Culture

Car Chase Choreography: The Musical World of Baby Driver

21 July 2017
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The latest film from writer-director Edgar Wright, Baby Driver is a movie with a heart that beats to the rhythm of exhilarating music. An action-heist thriller like no other, Baby Driver distinguishes itself with a star-studded cast, snappy dialogue, hectic car chases and a killer soundtrack.

Virtually the entire film is set to carefully curated music heard through the ears of the film’s eponymous hero Baby. A young gun getaway driver armed with an endless supply of iPods, Baby’s headphones equip Wright’s film with a diegetic soundtrack that leaves its mark on every scene.

The film is completely driven by the soundtrack with every engine rev, gear shift and gun shot precisely synced to the music blasting from Baby’s earbuds.

With music at the very core of Baby Driver it’s no wonder Wright sought to fill his cast with musicians. The film’s cast stars actor-musician Jamie Foxx, Lily James (star of Disney’s live-action Cinderella) and features cameos from Flea (bassist for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers), and rappers Killer Mike and Big Boi, who also contribute to the film’s soundtrack.

The film’s star, Ansel Elgort, playing Baby, was quick to highlight the importance of music in Wright’s vision of the film.

“It was a very musical set, which made it really cool. I think Edgar wanted to get a group of people who were all very musical”.

An accomplished musician in his own right as an EDM DJ/producer, Elgort’s passion for music became immediately clear in our interview with the young actor sharing his excitement to be in the city that’s home to Will Sparks and the source of the 2013 EDM movement, Melbourne Bounce. Elgort went on to describe getting to share his music on set with Jamie Foxx and taking part in a late night studio session with Foxx and Flea after filming wrapped one day.

Elgort highlighted his own music career as having offered a personal connection to his character. “I’ve spent so many sleepless nights making music, so I could totally relate”, he said, referencing Baby’s obsession with music.

The challenge of meticulously choreographing every sequence of the film to music might at first sound imposing, but Lily James, the actress portraying love interest Debora, found that the film’s musical structure had a unique effect on the cast’s performances.

“You’d think that it maybe would get in the way but actually it didn’t. It felt really organic and kind of motivated the emotion and encouraged a kind of freedom of expression”.

The integration of music into every aspect of Baby Driver is the defining element of Wright’s latest film. The carefully selected soundtrack meticulously synced to the film’s action elevates Baby Driver from a car chase movie to a thrilling sequence of high octane music videos crafted by a world-class director.

See it in a theatre with loud speakers.