MU­SIC DRIVES MOVIE

Di­rec­tor Edgar Wright heard a song more than 20 years ago, which slowly be­came a fast­paced film ex­plor­ing how mu­sic syncs with life

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - JAKE COYLE

“The idea for this movie is as old as Orange,” Wright says in an in­ter­view.

“I was ei­ther 20 or 21 and I had just moved to Lon­don. I was work­ing on my first movie I ever made. I was com­pletely broke. I think I had a cas­sette of Orange that I had copied off some­one else, maybe my brother. I lis­tened to Bell­bot­toms all the time. I just started to vi­su­alise this car chase. I thought, this would be the per­fect car-chase song in a movie, but what’s the movie?”

Baby Driver, it turned out, was the movie, but it took years for Wright ( Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) to find the story that matched his ini­tial in­spi­ra­tion.

Even­tu­ally he hit on his pro­tag­o­nist: an un­com­monly young, fresh-faced get­away driver (Ansel El­gort) who ob­ses­sively syncs his life and his car chases to the mu­sic of his iPod.

The movie wouldn’t just tie to­gether song and cin­ema; it would be about the fu­sion of mu­sic and ac­tion. Ac­tors re­ceived their scripts with a thumb drive of mu­sic at­tached.

“It’s some­thing about try­ing to as­sign or­der to life by sound­track­ing your ev­ery move,” Wright says. “It’s that thing when ev­ery­thing breaks right and it’s the right song and the right mo­ment.”

So it’s fit­ting the movie was es­sen­tially born from a sin­gle song. It’s the start of the film, too: Bell­bot­toms kicks off the high-oc­tane opera that is Baby Driver. “I def­i­nitely get a kick out of it,” Jon Spencer says. “Edgar is sort of a very Blues Ex­plo­sion kind of di­rec­tor.”

Wright’s idea un­der­went many it­er­a­tions.

He tested a ver­sion of it in a 2002 mu­sic video for the Mint Royale’s Blue Song. “I thought: What a waste. I just burned off a great idea on this mu­sic video,” he says. “Iron­i­cally, years later, it be­came a way of post­dat­ing the idea.”

But Wright de­cided to keep at it. He es­ti­mates he wrote the script around 2010, when he started talk­ing to ex-con­victs. For re­search, he’d pep­per them with ques­tions about what, if any­thing, they lis­tened to dur­ing heists.

One men­tioned that he was su­per­sti­tious enough that if a truly aw­ful song came on the ra­dio, the gig was off.

The of­fen­sive song to him was a Guns N’ Roses Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door cover, but the “hex song” in Baby Driver comes from a tune Jamie Foxx ac­tu­ally de­tests: The Ea­gles’ Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia. Baby Driver opens in all ma­jor cine­mas July 13

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