Filmmaker Edgar Wright on His New Musical-Car-Chase Mashup 'Baby Driver'-The Coolest Gateway of the Season; underneath the Music, the Motors and the Mayhem, Wright's Sweet Brand of Guy-Friendly Romance-Goofy but Never Gross-Shines Through

By Dean, Sam | Newsweek, June 30, 2017 | Go to article overview

Filmmaker Edgar Wright on His New Musical-Car-Chase Mashup 'Baby Driver'-The Coolest Gateway of the Season; underneath the Music, the Motors and the Mayhem, Wright's Sweet Brand of Guy-Friendly Romance-Goofy but Never Gross-Shines Through


Dean, Sam, Newsweek


Byline: Sam Dean

Filmmaker Edgar Wright was born in the English countryside, but his brain is pure Hollywood, so saturated with cinema history that he could pass as a backup to the Internet Movie Database, should some of his movies' comically apocalyptic crises come to pass. Wright has turned that deep movie geekery into a very particular brand of smart, funny, gleefully violent and unexpectedly good-natured films, each a pitch-perfect, multi-hyphenate mashup, including the rom-com-zom(bie) Shaun of the Dead, the village-green-preservation-society-conspiracy-cop-thriller Hot Fuzz and the live-action-video-game-comic-book-adaptation-rom-com Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

At 43, he still looks like the boy wonder who launched his career at age 19 with a homemade Western parody, A Fistful of Fingers, which led to a job directing comedy shows on the BBC (which, coincidentally, all ended up featuring a lot of genre pastiche and parody). In a corner of his favorite breakfast place in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz (where he stays when in the States), face to face with his infectious enthusiasms and bouncy charm, it is easy to see why someone might give him millions of dollars to make a high-concept heist movie, the about-to-be-released Baby Driver, which he wrote and directed. But while he's happy to unfurl strings of anecdotes and recommendations for favorite songs, movies, lines and scenes, this director of the best car chase film in years can't quite remember what kind of car he drove to get here. "Since the movie, I've been driving a Mercedes, but I--oh man." For a moment, he's at a loss. "I just got a new one the other day, but this is a rental. Don't say Edgar Wright had no idea what car he was driving."

Baby Driver is a departure for Wright in a number of ways. It's his first American movie (set in Atlanta); his first script that isn't a full-on comedy; and his first film stocked with bona fide Hollywood stars. Ansel Elgort, the 23-year-old famous for the young adult (YA) tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars, plays the willowy cool Baby, a wunderkind driver for a bank robbery crew; Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx (who signed on after a call from Wright fan and friend Quentin Tarantino) anchor the gang as Baby's bosses and grown-man criminal counterparts; and Lily James, best known as Lady Rose from Downton Abbey, is Deborah, Baby's new boo.

But it's based on one of Wright's oldest ideas, one he's been nursing since before he had a credit to his name, before the zombies or the BBC shows, back when Elgort was an actual baby: an action movie meticulously choreographed to match up with a killer soundtrack. "It's like a musical for people who wouldn't go and see musicals," Wright says. "It's literally a dream collision of my two favorite things."

The kernel of the movie came to Wright in what he calls "a vision," 22 years ago, when he was listening to "Bellbottoms," a song by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, a New York-based multi-genre fusion band (reasonably popular in the U.K., less so stateside). Wright was sitting in his bedroom--"or my only room, to be specific, in a flat in North London"--and a car chase appeared before his eyes.

The idea cropped up again seven years later. Wright had agreed to come up with a video treatment for the Manchester, England, electronic group Mint Royale, and the deadline was coming fast. Out of options, he fell back on his old vision. "I was mad at myself because I had squandered this great film concept on a $30,000 music video," he says.

Then a string of critically acclaimed films put him in the position of taking another shot. Shaun of the Dead, which Wright directed and co-wrote with its star, Simon Pegg, blew into theaters like a fresh (if zombie-scented) breeze in 2003. The film followed two regular blokes, played by Pegg and his frequent counterpart, Nick Frost, trying to run some errands, grab a couple of pints at the pub and save themselves and their friends from a zombie apocalypse. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Filmmaker Edgar Wright on His New Musical-Car-Chase Mashup 'Baby Driver'-The Coolest Gateway of the Season; underneath the Music, the Motors and the Mayhem, Wright's Sweet Brand of Guy-Friendly Romance-Goofy but Never Gross-Shines Through
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.