Actor Michael Ajao welcomed at premiere for the London Film Festival

When Michael Ajao was welcomed onto stage for the premiere of Last Night in Soho at the London Film Festival, director

Edgar Wright introduced him as Stockwell’s finest, writes Adam Davidson.

Lost in the moment and unaware of the lurking photographers he threw up a salute to the crowd.

He had hit the big stage – but you can’t take the South London out of the boy.

Last Night in Soho tells the story of Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie), who dreams of becoming a fashion designer and is accepted into London College of Fashion.

Shortly after moving to London, Ellie begins to have unusual dreams of a young wannabe singer Sandie (Anya Taylor Joy) around Soho in the Swinging Sixties.

These visions of the past start off innocent but take a dark and unexpected turn.

Mr Ajao stars as John, a fellow classmate of Ellie’s who sympathises with her after she is bullied by her other classmates.

He describes his character as naive and the closest character to the audience.

Just like them he is taking things in for the first time and sharing similar emotions of uncertainty.

Mr Wright, was also the executive producer on Attack the Block – a film that Michael starred in when he was just 10.

Thomasin McKenzie stars as Eloise and Michael Ajao as John in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh /© 2021 Focus Features, LLC

On the acclaimed director, Mr Ajao said: “Edgar truly is a national treasure. He is someone that lives and breathes film.

“It’s such a big privilege to be able to work with someone like Edgar and I know that from now he will hopefully get the accolades he deserves and be alive to hear it as well.”

Even though Mr Ajaol’s character John is set in the 21st century, Mr Wright still wanted the actor to be clued up on the 1960s society and culture that drives the movie.

Mr Ajao said: “He sent me a massive dropbox with over 200-300 films which were within his mind when creating Last Night in Soho.

“He then sent me documentaries about the history of Soho so you could see this in the creative process with the research behind every single thing, everything is thought about.”

The movie boasts a star-studded cast which includes, Matt Smith and Terence Stamp.

Also starring is the late Diana Rigg, in what would be her last film.

“She died in 2020. Michael talked about how it was a privilege to work with the 1960s icon, not just from a professional standpoint but from a personal one as well.”

He said: “She would be like ‘that was really good, well done!’ And ‘you’re in good hands you’re going to be a star.’

“You know all these things and those affirmations that she would give me that were priceless that I didn’t ask for and I’m sure all the cast and the crew can all say that.

“She was always bringing chocolates for them and goodie bags. Yeah, just a joy to be around honestly.”

Mr Ajao found the experience of filming in the capital quite surreal.

There was one particular moment that holds a special place in his heart.

He said: “In Clapham, where we filmed one of the Halloween parties I was actually able to bring my dad.

“To bring my Dad on set, and for the two hours he was there, to be able to understand the world that I’ve been in for the past 10 years was amazing.

“I’ll always thank Edgar and Nira Park and all the guys at Complete Fiction for that moment, allowing me to be able to integrate my family into my world so I’m very grateful for that.”

 

Main Picture: Michael Ajao with director Edgar Wright

 


 

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