SPACED FEATURED A character called Tyres. Hot Fuzz saw Simon Pegg pursue Timothy Dalton in a police cruiser. So perhaps it was inevitable that sooner or later Edgar Wright would make a full-on car movie. Baby Driver is that car movie, and it will be full-on. “The chase in Hot
Fuzz was pretty small, and there’s a tiny bit of car stuff in The World’s End as well,” reflects the director. “But this is something else.”
The tale of hearing-impaired getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort), who gets caught up in a series of high-stakes heists, Baby Driver is the first film written solo by Wright. Expect something grittier than your average Cornetto. “I saw that it’s listed on Box Office Mojo as an action-comedy,” says Wright. “And I was thinking, ‘That’s not entirely right.’ Obviously it has bits of humour and stylistic flourishes, but it’s closer to a crime film. If it was released ten years ago, it would be in the ‘Action-thriller’ section in Blockbuster.”
As prep-work, Wright consulted a veteran of 23 bank robberies, learning about state-ofthe-art tech such as “privacy goggles”, which blur your face on CCTV. Then, script complete, he assembled a crackerjack cast. Kevin Spacey plays crime boss Doc. Lily James is Baby’s waitress girlfriend, Deborah. And Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Jon Bernthal are assorted lowlifes with whom the young wheelman finds himself sharing car-space.
Many of the actors performed their own stunts. “There are a few shots where Jon and
Ansel have done their own driving,” Wright reveals. “There are some things the insurance company wouldn’t let them do, but there have been chases and shoot-outs which the cast have been right in the thick of. It was surreal to watch Jon and Jamie and [legendary 76-year-old songwriter] Paul Williams in a gunfight.”
As ever with Wright’s oeuvre, tunes play a major part too. The movie will be powered by Baby’s playlists, which he listens to as he drives. “The big thing for me when I cast Ansel was the fact he’s so into music,” the director says. “He can play piano and sing and dance.” Just as well Blockbuster isn’t around anymore, because ‘Action-thriller-romance-crime-comedy-musical’ is a lot to fit on one sign.
Bats (Jamie Foxx), J.D. (Lanny Joon) and Baby (Ansel Elgort) poised for action. Left: Baby charms Deborah (Lily James). Bottom left: Baby, Bats, Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and Buddy (Jon Hamm), up to no good.