‘Baby Driver’: Edgar Wright Interview on His Cast and Music-Driven Action

Baby Driver Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Edgar Wright

Lily James, writer/director Edgar Wright, and Ansel Elgort on the set of ‘Baby Driver’ (Photo © 2017 TriStar Pictures, Inc. and MRC II Distribution Company)

Did you always intend to have such strong co-stars?

Edgar Wright: You obviously want strong actors to play those parts. I must admit, in the greatest way, I didn’t know I was going to get people as big as Kevin and Jamie to play those parts, but as soon as they responded to the script and wanted to do it, it has a huge impact on the movie. Jon as well, and then also casting Ansel at the proper age. Casting a 21-year-old actor instead of casting somebody who’s 29 playing 21, it just immediately has a real visceral impact of these actors who are real heavyweights terrorizing the new kid. I mean, some of my favorite scenes in the movie, there’s a point in the movie where Kevin, Jamie and Jon are all turning on Ansel. It’s incredibly intense.”

What was the most dangerous car chase to film?

Edgar Wright: “They’re all tough in different ways. The first chase is just the complexity of it because the actors are involved as well. There’s obviously the stunt driving shots which are insane, like that shot in the alley where Jeremy Fry makes a 180 out and nearly clips the car is amazing. But then that sequence is not like a dangerous shot but it’s just a complicated shot where Ansel is driving down the freeway ramp and watching the red cars go the other way and then turns to follow them. Just watching that about to happen, you think, ‘Oh boy, if we mess up this timing, it’s going to take 40 minutes to reset this.’ Because people have to get off the off ramp and go all the way back around six miles back through non freeway traffic. You can imagine something like that, you just see it coming and you’re just thinking, ‘Here we go.’ There’s those kinds of things. The second chase with the thing where they’re being pushed under the truck is pretty crazy.”

And the embankment?

Edgar Wright: “It’s all cool. It’s all cool and it’s all extremely complicated.”

Is Jamie’s name Bats short for batshit crazy?

Edgar Wright: “Yeah, basically.”

Was it important that Baby was a child prodigy?

Edgar Wright: “I think one of the things in the movie, criminals won’t offer up their past willingly. If you listen in the movie, most of the people are telling somebody else about the other person, so there’s this element of myth there. So Spacey tells Foxx about Baby but you immediately get the sense that this story has been mythologized a little bit. Same way that Jamie says to Jon, ‘I know what your story is,’ but Jon doesn’t say anything. The fact that Jon doesn’t say anything means that you know that Bats has got close to the truth and it’s a raw nerve. Even the thing of Baby’s made all those tapes about himself, he’s kind of this self-mythologizing thing. I think in his head, he’s trying to compartmentalize; he knows he’s doing bad things but he’s trying to just feed off the myth of being the young driver. I think a lot of what Spacey says in that thing is true. This kid was a joy rider and is out stealing cars as a teenager, a joy rider. He steals Kevin Spacey’s car without knowing who Spacey is. Had some merchandise in it. The car gets trashed or lost and then he owes Kevin Spacey money. And rather than be killed, Kevin Spacey’s smart enough to say, ‘Oh no, now you’re working for me.’

Would you do a Baby Driver 2?

Edgar Wright: “I would. That’s not up to me. It’d be cool. I have ideas.”

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