The Harry Potter Connection In Last Night In Soho That Had Anya Taylor-Joy And Thomasin McKenzie Starstruck

Edgar Wright’s latest film Last Night in Soho, in addition to being a moody throwback horror exercise, is also a technical marvel, with the filmmaker using multiple filmmaking tricks to pull off a dream-like reality where modern-day fashion student Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) can travel back to 1960s London and begin to piece together an unsolved murder. It makes sense in the moment, trust me. Opposite McKenzie is her London counterpart, Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays an aspiring singer named Sandy who Ellie keeps seeing in this dream state. And in order to convey their connection, Wright relies heavily on mirrors that aren’t really mirrors. 

The first time that Edgar Wright employs this gimmick is a shot seen in the trailer for Last Night in Soho, where Thomasin McKenzie approaches a mirror in a jazz club, but sees Anya Taylor-Joy reflected back. To capture this unique visual, Wright hired identical twins… famous ones, at that. Oliver and James Phelps played Fred and George Weasley for years in Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter franchise. And once McKenzie and Taylor-Joy realized who they were, they went all fan-girl. Wright told the story to CinemaBlend’s official podcast, ReelBlend, explaining:

At the start of the shot, when she walks down, you see a maitre d in a mirror, and then the maitre d is played by Oliver Phelps. And then when he walks in front of the camera, the mirror slides back to reveal Anya. And you see the maitre d on the other side, who is played by James Phelps, his identical twin brother. In fact, the Weasley twins from Harry Potter -- and I was talking to Anya about this… I said to her, ‘The only time I’ve seen you that starstruck was when the Weasley twins were on set, and both you and Thomasin had the same reaction.’ I think they didn’t even know that they had been rehearsing with them for a little bit. And I said, ‘You know who they are, right? They’re the Weasley twins from Harry Potter.’ And both Anya and Thomasin went, ‘Oh. My. God!’

The fact that Edgar Wright hired identical twins to pull off this cinematic illusion blows my mind, but it’s charming to hear that the young stars of Last Night in Soho were more impressed by the presence of Harry Potter royalty when they spent time rehearsing and pulling off this complicated scene. And it’s understandable. For film lovers of a certain age, the Harry Potter franchise IS the root of all movie magic, and the ensemble’s bench is so deep with talent, you are bound to share a scene with SOMEONE who played in a Potter film -- especially if you film in London. 

You can listen to the full Edgar Wright interview on ReelBlend right here. 

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And you can see the filmmaker’s latest effort, the haunting and riveting Last Night in Soho, now that it has made its way to select theaters around the globe. Try it in Dolby, if you have the means. The sound design on the film is particularly stunning.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.