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After Old And Last Night In Soho, Thomasin McKenzie Reflects On Her Bloody And Sweaty Year In Horror Movies

Thomasin McKenzie is very much a star on the rise, having earned raves for her performances in Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace and Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit in the last few years – but 2021 has been a particularly standout period for her in the horror genre. This past summer she had a central role in M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, and just in time for Halloween this weekend movie-fans will be able to see her in Edgar Wright’s Last Night In Soho. Reflecting on these projects, the New Zealand-born actor feels that her experiences making them weren’t all that different than her time making dramas… though there certainly was more sweating and fake blood in the mix.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Thomasin McKenzie this past week during the virtual press day for Last Night In Soho, and I opened the conversation asking about her year in horror. As noted, she didn’t wholly suggest that making the films was vastly dissimilar than the work on other non-genre productions, but she did highlight some key differences:

I think my takeaways are that there's a lot of sweating in horror films. There's a lot of running. You're sticky a lot of the time with fake blood. I don't know. I guess it's like, to be honest, to me it's not particularly different from a drama set, I suppose – apart from there's just a lot more fake blood.

It would border on spoilers to reveal too much about Last Night In Soho, but yes, there is definitely a whole lot bloodletting in the narrative.

Based on an original screenplay by Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Last Night In Soho sees Thomasin McKenzie play Eloise, a young woman who begins the story excited to pursue her dreams of becoming a fashion designer after being accepted to a school in London – specifically the Soho district of the city. After a personality clash with her roommate leads her to seek off-campus housing, she finds a nice little room for rent, but at night she begins to have vivid dreams that seemingly take her back to the 1960s and let her see life through the eyes of a young singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy).

As Eloise winds up being very much haunted by what she uncovers in her dreams, there are a great number of scenes in Last Night In Soho where she is utterly terrified – and those aren’t sequences that are terribly easy for performers, as they require a lot of emotional and physical energy. Thomasin McKenzie added that she definitely felt the effects over the course of the production, but added that there was a great comradery among the cast and crew that kept everybody going. She added,

You're working long hours. We did three weeks of night shoots. There was a lot of sprinting away from scary figures. It could be exhausting, but the whole team was in it together. Everyone was on the same schedule, and we were all kind of bolstering each other up and motivate each other to keep on going.

Given the final result, the effort was certainly more than worth it, as Last Night In Soho is a fantastic film and a great treat for the spooky season. Also starring Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, and Terence Stamp, the movie arrives in theaters this Friday – and as for Old, you can now get it via digital purchase or on Blu-ray and DVD. To see everything else from the feature world that’s set to arrive before the end of the year, check out our 2021 Release Schedule.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.