Baby Driver creator Edgar Wright stated the initial idea for the film came to him twenty years ago. Wright was listening to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song, “Bellbottoms,” from the album, Orange, when he was struck with the idea of a movie car chase surrounding the song.
Wright told the Associated Press exactly how it went down.
“I was either 20 or 21 and I had just moved to London. I was working on my first movie I ever made. I was completely broke. I think I had a cassette of ‘Orange’ that I had copied off of someone else, maybe my brother. I listened to “Bellbottoms” all the time. I just started to visualize this car chase. I’d think, ‘This would be the perfect car chase song in a movie, but what’s the movie?”
Years later, Wright finally found the perfect story to match the “Bellbottoms” inspired car chase he had envisioned. The film focuses on a young getaway driver, Ansel Elgort, who syncs his life and car chases to the music on his iPod.
The movie started with a soundtrack; the story developing around the collection of songs. Some other songs featured in the movie are Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run”and the Damned’s “Neat, Neat, Neat.” In this film, everything happens to the beat of the music. Wright explains,
“It’s something about trying to assign order to life by soundtracking your every move,” said Wright. “It’s that thing when everything breaks right and it’s the right song and the right moment. It’s something that a lot of people do on a sort of everyday level, but what if you put it together with an extremely high pressured job, like being a getaway driver for a very dangerous gang?”
The film is one of the summer’s most highly anticipated releases.
Wright tested a version of the film in a 2002 music video for the Mint Royale’s “Blue Song.” ″I thought: What a waste. I just burned off a great idea on this music video,” said Wright. “Ironically, years later, it became a way of post-dating the idea.” Wright held onto the idea however, and wrote the script for the film around 2010. That year he also began talking to ex-convicts for research, peppering them with questions about what, if anything, they listened to during heists.
The video for “Chase Me” by Danger Mouse ft. RTJ & Big Boi perfectly highlights the way Baby Driver combines music and film to create a perfectly synched, action packed representation of Wright’s vision. Ansel Elgort is seen in the beginning sitting in the driver’s seat of the getaway car, turning on his iPod and waiting for his partners.
They coming running out of the bank, money bags in hand, and the car chase between the getaway car and the cops begins. Each move the car makes, every quick turn and speedy decision made by Elgort, is perfectly in sync with the music. The entire video takes place in the getaway car as the rhythm of the music dictates every decision, every move.
This film acts differently than a musical. Instead of starting with a story then incorporating music and musical numbers, it is the music that drives the story. Baby Driver begins with the music, while the story conforms to it.
This is something new, never having been done before in music or film. Baby Driver brings about an exciting new concept in which music and cinema can exist together. Instead of taking the backdrop, the film shows the power music has to influence and tell a story, giving it the opportunity to take center stage.
Baby Driver hits theaters June 28th.
Watch: “Chase Me” by Danger Mouse ft. RTJ & Big Boi