5 Ways to Prep: Baby Driver
By George Rose
July 3, 2017
3) Ant-Man (2015)
I didn’t know who Edgar Wright was until I heard he was writing/directing Ant-Man, because I’m obsessed with Marvel and research the company daily. It was then I realized he was the one who directed the three comedies I enjoyed featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Those films were Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End; all were quite enjoyable and very well reviewed, but I was young and didn’t care as much about directors so Wright’s name went unnoticed. I feel bad for Wright and want Baby Driver to do well because he got the Giant-Man shaft during the production of Ant-Man.
He was hired to write/produce/direct the film and bring his unique sense of humor and action to the helm, only to later leave the set due to “creative differences.” AKA he went too far off the Marvel path and was replaced with someone more agreeable. If rumors that the heart of Wright’s version lives on in the bones of the final Ant-Man film, then we are the luckier for it. The movie is a hidden gem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it takes one of their lesser-known heroes and puts him into a bank-heist-esque action film with interesting and unexpected viewpoints on being the world’s smallest savior. I wish I liked the movie less so I could side with Wright on this one, but whatever input he had that made it to the final cut worked wonders for the audience.
4) Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
Aside from directing the critically acclaimed comedy trilogy featuring the Pegg/Frost combo pack, Edgar Wright did direct one other movie prior to Baby Driver. This isn’t just any movie, either. This is one of the greatest comic book adaptations ever to hit the big screen. Though I never read any of the Scott Pilgrim stories, I was OBSESSED with the movie. Featuring a who’s-who of rising stars (Michael Cera, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick) and now fallen celebrities (Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman), this is the video-game-inspired story of a nerdy bass player in a band who battles with music on stage and against the evils known as ex-boyfriends.
The film fuses gaming, music, action and romance in a perfectly pixelated pixie stick of insanity and showcases the many talents of a director that deserved our attention long before Baby Driver came out. To have either the vision or the ability to execute such an achievement in filmmaking is a rare quality, yet somehow writer/producer/director Edgar Wright does both and more. To have all five of your films receive a score above 80% on RT is unheard of, but Wright has done just that. With Baby Driver sitting at 98% positive reviews, I can’t wait to see what passion project Wright chooses as his next directorial effort.
5) The Nice Guys (2016)
Marvel loves taking unknown yet acclaimed talent and putting them in the director’s chair of one of their superhero films. As a reward of sorts, these directors will then take their newfound fame and small fortune and go off to make a passion project. Wright is super famous to a small group of cinema geeks but is otherwise unknown, was hired to write/direct Ant-Man, and was hoping he’d get to make Baby Driver afterwards. After his early Ant-Man departure, it was a shock to Wright that he’d still be given a chance to direct the movie of his dreams. Another case of this same situation would be Shane Black. He wrote/directed the acclaimed but little-seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, got hired on the cheap to direct Iron Man 3, then went on to make his passion project, The Nice Guys.
Starring Ryan “I clearly love retro throwback films” Gosling and Russell “please forget I’m a homewrecker with anger issues” Crowe, The Nice Guys is a comedy about mismatched private investigators in the 1970s who must work together to solve the crime of a porn star’s death. Quirky, right? With a 92% positive rating, it shows that good directors can go on to make pretty good Marvel movies and then keep their momentum going with well reviewed movies of deeply personal interest. However, it also shows that even though you’re a good director with a hit Marvel movie under your belt, most people don’t know or care about directors not named Steven Spielberg. Despite the reviews, the film only earned $36 million domestically, a sad number considering the talent involved. It’s a fate I don’t wish for Baby Driver and one I’m certain it will avoid.
Less a “Thanks, Marvel, for helping me get to work on my dream project,” and more of a “Screw you, Marvel, I’m moving on to bigger things than Ant-Man,” Baby Driver is the potential blockbuster in the making that is sure to have Marvel wondering if their plan to move past Wright’s vision was the best choice they could have made. Regardless, with two sexy rising stars, a supporting cast of famous faces (Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx), a killer soundtrack and 98% positive reviews, Baby Driver is more than just this week’s pick for ways to prep; it might just very well end up being the best movie of the summer.