Edgar Wright is one of the most distinctive, skilled directors working today. He has his deficiencies, but when he’s on form he has little competition in what he does. His new movie, Baby Driver, just hit the cinema. It’s a pretty remarkable technical achievement of style over substance which nevertheless left me slightly cold. And I don’t think that can be blamed entirely on Ansel Elgort’s uber-punchable face and flat emoting either. There was something missing from the movie. But then again maybe it was just a question of expectations and re-watching will yield different results. Anyway, Mr Wright dropped by Reddit the other day for an Ask Me Anything. It’s well worth it checking out out the whole thing, but here are some highlights:
(Edgar does open the proceedings with a:
‘By the way, I’ve had 4 hours of sleep so ask me ANYTHING!’
Which is always a good start in my book).
Big fan of your movies , congrats on the great reviews of Baby Driver.
Your and Mr. Tarantino’s commentary on Hot Fuzz was so awesome , could you recommend me some other great director/actor commentaries
Do you think studios interfere a lot with the directors vision and it is difficult to make original movies these days
What was the last movie you saw that made you wish that you had directed that , if there was any
John Carpenter and Kurt Russel are always fun together.
I think it’s always been the case we just maybe hear more about it now.
Hey Edgar, Point Break or Bad Boys II?
Point Break. Bigelow Power.
What comic related property do you think working on would be interesting, outside of Antman?
Long time fan of your work dating back to Spaced.
Absolutely loved Baby Driver.
What was the deal with the ‘hero’ that tried to stop the first robbery with Flea and Jamie Foxx? Did he know about the robbery beforehand? Why did he have a machine gun?
The idea was that he’s an off-duty Marine. You can see some of his military bumper stickers. He has more than one firearm because HE IS FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
If you had an evil twin who directed movies under the name Edgar Wrong, what kind of movies do you think he would make?
Go to bed.
Every Frame A Painting has a great YouTube segment on how you’re great at executing jokes visually through your direction rather than most American comedies where they rely on dialogue too much. My question to you is during your writing process how do you keep this in mind? Is it a conscious choice of yours to try and weave jokes into the direction? I would love to hear what your process is like.
Some of that is in the script. But most of it is in the storyboards. And it’s born out of a desire to get the most out of every movie. Visual jokes, verbal jokes, audio jokes, composition jokes, etc.
Mr. Wright, your work consistently hits right at the core of what I love to see in films, and Scott Pilgrim is in my top three of all time (probably my most watched outside of Groundhog Day). I saw Baby Driver on Tuesday, and I was tapping my foot, on the edge of my seat from the first minute. It’s a stunning example of what you can do with movies, and as someone with tinnitus who surrounds himself with music, there were so many moments that I identified deeply with. Baby Driver is an accomplishment, especially for your sound and editing departments, and I wish it all the success in the world!
Three questions, but I’d be happy to hear the answer to any one.
What scene was the most difficult to film in Baby Driver?
Is there any song you wanted to include in BD, but couldn’t find space / a scene for?
What’s your favorite scene/bit/joke from Scott Pilgrim that you feel doesn’t get enough credit?
Thank you, for bringing so many fantastic adventures to life for us. I can’t wait to see what you tackle next!
ALL of the car chases
I’ll save them for a sequel.
I feel like every joke from that movie got SOME sort of credit from someone out there
Since Baby Driver (which I LOVED) is your first film shot in the US, what’s something that you missed about shooting in the UK? And what’s something you really loved about working in the US?
I missed getting a packet of Jaffa Cakes at the end of the day. Working in the US, I loved not being able to put on several pounds eating Jaffa Cakes at the end of the day.
I myself suffer from tinnitus and have been burdened with the disability for the past few years, thank you so much for making this movie and giving me a hero that perseveres through it’s pain.
My questions, I was wondering what originally brought you to giving our main protagonist this disability?
I used to have tinnitus around the age of 7 or 8. It was reading Oliver Sacks book ‘Musicophilia’ that made me think that this would be a condition that Baby suffers from and encourages him to listen to music 24/7.
I found your work randomly a 7-8 years ago and have not stopped sharing it with everyone possible. ‘Baby Driver’ was worth the years of waiting. I just wanted to say thank you for the grand entertainment and say that ‘Baby Driver’ was fantastic and total SOUND PORN. How was the process of doing the sound design for the film?
