Unless you’ve been living under (a very big) rock, you would be aware that Baby Driver, a music-based crime film by cult director Edgar Wright is absolutely taking the world by storm.
Having currently visited the country for a press tour, Edgar was part of a Q&A session at Melbourne’s Cinema Nova this past Thursday, for the premiere of the film. He shared an engaging and insightful discussion on how Baby Driver came from a vision in his mind, to the current hit it is right now.
Here are seven things we learned from the man himself…
1. Dr George Miller saw a very early cut of Baby Driver, and bonded with Edgar over their love of Walter Hill.
At the Sydney premiere of the film, George Miller conducted a Q&A session with Edgar. He explained how George was one of the first people to see a completed cut of the film, saying that “if George Miller likes it, then I’m good!”, making the Sydney premiere the third time Miller had seen the film. Edgar also joked about how George’s had jokingly questioned his medication for tonsillitis. “I love how I’m getting a second opinion from George Miller.”
Later on in the Q&A, Edgar explained how his study of Walter Hill‘s 1978 The Driver script was something him and George bonded over, as he discovered George had studied Hill’s Alien script for Mad Max 2. “It’s so strange that 35 years apart, we were both influenced by the same writer/director.”
2. The idea for Baby Driver had come from a vision Edgar had when was 21, after hearing the song Bellbottoms by The John Spencer Blues Explosion.
After explaining that he had been working on Baby Driver “three years full time, six years since the first draft of the script and ten years since researching for the first draft of the script”, the conception of the film came when Edgar heard the first track featured in the film 22 years ago.
“I was 21 and broke, living in London and trying to get into the film industry…But I just couldn’t listen to the song without thinking about this car chase. It’s almost like having the action version of synesthesia; there was this image that I just couldn’t get out of my head. So at some point, I had to kind of come up with a movie that would go with this vision. And this is that movie.”
3. His research for Baby Driver included an American road trip, and interviewing real-life getaway drivers and bank robbers…
Edgar explained that as an “English, middle-class kid”, there were things he needed to experience before writing the script. One of these was taking a road-trip from New York to Los Angeles.
But the most instrumental research Edgar conducted for the script was interviewing ex-bank robbers and getaway drivers, including a man who later became a script consultant for the film. One of the most important things he learned was that in real life, getaway drivers usually drive every day cars that would blend into traffic, rather than muscle cars or sports cars that cost $200,000.
4. …With some quotes ended up in the film itself.
By asking specific questions like “Would you ever listen to music on the way to a heist?”, Edgar added some of these interesting replies into the script. He explained that one man answered, “On the way to a heist? No never. I’ve got enough demons up here making music.” Another said that ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ was playing on the radio before a job, and one of the guys in the back started freaking out saying it was “a jinx song”.
Both of these quotes were later used by Jamie Foxx‘s character in the film.
5. Jon Hamm’s character “Buddy” was written with him in mind.
Out of all the cast members, Jon Hamm was the only one Edgar really knew in person. “I wrote the part with him in mind, so it was something I had mentioned to him in passing years ago, and finally when it came to pass I could offer him the role.”
6. Although Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx were in Horrible Bosses together, Baby Driver was the first time they had shared the screen.
After explaining that “Ansel (Elgort) and Lily (James) were pretty new to me when I started casting”, Edgar described his time working with Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx, and how it was their first time working on screen together.
“It was really something to have two Oscar winners in the same scene…They were really funny, Jamie was doing these impressions of Kevin in Se7en in front of him, and it was something to witness!”
7. The success of Baby Driver is something Edgar hopes studios will take note of, paving the way for other original films to have potential at the box office.
Explaining that “You want to make a movie that you would want to see at the cinema. And I hope that other people feel the same way”, Edgar noted that it was nice to see that people in the industry have said, “We really needed something like this”.
Noting that Hollywood is currently in the midst of churning out franchise films (taking a subtle dig at Transformers), he explained it’s a “vicious circle where audiences keep going to see them, so they keep making them”. He mentioned Get Out, and how “it’s important that the studios make more original movies” as they are “still the future of cinema.”
“Even if I wasn’t involved in (Baby Driver), I would be thrilled that an original movie had opened really well and doing really high against all the franchise movies.”