Edgar Wright’s style of directing may not make him the best fit for every studio, but the early buzz around Baby Driver proves that the auteur can still produce gold when given free reign. Like many directors with a unique vision and work ethic, Edgar Wright only puts out a film every few years. When he does, however, it’s a project he’s passionate about and has a heavy hand in making. While none have been smash financial successes, they’ve all been critically praised and have intense cult followings. The upcoming Baby Driver hasn’t even hit theaters yet, and already legions of fans are creating art inspired by a movie they haven’t seen.
Of course, if you’ve followed Wright’s career, it’s not hard to see why counting your eggs before they hatch is a safe bet. From the intriguing premise to the all-star cast, Baby Driver looks to be another hit for Wright. Meanwhile, early buzz from SXSW has allowed the film to enjoy praise for the past few months. With the debut right around the corner, the latest trailer even touts the accolades the film is receiving. Though the cast and crew are certainly responsible for a lot of that success, Wright deserves the lion’s share for directing and writing the heist movie. For many, Wright’s approach could come off like that of a taskmaster. For the cast, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We recently sat down with actor Jon Bernthal and asked him about his role in Baby Driver and what it was like to work with Wright, and he had nothing but praise for the auteur:
“Look, I mean, obviously, that’s why you sign on to something like this, to work with someone like that. He’s a visionary. Every director, every job is different. I think with this particular project, it’s so specific, this movie already existed in Edgar’s mind before. You know, sometimes you get called into something and even with the great directors, it’s kind of like, you all get there and you play and you sort of figure it out, what it is. I think he’s different. I think these films exist in his mind before you get there. You know, not to take the onus off myself or the other performers, I can only speak for myself, but it kind of takes all pressure off of you, you sort of just show up and be an uber marionette for what he wants. Since so much of this movie is set to music, it’s really about fitting in in the strict choreography. I think there’s a freedom in limits. But think, like I said, the movie exists in his mind, and it’s sort of, you know, when he says jump, ask him how high once you’re already in the air. It’s a long-ass answer to a short-ass question.”
As Bernthal notes, he can only speak to his experience. But Wright’s collaborators seem to be just as enamored with him as fans. Though he’s working with a different batch of actors than he usually does, he still returns to a lot of the same performers when crafting a film. All told, it seems that his style and approach come off as refreshing to actors, which is likely why they deliver such powerful performances. Of course, that kind of creative freedom can sometimes be at odds with a bigger studio.
When Wright has worked in the indie world, the results seem to be along the lines of what he envisions from the get-go. Sadly, Wright’s decade of work on Ant-Man for Marvel Studios didn’t yield the same results. While Peyton Reed’s final film was highly enjoyable, it’s not hard to see Wright’s version looking like a cross between Scott Pilgrim and Baby Driver, had he been given the freedom he wanted.
Luckily, Baby Driver was allowed to grow and evolve as Wright saw fit. And while we’ll have to wait to see if the writer/director has once again succeeded, the outlook appears positive. If the film is a hit, perhaps the Simon and Garfunkel Cinematic Universe will see the light of day. Until then, Baby Driver looks to be one hell of a ride.
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