SPOILER WARNING: There are some spoilers for Last Night in Soho present later in this rundown. We’ll prompt you when it’s time to turn back, so be warned and be alert!
It’s come out recently that writer/director Edgar Wright wants to pitch a James Bond movie to the folks at EON Productions. That alone isn’t a crazy notion, as any director, especially one who likes the adventures of 007, would be insane not to want their name in contention to helm one of the franchise's blockbusters. However, if you look at Wright’s career, you can see quite a few connections between the Last Night In Soho filmmaker and the world of Bond.
In fact, his latest effort is probably the most rich when it comes to those connections, and this feature has been put together to discuss them all in chronological order. Fair warning, some of the twists and turns of Last Night in Soho will be discussed towards the end, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, just be warned that at a certain point you’ll have to choose either to keep going, or put a pin in the rest of this list.
Timothy Dalton As Simon Skinner (Hot Fuzz)
Edgar Wright’s James Bond fanhood began started showing on screen fairly early. His second film, 2007’s Hot Fuzz, holds two connections to the 007 universe – both in cast and crew. The most obvious, and probably the best remembered, has to be Timothy Dalton’s appearance as price slasher/murderous mastermind for the greater good, Simon Skinner. It's great, but it’s also kind of a shame that Edgar Wright didn’t also use Timothy Dalton for the big Bond cameo in The World’s End, as it could have been a winking nod to one of the actor's unmade James Bond films (we'll get back to that bit in a minute).
Music To A James Bond Fans’ Ears
Of course, when you’ve got an adventure that requires an amazing blend of action and wit, it helps to have a composer like David Arnold on hand. Hot Fuzz doubled down on the Bond-ness of it all by enlisting Arnold to create the score for the action, the man having previously written 007’s music from Tomorrow Never Dies straight through to Quantum of Solace. Strangely enough, that last film happened to debut only a year after Edgar Wright delivered Hot Fuzz to the world.
Rosamund Pike As Sam Chamberlain (The World's End)
While Rosamund Pike played the aptly named Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, her character in The World’s End is a decidedly warmer presence. Playing Sam Chamberlain, the object of affection for both Gary King (Simon Pegg) and Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), Pike helps fend off a robot invasion, and knows her way around a ring road in a time of apocalyptic crisis. Of course, considering the other James Bond cameo in The World’s End, Pike’s heroism is an even greater study in contrast...
Pierce Brosnan As Guy Shepherd
Count two James Bonds in the Edgar Wright universe of films, as Pierce Brosnan’s cameo in The World’s End is another example of a 007 making a heel turn in the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy. The film’s extraterrestrial adversary, known as “The Authority,” opts to use the guise of a kindly school teacher familiar with the gang as its pitch man to bring humanity into its collective. Through Brosnan’s Guy Shepherd, Wright’s underrated sci-fi dramedy gets some vital backstory and the opportunity for a hell of a bar brawl.
Last Night In Soho’s Gigantic Thunderball Poster
We’ve arrived at the main event, as Last Night in Soho’s James Bond connections can now come out to play. Our first is a rather large detail, as Edgar Wright includes a poster for Sean Connery’s 1965 classic Thunderball as the first telltale sign that Elouise (Thomasin McKenzie) isn’t in the 21st century anymore. Fun fact: Wright almost deleted this reference; but thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Jordan Peele’s feedback on the film’s first trailer, the reference stayed.
Be warned: Last Night In Soho spoilers are coming up next, so you may want to click away if you haven't seen the film!
Sandie's Deadly Drink Of Choice
While 007 is more commonly identified with his drink order of a martini “shaken, not stirred,” another cocktail that’s embedded in James Bond lore is “The Vesper.” Named after Vesper Lynd, the love of Bond’s life in Casino Royale, the drink turns out to be the potent concoction of choice for Anya Taylor-Joy's Sandie . Upon her first date with future boyfriend/pimp Jack (Matt Smith), she orders that very drink in Last Night in Soho, raising the eyebrows of many a Bond fan. Could this have been a sneaky hint at her true history in the film's story?
More Music To A James Bond Fans’ Ears
Now this next Last Night in Soho connection is a bit of an easter egg, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. In a soundtrack that’s stacked with Dusty Springfield, Anya Taylor-Joy, and “the best title music for a film that’s [previously] never been made,” Edgar Wright snuck another James Bond connection into the rotation. Legendary 007 composer John Barry’s theme from the 1960 film Beat Girl is included in the amazing list of tunes one can enjoy, albeit briefly.
Terrence Stamp As Lindsay, The Silver Haired Gentleman
Ok James Bond fans, time for a small history lesson in what could have been. Back when Sean Connery left the series, producer Harry Saltzman considered Last Night in Soho’s Terence Stamp as a new 007. However, by Stamp’s own admission, he thinks he scared Saltzman off by proposing he go method, “Japanese makeup” and all, in what sounds like a pitch to adapt You Only Live Twice. Meanwhile, Edgar Wright cast the iconic Terence Stamp as Lindsay, the Silver Haired Gentleman, a.k.a. the ultimate red herring in Last Night In Soho’s central mystery.
Margaret Nolan As Sage Barmaid
Edgar Wright managed to cast not one, but two James Bond women in Last Night in Soho, and both of them play a key part in the mystery of Sandie’s life. The first is the late Margaret Nolan, who’s best known by Bond fans as the gilded Dink in Goldfinger, as well as the gold painted model for the film’s press campaign. Appearing in the montage showing Sandie’s downward spiral into alcohol and prostitution, Nolan’s “Sage Barmaid” is seen shaking her head in upset disapproval. Margaret Nolan is also remembered in the film’s final credits roll with a dedication.
Dame Diana Rigg As Ms. Alexandra Collins
Quite possibly Edgar Wright’s best James Bond connection yet, Last Night in Soho sees the late Dame Diana Rigg playing the twisted older version of Ms. Alexandra “Sandie” Collins. Having her role in 007 history as Tracy Bond, the late wife of George Lazenby’s Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Rigg would go on to make quite a name for herself throughout her career. As Last Night in Soho is Dame Diana’s final role, the film also bears a special dedication to her honor as well at the very end.
Bonus Bond: The Cornetto Trilogy's Bill Nighy
One final connection came to mind when running down Edgar Wright’s connections to James Bond, and it’s a bonus because of its literary origins. While Bill Nighy has never played Bond himself, the 2014 audiobook version of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker sees his voice lent to Bond, Hugo Drax, and everyone else that populated that particular tale. While they haven’t collaborated in the last few years, Wright saw to it that Bill Nighy played a part in each film in the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. Though you’d best remember him as Shaun’s step dad Phillip in Shaun of the Dead, Nighy also appeared as the Met Chief Inspector in Hot Fuzz, and can be heard as the voice of The Authority in The World’s End.
There is a strong argument to be made that Edgar Wright is, pun intended, the Wright fit for the James Bond franchise. With a unique vision that pushes the envelope and adheres to the artistic integrity of source material when applicable (like with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), 007 fans really could have it all. Let’s hope that the filmmaker gets to pitch his idea to Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson when the time is right, as it sounds like that’s the only way the world will learn of what could happen.
However, Edgar Wright fans can do one thing in particular when it comes to imagining what a James Bond movie would look like under his hand. With Last Night in Soho in theaters as we speak, you can see how Wright might tackle a retro-style version of the 007 canon. While this is a story about ghosts, betrayal, and one hell of a bar tab, the period accuracy on display is too good not to let your imagination run away.