Oh, baby this new flick will drive you crazy!

2017-08-02 14:34
Ansel Elgort

Cape Town - There’s magic behind the wheel of Baby Driver. It’s a thrilling cinematic experience that steers the viewer into a foot-tapping frenzy.

In fact critics are calling it "one of the most entertaining thrill rides of this year" and a "cinematic highlight" - praise that this razor sharp, stylish and super-sexy film rightly deserves. 

Writer and director Edgar Wright first got the idea for the film roughly 22 years ago whilst listening to John Spencer Blues Explosion's song, Bellbottoms

"I heard a song and visualised a car chase. I had the idea back then, and over the years it developed into a getaway driver, a young getaway driver, who can't operate at his best without the right kind of music playing. So over the years I kept sort of developing the idea,” Wright told James Hunt from Den of Geek in a recent interview. 

But Baby Driver almost didn’t make its big screen debut when Wright in 2002 decided to use the idea of the film for a Mint Royal music video instead. "At the time that I did the video I was almost mad at myself for squandering the idea on a $20k music video," Wright told Den of Geek.

"But it turned out well and stuck around, and ended up being a handy proof-of-concept," he added. 

The perfect crew

We can thank our lucky stars Wright stuck to his guns and got the film off the ground. From the very start the 43-year-old director assembled a mean team to bring this masterpiece to life. 

He roped in Oscar-winning British film composer Steven Price, best known for scoring Gravity, to take on the mammoth task of putting together the soundtrack for Baby Driver. Together the two redefined the relationship between music and movies.

Everything that happens onscreen is meticulously set to the beat of whatever song Baby (played by Ansel Elgort) is listening to on his earphones. Baby has severe tinnitus causing a permanent buzzing in his ear. To drown out the noise he constantly listens to music. 

Syncing the action and movement in the film with Price’s score and soundtrack was the work of Los Angeles choreographer Ryan Heffington. 

"There are certain dance elements in the film. But the timing is essential to a lot of the scenes, whether it’s a fight scene, or a car chase scene, or general street movement when it comes to extras. The whole scene tends to be timed out, so that’s been my job," Heffington told Entertainment Weekly’s Clark Collis.

According to Deadline somewhere between 30 to 71 songs (depending on who is counting) were used in the 1 hour and 52 minutes movie. Film critic for the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang writes: "The wall-to-wall soundtrack, cramming some three decades’ worth of popular music into just under two hours, is a continual source of pleasure in its own right.

"The gimmick here is so good that I actually wanted more of it: More killer tracks, more death-defying car-eography, more chase scenes shot to look like renegade Uber commercials."

If you're not seeing #BabyDriver tonight what are you even doing?

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The perfect Baby

At the end it all came resting on the shoulders of protagonist Baby played by hunky Hollywood star Ansel Elgort, from The Fault in our Stars, to pull off the soft-spoken loner who drives like a maniac. And Elgort does so effortlessly and eloquently. 

According to Wright he met with a few youngsters for the lead role but Elgort stood out from the very start. 

"Ansel was one of the first people that I met and was the favourite straight away. I think, you know, just because he’s a really charismatic, dynamic actor, but also because he’s got such a passion for music himself. You know, that side of the movie really was kind of enlivened by having him in it," Wright told Hollywood Life’s senior editor, Lauren Cox during a recent interview.

Elgort himself credits his musical theatre background for the spring in his step on the set of the rhythmic action flick. In one scene particularly Baby walks down the street to grab some coffee. The whole scene, about 3 minutes long, was shot in a single take. “It was all choreographed and there was no cutting,” he told Variety. “I have to thank musical theatre for that.”

Wright clearly gave every single thing in the film a lot of thought. Even the title of the movie is inspired by a Simon & Garfunkel song with the same name. “My parents only had a small record collection, but Bridge Over Troubled Water was one of those albums, so I knew every track on that album. Early on, I kind of thought, ‘Oh, Baby Driver, a young getaway driver — that’s the title,’ and it sort of stuck from there,” Wright told Variety.

In an interview with Bustle, he added: "I just really like that song. [The film is] not inspired in terms of the lyrics of that song, it doesn't really have anything to do with the movie, but that song and that album I used to love a lot as a kid."

Baby Driver opens in South African theatres on 4 August and is a thrilling action flick that is undoubtedly one of the best this year, if not this decade. 


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