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Edgar Wright fans, buckle in for some good news.
The director’s latest film, Baby Driver, made its world premiere Saturday night at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, drawing positive reactions and big applause from a vocal crowd at Austin’s Paramount Theatre.
Wright, who wrote and directed the musically-charged action thriller, was on hand to introduce the film and took part in a Q&A moderated by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez after its conclusion. Stars Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, and Eiza Gonzalez also answered questions from Rodriguez and the crowd.
Elgort stars as the titular character, a young getaway driver working for a crime boss played by Kevin Spacey (Gonzalez, Hamm, and Jamie Foxx play various other criminals in the heist ring). “Baby” listens to music almost constantly — a way to drown out tinnitus, or ringing in his ears — and the movie’s high-octane car chases and action sequences are all choreographed to those tracks.
Wright told the audience he first had the idea for what would become Baby Driver more than two decades ago. He did a first read-through of a draft in 2012 that included Hamm, the only actor who stayed through to the finished film (in a part that was written with him in mind). The Scott Pilgrim vs. The World filmmaker also had all the music planned out before cameras rolled.
“It was all written into the script,” Wright said. “When I started actually writing it I had ideas for set pieces, so just through listening to my record collection I would visualize themes and then when I wrote the rest of the script I wouldn’t write the scene until I found the right track.”
He said the film’s stunts were done with no CGI for the car sequences and minimal green screen, and many were shot during the daytime and on main streets and freeways in Atlanta. “It was incredibly difficult … people who do great car scenes, I’m always in awe of them, and now having made those sequences I’m even more in awe of people who do those things because they’re as arduous to make as they are fun to watch.” Wright also shared that he’d strap himself to the car during the chase scenes instead of following behind in a second vehicle, so he could better see the action and communicate with his cast. “[It was] one of those hair-brained things that once you’ve committed to you have to do it,” he said. (Hamm joked that from his point of view, Wright looked like a “floppy, sunburned muppet.”)
Baby Driver, which also stars Lily James and Jon Bernthal, speeds into theaters on Aug 11. Check out the film’s trailer above, and more reactions to the film below.