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It’s been a few years since Edgar Wright’s last film, 2013’s booze-infused science-fiction spectacular The World’s End. But it’s been many more since the writer-director first had the idea for his new film, the crime-thriller Baby Driver (out June 28). In the movie, Ansel Elgort plays a getaway driver with tinnitus and the action onscreen is choreographed to the music the character plays to drown out the ringing in his ears. Wright initially dreamed up this conceit back in the mid-’90s, when he was editing his very first film, 1995’s micro-budgeted A Fistful of Fingers. His inspiration? The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s just-released album Orange and, in particular, the collection’s opening track, “Bellbottoms,” the track which accompanies the opening sequence in Baby Driver.
“Here’s the funny thing — I had made a movie, but I don’t think I would ever have dared say that I was a film director,” says Wright, whose other directing credits include Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. “I had made A Fistful of Fingers. I moved to London to edit it, and I was living in Wood Green, in North London, and trying to figure out what the next step was. I had a duped audio cassette of the Orange album — apologies to Jon Spencer — and I used to sit in my bedroom, listening to this album over and over. I started to imagine this car chase that was set to that song. I didn’t even have the character yet, but the structure of the car chase, and the bank robbery at the start of the movie, is extremely similar to what I came up with 22 years ago.”
More than two decades on, Wright has finally brought that idea to the big screen in a film which also features a cameo from Spencer himself. “I became friendly with him after Hot Fuzz,” says the director. “He’s also in the movie right at the end. I don’t want to give away what he plays, because it would tell you what happens at the very end, but Jon Spencer appears, basically, in the final scene of the movie, which was great.”
Watch the trailer for Baby Driver above and the video for “Bellbottoms” below.
Baby Driver is released, June 28.