1. Edgar, what was the actual starting point for Baby Driver?
I’ve been thinking about it in some form for 22 years because that’s when I first heard ‘Bellbottoms’ by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and that when I basically had this vision of a car chase set to this song. Then I couldn’t hear the song without seeing the car chase, so I had to make the movie.
2. The music is great, but the car chase choreography is exhilarating too – did the one inspire the other?
The two things go in hand in hand. The music is inspiring the choreography, the structure of what’s happening. All of the music was cleared before we started shooting so we could play out the scenes to each song. The opening car chase is worked out to precisely fit ‘Bellbottoms’ – it was planned to have all of its dramatic anchor points at the different dramatic points in the song.
3. What was the hardest shot to get right? A lot of them are very long.
The second scene, where Baby goes to get the coffees for the rest of the gang then goes back, was all in one shot and takes place over three city blocks and we shot it on the first day of the shoot. So we started with a really ambitious shot! There were 28 takes and we used take 21. We had a great choreographer, Ryan Heffington, who choreographed Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ video.
One of the funny things is that the kid playing the barista, Micah, it was the first movie set he’d ever been on, he was 16 years old I think. It was quite funny when he started to realise how integral his part was to this one massive shot. At the end of the day we gave him a round of applause.
4. Your cast is very starry – was it easy to get them on board?
Nobody who’s in the movie needed any convincing. One of the great things is that Kevin [Spacey] and Jamie [Foxx], when they read the script they loved the idea of the style of it. We actually gave them an immersive app where basically you could hear the songs as you were reading the script. We made this PDF app on an iPad with the script and in the corner you had this little button with Baby’s face on it and you push the button and you’d hear the song.
5. Why don’t you release release that app! It sounds cool.
I’m not sure how the music licensing on that works – it might never happen.
6. Was it hard to find your lead actor?
The first question anyone who read the script would ask is ‘who plays Baby?’ There’s not that many young lead actors out there who can carry an entire movie. I met a lot of the actors. Ansel [Elgort] was one of the first I met and we really bonded over music.
7. Are you planning to collaborate with Simon Pegg again? The Cornetto Trilogy was so much fun.
We’ve been talking about writing. And I think the number one thing is to be in the same city where we can both write. Simon is in a lot of franchises! The tricky thing with Simon is finding time to clear the decks. So we would like to, but it’s very much up in the air.
8. We hear you quit Ant-Man, but would you consider taking on a franchise film in future?
Well yes, but I just had the biggest hit of my career with an original screenplay. So maybe I should just keep doing that!
9. You’ve talked a lot about the American car chase movies that inspired Baby Driver, but were you influenced by George Miller and Mad Max at all?
I love George Miller. I was really obsessed by the first Mad Max. I know Mad Max 2 is the greatest, I’m fully aware it’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of that series, but there’s something about the tone of Mad Max, how full of dread it is. It’s such a great revenge movie. George read the script of Baby Driver and gave me some advice on shooting the movie – some advice on using the same car crane rigs he used on Fury Road.
10. I love the fake trailer you made for the film Grindhouse, called Don’t. Are you going to go down the Hammer Horror path in future?
I would love to make a straight horror film. But I will never make a feature version of Don’t because I think it’s in its perfect form at 90 seconds long. Part of the joy of that one is that it seems entirely plotless. It’s one of those trailers where you go, “What is that movie actually about?”
Baby Driver is in cinemas now.
Read reviews the best movies playing in Sydney.