. While the filmmaker had at one point considered shooting in real space, building this key environment as a set gave him and his designer the control they needed to expand it, by making their version “as sumptuous and glamorous as possible”.

“[The final product is] a compliment to you where it’s beyond what’s on your mind, ”Wright told Rowland. “It’s always a good thing because I think your main thing as a director is to try to bring what you have in mind to the screen. So the best feeling is when what’s on the screen is better than it was in your head.

Wright first collaborated with Rowland over 20 years ago on music videos for bands such as The Bluetones, as well as an assortment of commercials, including a ‘weird’ in which a French actress beat up the Nicorette man. The director took note at the outset of a vital skill set on Rowland’s part, namely the ability to mine stellar production value, even on a relatively small budget. “It’s always the thing that really impressed me [with], with you, “says Wright,” is that you’re a big believer in making sure all the money is on the screen, or that your pound or your dollar is really stretched. “

Wright and Rowland would then collaborate on the Channel 4 sitcom space, before teaming up for beloved films including Shaun of the Dead, Warm down, Scott Pilgrim vs the world, the end of the world, Baby Driver and Soho, among other exec produced by the first. Wright says that over the years Rowland has become one of his closest and most trusted associates, contributing to every one of his productions to the extent that calling him a “production designer” seems like a “too much description”. small “.

“When we work together you’re usually the first person I talk to because we talk about the production as a whole, and it’s not something that can always be specific to your role in the credits. everything… when I do movies with you, even after the fact, ”Wright says.“ Like on that last movie, Last night in Soho, we were doing VFX for a long time after, and I would always invite you and my brother to any session, because I just wanted to know what you think—[even though] your work on the film is long overdue.

“I think the inclusion in the process is the best part of it. Ultimately, in its most basic form obviously, you design the sets and the look of that. But it’s still a matter of how it’s filmed. It’s always about how it’s interpreted. So I much prefer to be involved in the whole process, ”Rowland adds. “It seems like the most comfortable fit, and it’s a good thing to work with you. We have a very collaborative crossover, which I think is unusual, but is great and beneficial for all of us, but also makes you feel a lot more invested in the project.

Last night in Soho premiered at the Venice Film Festival and hit theaters on October 29. The Focus Features track co-written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns also stars Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Rita Tushingham, Michael Ajao, Synnøve Karlsen, Sam Claflin, the late Diana Rigg and the late Margaret Nolan. Wright was joined in the production of the film by Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Laura Richardson.

In today’s episode of The Process which focuses on the design of Last night in Soho, Wright and Rowland also delve into the ‘magic tricks’ behind the film’s mirror effects, as well as the latter’s ‘absolutely crazy’ early work in music videos, and his ‘baptism by fire’ on the BBC. The comic presents. Wright speaks for his part at Baby Driver memories and why “walking into something afraid is always a good feeling”.

Check out the full conversation above.


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