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Baby Driver is a movie very much propelled and defined by its music. The songs used in the various sequences helped set the tone of the indie hit, but they also left director Edgar Wright at the mercy of their duration. This forced him into a corner when one of his songs wasn't long enough to fit a necessary chase scene. Faced with a significant filmmaking obstacle, Wright eventually stumbled upon a simple-yet-elegant solution: have Baby rewind the song. The director took the stage at a recent Cars, Arts, & Beats: A Night Out with Baby Driver event in Los Angeles and said:
We were never shooting more than we needed. This song by Jon Spencer is five minutes long, therefore this chase is five minutes long. There is one scene in the movie where, the only time that failed, Bill Pope my cinematographer was the first person to point it out. There's a song by The Damned that plays in the Mike Myers heist. That song is just over two minutes long. Maybe two and a half minutes long. He'd sen what I had cut together with storyboards, and Bill Pope said 'this scene is too long for the song.' And I was like 'oh, why do you say that?' What you've drawn and what you've cut is fine but the stunts will take longer than that to resolve, and the stunts are going to look good and you're going to want to hold on them longer, so you're going to run out of song.' And I was like 'well we'll see.' Of course he was absolutely right, so then I was in a situation where most of the scene the song runs out way before it's finished. So then I sort of thought about it through the whole shoot. What was I going to do? Was I going to put another song on? Was I going to have it in silence for the rest of the scene? That didn't really make sense for the character because he has to be motivated by music. So on the last day of the shoot I shot this new shot of Ansel rewinding the song so he gets into a new car and we have to carjack the next car, get in, plugs his iPod in, rewinds the song to the last verse and chorus, and then starts it again, and that made perfect sense because the character has been derailed. He had a plan, and it was ruined.
You know what they say about best-laid plans, right? Edgar Wright ran into a huge roadblock when one of his songs for one of Baby Driver's many chase sequences ended up being far longer than he had anticipated. Faced with the possibility of having to use another song (which could've ruined the flow of the scene), Wright instead opted just to have the sunglasses-wearing hero rewind the song -- which not only helped Wright re-establish the momentum of the scene, but also gave Baby a nice little character moment.
As it turns out, for most other scenes, the restrictions of the songs ended up helping Edgar Wright tell his story economically. Elsewhere during his appearance at the Cars, Arts, & Beats: A Night Out with Baby Driver event, Wright explained that prior knowledge of a given song's length forced him to keep his action sequence cut to a very precise timeframe. As a result, he never shot more action than he needed, and the film moved at a better pace than it would have if he had picked the music in post-production.
Baby Driver is now available on Digital HD, and the DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film will hit shelves next week on October 10. If you're looking for more information on all of the movies set to debut over the next year, have a look at CinemaBlend's 2017 movie premiere guide, as well as our 2018 movie premiere guide.