Edgar Wright‘s “Baby Driver” surprised everyone by speeding through the summer box office, racking up an impressive 93% Rotten Tomatoes score in the process. The TriStar Pictures release centers on Baby (Golden Globe nominee Ansel Elgort), a young getaway driver with a love for music who finds himself taking place in a doomed heist. Gold Derby recently spoke with Wright, film editors Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss, and sound designer/re-recording mixer/supervising sound editor Julian Slater about their work on the film.
“The association between music and images is always something that’s very strong for me,” reveals Wright, who first came up with the idea when he was just 21 years old. While fleshing out this passion project for over two decades, “It just fed into my own music and listening habits, and the way that I respond to music in life.” The film features an almost continuous soundtrack, with music underscoring and complimenting the numerous car chases. “They’re all songs that I would listen to and have in my library, and really it’s just things that conjure up images.”
“It was always going to be about the music and about how the action, and indeed the dialogue and just about every aspect of the film is integrated to the music,” explains Machliss. “Rather than putting an action sequence together… you would put an action sequence together relevant to where the music was, or where the music had to be. So you always had something in the background that was the heartbeat of a sequence.”
Complicated as it was, Machliss and Amos relished the opportunity. “I’d say it’s a dream, personally,” divulges Amos. “We’ve worked with Edgar a couple of times,” he adds, “and every single time you come to work in the morning, there’s almost an anticipation of seeing the rushes, because you know that there’s going to be something extraordinary. He’s just a visual genius, Edgar, and he thinks about film in a way which no other director that I can really think of thinks about it.”
Slater recalls that when he first read Wright’s script, “it was this iPad app that played the music in sync with the page turns. He obviously wrote it with sound in mind. It’s in the DNA of the movie.” For his work, the 25-year sound veteran and his team “had to change the way we worked” in order to synchronize “whatever Baby is listening to at that time” with “the diegetic and the real world sounds” around him. “We had to tempo out each piece of music” so that, for instance, the police sirens chasing Baby or the gunshots in a shootout “are all in tempo with the music.”
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