Edgar Wright on the Last Night in Soho Scene That Required One Song
Edgar Wright's mixed to well-received 2021 film Last Night in Soho is a story that's a result of bountiful ambition, with a major emphasis on music. Consisting of several dance sequences, vibrant colors, and blaring tunes, the film often used its soundtrack to accommodate the immersive tone. In a new interview with Wright (the film's director) published at Variety, he opened up about certain scenes where music was key.
When discussing the film's specific use of music and being set in a pre-psychedelic era, Wright explained, "In a scene where things start to take the dark turn in the movie, Anya Taylor-Joy is one of many burlesque dancers doing a routine to Sandy Shaw's 'Puppet on a String.' In the scene, Anya Taylor-Joy's character is clearly doing this routine somewhat under duress, and is not happy about it, and has a very painted-on smile."
In the same conversation, the Last Night in Soho creator adds, "The reason I used that particular song is because Sandie Shaw, who was a very successful singer at that point, was doing the Eurovision song contest that year… And Sandie Shaw's manager picked out five songs, one of which was 'Puppet on a String,' which she hated; she thought the lyrics were sexist and misogynistic drivel and didn't want to do it and was sort of forced to do it. Lo and behold hat song got picked by the public to represent Britain, and then it won the Eurovision song contest.
In closing, Wright tells the publication about the parallels between Sandy and Taylor-Joy's disdain with their path, noting, "It was one of the biggest European hits by any female singer in the '60s – a song that she actively hated! And so in, in designing that scene, it has to be [that song] –we have to use that song in that context of Sandie Shaw singing it somewhat under duress, and Anya Taylor-Joy dancing to it under duress. A lot of thought went into the exact deployment of where those things go."
The scene is easily one of the first signs that the film takes a stomach-churning turn, leading down a tragic path for a character that Taylor-Joy makes a (shockingly) beloved role. Last Night in Soho is currently available to rent On Demand, with a home video release in 2022.