Thank you !
I’ve worked with the same sound team since Shaun of the Dead. It’s a great collaboration between my editors, composers, sound mixers, sound designers and myself.
How was is meeting George Miller and do you have any great stories about him? Did he give you any advice on ‘Baby Driver’?
The nicest guy ever. A very calm and intelligent man. And so kind. I picked his brains a lot and it convinced me that my plan of storyboarding the whole film was the way to go. Also, he highly recommended using the car rig called the Pursuit Arm. I did.
Hi Edgar. Big fan! I watch Hot Fuzz probably once a week. Question: your movies are flawlessly edited. How much of that is your
I work with great editors but I am also there every single day in the edit.
Hi Mr. Wright,
How awesome was it to be a zombie in a George A. Romero movie?
Being on the poster of Land of the Dead is one of my proudest achievements.
Hello Edgar. Loved Baby Driver it was fantastic. I was wondering as you shoot all of your films on 35mm film do you have a particular opinion on the whole film vs digital debate?
It’s a personal choice. But I feel that 35mm is just more transportive. I also prefer the discipline of working on film.
Hey Mr. Wright, just saw Baby Driver last night and it was absolutely fucking fantastic. Quick question- how did you make the picks for the soundtrack? Were they songs that you enjoyed previously, or was there something else behind your choices?
They are all songs I love. But I tended to go for songs with a dramatic structure. As that would be more interesting to choreograph action to.
Jamie Foxx is really great in this. I was wondering how you thought of him for the part and whether your friendship with Quentin Tarantino helped in his casting?
When his name came up, I did think he would be amazing in the part but wasn’t sure whether he’d do it. He loved the script and QT did put in the good word for me. I can say also that QT thinks it’s one of Jamie’s best ever performances which makes me very happy.
I’m so unbelievably pumped to watch Baby Driver, and thanks in advance for all your hard work on it.
Seeing as how successful you’ve been at making genre send-ups (western, cop, driving), my question to you is:
How have you been able to balance all the references and homages to older films while still telling an original story?
Oh, and I can’t wait to hear more about Shadows!
It’s really about finding some new subjective view point through a well established genre. In Shaun, it was seeing a zombie movie through the eyes of a relationship comedy. In Baby Driver, it’s seeing a well-worn heist tale but through the ears of a music fanatic.
You have such an incredible film knowledge. What three films do you wish you could bring much wider attention to or maybe even restore and release?
The Last of Sheila, The Driver, The Super Cops (1973).
What did you think of Roger Ebert? Who is the heir to his throne in your mind?
Roger Ebert, the great screenwriter of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls? He is PEERLESS.
Thanks for doing this AMA! You are one of the few directors who have a very distinctive voice of storytelling. You can always tell within the first 5 minutes that you are watching an Edgar Wright movie, and I am curious how an auteur finds that special approach that sets them apart from the rest. Did you consciously develop your unique style, or was it something that came to you naturally over the years of working in cinema? What was your way towards creating your own voice?
I think you find your own style from appreciating the art of others. Your own upbringing obviously adds to your particular point of view. But even when you’re trying to copy the masters, your failings can start to make your style unique.
What are your favorite movies of 2017 so far?
I really enjoyed Raw, the french horror film. Get Out was fantastic too. And so is The Big Sick.
Thanks for making great films and for the AMA.
Several sequences in Baby Driver are specifically timed to the beat of the music (windshield wipers, footsteps, overheard conversations in the opening scene, for example).
Did you know going into filming that you’d have permission to use those specific songs, or did you choose the song after filming based on tempo?
Every song was written into the script and every one was cleared before we started shooting.Wombat_H 120 points 2 days ago
Thoughts on the Wachowski Speed Racer? Scott Pilgrim feels very stylistically similar.
I generally liked it but feel it should have been 85 minutes long.
Hi Mr. Wright. Thank you for this AMA. What in your opinion is the best movie car chase scene of all time?
You can’t go wrong with The French Connection chase.
Holy shit this is the first time I’m on time for an AMA. I didn’t prepare a question, shit fuck. Hey Edgar, do you wanna go grab a pint and wait for all this to blow over? 🍻
Sure, but can I have a rosé instead?