Because of the fact he's overseen the likes of Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and The World's End, any new Edgar Wright film is eagerly anticipated and devoured by cinephiles. Baby Driver is his next venture, and it is also his most ambitious film yet, as the English director has gone all Phil Spector on audiences and created the movie equivalent of The Wall Of Sound. That's because even though Baby Driver is an action, heist, gangster, thriller extravaganza, it has also been as meticulously choreographed as a musical, as the rat-a-tat-tat of its bullets, the screeching car wheels, and even the windshield wipers have each been incorporated to create a cinematic cacophony that only a filmmaker of Edgar Wright's ilk could imagine.
I learnt as much last year when I visited the set of Baby Driver in Atlanta. As well as seeing various cool car stunts being shot, me and a group of other journalists had the chance to speak to Edgar Wright. During our trip it was teased that Baby Driver was something of a musical, and while Edgar Wright insisted that it's not in the conventional sense, he did admit that it was the first thing that came to his mind when he originally told people of the film. Wright remarked,
I mean, it is and it isn't. It isn't in the sense that, it's not like Mamma Mia! I don't know why that was the first thing that came to my mind. But there is a lot of music in it in terms of Ansel's character is playing music the entire time. So it's not like a film where anybody sings out loud, but it's taking things that are in Scorsese or Tarantino or Soderbergh films, and in those films you have the jukebox kind of soundtrack, and the idea with this is that the lead character is actually playing those songs. So the songs are always sourced. They're either in his ears or playing in a diner or playing on a stereo. So there's always [music] within the scenes. So that's the premise of it really.
Ansel Elgort is the actor tasked with playing the titular Baby, who is a preposterously talented getaway driver that, due to tinnitus, constantly listens to music to drown out the screech. During our discussions with the 23-year-old star, Elgort went into more detail about how music is utilized in Baby Driver, even going as far as to describe one of the opening scenes from the film. Elgort remarked,
Yeah, in the very beginning of the movie, Baby is dancing in the car to this song, sort of as the robbery's going on. He's trying to pretend it's not there, and he's dancing in the car. And he does, he puts the windshield wipers on, and magically, they go with the beat in his head, bobbing. Yeah, there's a lot of moments like that, it's a great one. When people see this, they're really gonna like it.
Those of you that are fans of early 2000s English electronic pop might recognize that the above description is exactly what transpires in the 2003 video for Mint Royale's Blue Song. Edgar Wright hasn't reverted to plagiarism, though, as he was the one who actually directed that video, and with Baby Driver he has looked to evolve it into a full-fledged feature film. In order to do just that, he needed to bring in some bona-fide Hollywood A-listers. (No offense Julian Barratt, Nick Frost and Michael Smiley). One of the actors he turned to was Jon Hamm, who actually took part in a read-through of Baby Driver's script back in 2012 when Edgar Wright was still honing it, and the former Mad Men star admitted he was attracted to the project because of the fact that it was a "quasi-musical." Jon Hamm told us,
You know, I just really liked the sort of general idea of the script, and this idea of making kind of a quasi-musical. And I don't know how much Edgar's sort of shared with you guys about that, but I've had the hardest time in kind of coming up with the bullet-point version of what this movie is other than quasi-musical. It's been really interesting to see it kind of shape up.
Jon Hamm also admitted that the coolest challenge about working on Baby Driver was trying to mix the explosions, car chases, crashes, and gun shots with the detailed choreography and the background music. And while he confessed that it was "difficult", he also declared that Baby Driver is more "exciting" and more "original" as a result. Hamm continued,
We have these choreographers on set all the time, whenever we're doing any kind of action sequence, and that's been a really cool challenge to kind of -- you know, there's already a million things going around at any shoot day anyway, and then you add guns or you add explosions or you add car crashes or you add any action element to it, and it gets even weirder, and then you have to realize, 'Oh yeah, we're supposed to be doing this kind of choreographed, and in time.' That makes it even more difficult, but more exciting. And I think more original. In an increasingly kind of crowded environment for entertainment, that's kind of an exciting thing that's out there that doesn't look like everything else.
Jon Hamm then went into more detail about exactly how the movement and sounds from "inanimate objects" are choreographed and sliced into the action sequences in time to create the feeling of a musical, something he insists that, after watching some of the footage edited together, has worked incredibly well. Jon Hamm explained,
There's a lot of stuff, I think, too, with kind of inanimate objects, you mentioned the windshield wipers, but there's things with whole cars, I mean, cars are choreographed and things like that. I wasn't sure how that wasn't going to play like on the day and in real life and again, having seen it cut together and working, I was impressed ... But it's all very specific and interesting and it works incredibly well with this weird tone of this movie. It definitely sets its own world, and again, it's all kind of from the aural POV of this one savant character.
You can get a sense of Baby Driver's "weird tone," as well as its death-defying action and stunts and the inherent humor that Edgar Wright brings to all of his films by watching its latest trailer below.
We don't have long to wait until Baby Driver is with us, too, as the film will finally be released later this month on June 28.