BABY DRIVER

Empire (UK) - - ON.SCREEN - NICK DE SEMLYEN

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.

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