The story behind Baby Driver’s amusing reference to the Pixar classic Monsters, Inc. has been revealed. Released last week, Edgar Wright’s innovative heist film is well on its way to becoming a modern classic already, scoring universal acclaim en route to a strong showing at the box office. Though Baby Driver is arguably the most dramatic feature of the auteur’s career, there were plenty moments of Wright’s trademark humor peppered throughout. One of the funnier bits was when Baby (Ansel Elgort) quoted the film Monsters, Inc. to Doc (Kevin Spacey) in an effort to calm the kingpin down. “You and I are a team,” Baby says. “Nothing is more important than our friendship.” That line worked on Doc earlier in the film, but had the opposite effect in the tense third act.
In classic Wright fashion, this was a payoff for something that was set up in the beginning of Baby Driver, as the clip from Monsters, Inc. plays on the television while Baby is scrolling through the channels. This came as a surprise for some, since Disney typically does not allow R-rated movies to use their footage. However, an exception was made in this particular case, and fans who enjoyed Baby channeling his inner Mike Wazowski have legendary Pixar helmsman Pete Docter to thank.
While attending a Q&A (hat tip io9), Wright mentioned that it was Docter who made the call to the Mouse House to get the approval after feeling the reference was too good to cut out of the final film. Wright shared the following statement in a DM with io9 about the behind-the-scenes story, confirming it:
“Just make sure to say that I think Pete Docter is a very fine dude indeed and that as a fan of him (‘Inside Out’ is my fav Pixar) and of the company – it was super cool of him.”
Docter is one of the most iconic figures in Pixar’s storied history, having directed a trio of massive hits – Monsters, Inc., Up, and Inside Out. He certainly has a lot of clout at the studio and would be able to make something like this possible. It’s nice to see Docter got Disney to bend the rules a bit so Baby Driver could keep one of its best jokes. There’s definitely much to enjoy about the picture, but it’s hard to think about Baby and Doc’s interactions without the Monsters, Inc. callback. It was the perfectly-timed laugh when things were just about to boil over.
This little bit of trivia is just another illustration of how Baby Driver excited many in the film industry. Shortly after its premiere, Guillermo del Toro raved about the movie on Twitter, and Docter was such a fan of it, he went the extra mile to help include a humorous beat. Baby Driver has certainly invigorated cinephiles and casual audiences alike, celebrating Wright’s opus as something that should be seen and supported on the big screen. It has something for everyone – even the most studied Pixar aficionados.
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