Matt's Blog

Interview - Writer-Director Edgar Wright Takes Us Inside 'Baby Driver'

Edgar Wright Interview

He’s been one of my favourite directors for some time and so I was thrilled to speak with Edgar Wright while in Australia for the premiere of his new film, Baby Driver.

Matt:  I was in New York City last week and saw it in a format known as 4DX.  It was the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like that with the moving chairs, blasts of air, lights coming on and off.  As a director, is that something you control?  Is there someone in a cinema adding all those effects?

Edgar:  I didn’t have anything to do with the 4DX thing but I’d love to try it actually.

Matt:  You’ve got a great reputation in the industry after films like Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  How easy is it finding the cast for a film like Baby Driver?  Are people like Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey lining up to work for you or does it take a bit of negotiation on your part?

Edgar:  I was really pleased that Kevin and Jamie responded well to the material.  I think it was partly because of me, partly because of the script and partly because it was all set to music.

Matt:  Tell us a little about Ansel Elgort.  I follow him on social media and he comes across as such an extrovert who shares so much about his life – the complete opposite of his character in this film.  What did you see in him and what did you think made him a perfect fit for this role?

Edgar:  I think that’s very much a generational thing.  Baby is a personality that is entirely different from Ansel because he’s introverted and does an accent.   What’s important is that Ansel has this confidence which is important for the role as Baby has to convince us that he’s the most badass getaway driver in the business.  While part of him is introverted and quiet, he has to be much stronger on a physical level with his actions speaking louder than his words.

Matt:  I think I read you’ve had an idea for a film like this for some time.  Is that true?

Edgar:  I’ve had the idea for years so it’s been a very long time.

Matt:  So how easy is it translating it from an idea in your head to a workable script on paper?

Edgar:  It wasn’t easy.  Because it’s such a visual film with the soundtrack being a big part of it, it was tricky to explain on paper what it was going to look and sound like. 

Matt:  I’m not saying anything new in remarking about the great use of music in the film.  It’s almost as if you started with the song and designed the scene around that.  Can you explain how you broadly picked the music and how early it was incorporated into the script?

Edgar:  The opening song inspired the idea 21 years ago.  With the songs, I’d listen to them and then write down what I wanted to happen in the scene.  Before I’d even written a word, I’d earmarked 8 or 9 of the songs.  It was an interesting process to let the music lead me.

Matt:  The film has been very well received so far.  It’s had some great reviews and is doing nicely at the US box-office.  What was it like in the week or so leading up to release?  As a director, do you know you’ve got something works or are you still nervous about what reactions await?

Edgar:  You’re always nervous about the commercial response.  I was getting anxious in the days leading up to release because I knew we had a great cast and then we got some great reviews.  You think “if this tanks then I really don’t what I’m going to do.”  It was a big relief to have it connect with audiences.

Matt:  The film has been very well received so far.  It’s had some great reviews and is doing nicely at the US box-office.  What was it like in the week or so leading up to release?  As a director, do you know you’ve got something works or are you still nervous about what reactions await?

Edgar:  They do but I’m superstitious about that stuff so I ask to be taken off those emails.  All I can do is make the movie to the best of my ability and then promote the movie tirelessly.  Beyond that, it’s not up to me.  You’re in the lap of the gods at some point.

Matt:  I’ve been following your journey across the world in promoting this film.  You’ve had Q&As with the likes of Christopher Nolan and Peter Jackson and then you had dinner last night with George Miller.  What’s it like interacting with your peers in that way?  Do you learn a lot from each other, do you share ideas, or are you talking about anything else but movies?

Edgar:  George Miller is actually doing the Q&A tonight.  One of the nice things since Shaun of the Dead is the world getting smaller and being able to meet my heroes.  It’s extraordinary.  These are people who I have admired for years.  I was talking to George last night about my filmmaking process and the number of things we had in common was fascinating.

Matt:  What are you working on at the moment?  What are we going to see from you next?

Edgar:  That is a very good question.  I’ve been promoting this film since March.  I started trying to write something and I failed miserably because I’ve been doing endless interviews for Baby Driver.  At a certain point, I’m going to sleep for a month, resurface and then figure out the next thing.