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Wright Discusses Musical Inspirations for 'Baby Driver' on Eve of Blu-ray Release

6 Oct, 2017 By: John Latchem

(L-R): Kevin Spacey and Edgar Wright discussing 'Baby Driver'

For filmmaker Edgar Wright, it was only natural to pack the Blu-ray for his hit film Baby Driver with as many bonus materials as he could fit onto it. Speaking Oct. 4 during a launch party for the Baby Driver home video release, Wright said his own career has been shaped tremendously by studying director commentaries and behind-the-scenes extras.

“For a lot of people who can’t go to film school … technical commentaries and these featurettes are like a film school,” Wright said.

In an age of streaming video, Wright said he remains a staunch proponent of physical media.

“I’m still a big believer in the format, and if it’s a film I really love … I’ll buy it as a disc,” Wright said. “Just in terms of the extras, it would be a sad day if I did a movie where it came out and it had the trailer and scene selection and that was it. You want to share with people who are interested in the process, or aspiring filmmakers, how it’s done.”

Baby Driver is available now on Digital HD and arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 10 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The Blu-ray includes director and filmmaker commentaries, 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, and hours of behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Writer-director Edgar Wright with the Baby Driver Subaru at the Peterson Automotive Museum

Wright, who wrote and directed the film, showed off some of the Baby Driver featurettes during a Q&A with Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times. The event, dubbed “Cars, Arts & Beats: A Night Out With Baby Driver,” took place at Los Angeles’ Peterson Automotive Museum, where the getaway Subaru from the film was parked in the “Automobiles in the Movies” exhibit alongside a Batmobile and Herbie the Love Bug.

The film stars Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver who uses music to fuel his driving skills, but is inspired to leave his criminal ways when he falls in love. The cast also includes Lily James, John Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey, who popped in for a surprise visit during the Q&A.

Wright discussed conceiving of the film 20 years ago while listening to the John Spencer Blues Explosion song “Bellbottoms.”

“I’d always liked music in movies, music in action movies, and when people do these great needle drops in movies, and there are great scenes that choreograph to music,” Wright said. “I was listening to that song, and I would hear that song and I would think about a car chase. … I just kept imagining this car chase and then that very quickly turned into the idea of what if the guy driving the car is listening to the song, what if he is controlling it?”

Wright also drew inspiration from movies such as American Graffiti and An American Werewolf in London that built pop music into the story.

“I think it’s when a director has a really strong idea of what he wants to use and why, that’s when you get incredibly, sort of amazing pairings of vision and sound,” Wright said.

He wrote specific songs into the script as he conceived of the action scenes to pair with them. That specificity helped convince Spacey to take on the role of the criminal mastermind Doc.

“The incredible thing when you read the script for the first time is you get all the tracks, so you’re able to play the music that’s going to be in the film in every scene and that’s really helpful in terms of realizing the film’s energy and drive is so much about the music and where you go musically,” Spacey said. “And I also think I was just impressed with all the characters. … I thought it was such an interesting complexity of a kind of traditional, really cool chase movie, but it was also a genuine love story, and to have those things mix and to actually really work, I was convinced right away.”

Wright also found creative fuel when he decided to set the story in Atlanta, where the film was shot.

“I had written the script for Los Angeles because it was the place I knew the best,” Wright said. “And then with the tax incentives and trying to make the budget work, I looked at other cities. I was initially against Atlanta because everybody shoots there. … But then when I actually put my head around it and started reading up about Atlanta crime history, and then I spent more time there … then it was like this is actually perfect because Atlanta is a big car city.”

As to whether Baby Driver should be considered a musical, Wright seemed to agree, but with a caveat.

“I would stop short of saying it’s a musical when trying to get it made because when people hear musical they think Les Miserables. They think Mamma Mia. Well, it’s not that,” Wright said. “I’d rather say it was an action film driven by music, which I think is an apt description.”

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