Krysty Wilson-Cairns Before & After Her ‘1917’ Breakthrough

Today, FF2 celebrates talented screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns on this, the fourth anniversary of the release of her hugely successful film 1917 (about World War I).  Co-written by Krysty in collaboration with director Sam Mendes, 1917 represents a towering achievement for the war genre. The film follows two soldiers across the decimated French landscape, their race against time captured in every great and terrible moment by a series of unbreaking, long shots. FF2 contributor Brigid Presecky specifically praised the writing of 1917, saying, “Mendes and Wilson-Cairns don’t try to impress with a complex, gratuitously action-packed plot… The intensity feels real and earned, never glamorized for the sake of narrative.” 1917 received Seven BAFTAs, three Oscars and two Golden Globes.

Krysty was born in Glasgow on May 26, 1987. Her first encounter with the entertainment industry came when the detective series Taggart used her father’s shop as a set. Kristy would later go on to work as a runner on that same show.

In 2009, Krysty graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a degree in Digital Film and Television. She continued her education at London’s National Film and Television School, earning her master’s in Screenwriting. 

Krysty’s breakthrough into the mainstream came in 2014 with writing the sci-fi script Aether. Though never turned into a film, Aether found enough supporters to be pushed near the top of the Black List, an annual report of the best scripts not chosen for production. A year later, Krysty became a staff writer on the horror series Penny Dreadful. It was then that Krysty was introduced to Sam Mendes, the show’s executive producer and Krysty’s eventual collaborator on 1917.

Last Night in Soho returns to Krysty’s writing roots in the macabre.

After the overwhelming success of 1917, Krysty co-founded her own production company, Great Company. However, she continued to work diligently as a writer. In 2021, only two years after the release of 1917, Last Night in Soho hit theaters. Co-written with director Edgar Wright, Last Night in Soho returns to Krysty’s writing roots in the macabre. Starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Matt Smith in a trippy, terrifying thriller, Last Night in Soho was nominated for two BAFTAs.

Krysty’s next script was developed into 2022’s The Good Nurse. The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, follows the true story of Charles Cullen, a serial killer who targets victims using his profession as a nurse. The film sees haunting performances by both Eddie Redmayne as the killer, and Jessica Chastain as a fellow nurse intent on stopping him.

In the past four years alone, Krysty has been responsible for three blockbuster scripts. The stories, highlighting everything from wartime strategy to fantastical horror, perfectly showcase Krysty’s own creative range, and her ever-evolving voice. There is no telling where her writing will take her and her audience in the future, but, no matter what, it is sure to be an entertaining ride. Here’s to you, Krysty!

© Reese Alexander (12/4/23) – Special for FF2 Media


Read Brigid’s review of 1917 here.

Visit Krysty’s Wikipedia page here.

See all the awards 1917 was nominated for and won here.

Visit the website for Krysty’s production company here.


Featured Photo: Anya Taylor-Joy as “Sandie” in the film LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2021), screenplay by Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Parisa Taghizadeh / Focus Features / Lifestyle pictures / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: 2H8AXPD

Bottom Photo: Screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns wins an “BAFTA for the film 1917 at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards (2/2/20). All in all, 1917 won 7 BAFTAs & 3 Oscars & 2 Golden Globes (also receiving dozens of additional nominations all around the world). Photo Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: 2ATJKCB

Tags: 1917, Aether, Anya Taylor-Joy, BAFTA, Golden Globes, jessica chastain, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Last Night in Soho, Oscar Winners, Penny Dreadful, Scotland, Taggart, The Good Nurse, Thomasin McKenzie

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Reese Alexander is currently a student at Barnard College, where she studies English literature, creative writing, and French. Reese enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction, and her work has been published in multiple campus publications, including Quarto, Echoes, The Barnard Bulletin, and The Columbia Federalist. Reese is most passionate about medieval literature, as she believes it illustrates the contributions of women artists throughout the centuries.
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