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The Specific Influence Stephen King Had On Edgar Wright As He Wrote Baby Driver And Last Night In Soho

Edgar Wright has dabbled in horror off and on over the course of his career, starting with Shaun of the Dead and weaving through elements of The World’s End and his contributions to the Grindhouse experiment. His latest effort, Last Night in Soho, embraces a supernatural ghost vibe that was prevalent in the 1960s and 70s (a period the director deeply appreciates), so when other horror experts chime in with their adoration of the film, Wright pays attention. Especially when one of those raves comes from novelist Stephen King, an author who has had a profound impact on Wright as a storyteller from his teenage years onward.

Stephen King Tweeted a rave for Last Night in Soho on the day that the director and his co-writer. Krysty Wilson-Cairns, joined the ReelBlend podcast to hash out the movie. Naturally, we asked him what King’s praise for the movie meant to him, and he explained that Last Night in Soho, and Baby Driver, probably wouldn’t exist -- or work as well as they do -- if not for King and his methods. Wright specifically explained to ReelBlend: 

I probably wouldn’t have conceived of this film without being a fan of his books. And it’s interesting in thinking about it, because as a young horror fan, I guess I started reading Stephen King books when I was 13 or 14. But there’s so much more that I’ve learned from him than just about horror. Even to the point, which has some relevance to Baby Driver and Last Night in Soho, Stephen King’s habit of writing lyrics into a chapter, or starting a chapter with Rolling Stones lyrics. And just this idea of putting needle drops in novels -- that was something that had a big impact on me. Obviously you see it in the films of Martin Scorsese and John Landis. But seeing it in a novel really stuck with me because then when you write a screenplay and you do a similar thing, you think, ‘Well this is like (Stephen King).’

Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns went on to confess that they weaved stage directions into the Last Night in Soho script that feel very much like they are written in Stephen King’s signature voice. Wright describes it almost like beat poetry, with a staccato delivery that King’s readers would certainly recognize. There’s a moment in the script where they describe the changing of the neon lights outside of Thomasin McKenzie’s London apartment: Blue, white, red. Blue, white, red. Red, red, red. 

Back to the Tweet praise. Wright was rightfully moved by it, but he took it one step further when he stated: 

So the fact that, number one, he liked the movie. But B, maybe more importantly, that he’s going to go and see it again this weekend, as a paying customer, is amazing.

You need to hear the full conversation with Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, because they both get into the inherent sadness that exists in some of the best Stephen King stories, particularly The Shining, and how that impacted their approach to Last Night in Soho. The interview is part of our latest ReelBlend episode, which you can hear right now:

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We will have plenty more from Last Night in Soho on CinemaBlend in the coming days and weeks. The movie is available exclusively in theaters as we speak, so go check it out.

Sean O'Connell

Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.