Baby Driver Interview with Ansel Elgort, Lily James, and Edgar Wright
I was lucky enough to attend the World Premiere of Baby Driver at SXSW back in March. As I big fan of Edgar Wright’s films, I was very interested in seeing the film since it seemed like a different type of film when comparing it to his previous projects. To not much surprise, I found myself enamored with the film. After the premiere, I immediately returned to my hotel room to share my thoughts and feelings on the film.
With Baby Driver, opening in theaters everywhere today, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, the world can now witness the awesomeness that is Edgar Wright’s music infused action extravaganza. I was lucky enough to sit down with Ansel Elgort, Lily James, and Edgar Wright a few weeks ago to discuss the film with them.
Scott Menzel: The movie premiered at South by Southwest, which is where I saw the film. What was your SXSW experience like and how did you enjoy the crowd’s reaction to the film?
Ansel Elgort: Lily wasn’t there.
Lilly James: I wasn’t, there I couldn’t go. I was so sad
Ansel Elgort: It was insane. It was so cool. I have felt that sort of reaction before, but this time it was from men who were above the age of 30. It was like, “Wow, I think now I might have a new fan base who might appreciate what I do,” which is really cool. Yeah, I’m glad this movie is going to open those doors for me.
Edgar Wright: It was great. I’d actually never had a movie in a festival before release ever, so it was a new experience for me because usually my movies have been the usual thing of press screenings before it comes out and a premiere and stuff, but that was the first time I’d ever had a festival experience. It was great.
Scott Menzel: How did you guys create such wonderful chemistry? How do you guys create such a dynamic, because everyone’s talking about the action, but I feel like your relationship is the driving force of the movie, in between the action sequences?
Ansel Elgort: Thank you.
Lilly James: Thank you.
Ansel Elgort: She’s really easy to have chemistry with.
Lilly James: Well, that’s so sweet. We didn’t have a chemistry test or anything. We just met on the first day of rehearsals, and it felt really sort of natural and easy. I think if you’re open and willing to sort of really kind of connect with someone, then things can really happen, you know.
Scott Menzel: Edgar, I feel like you have touched upon so many different genres. You started off with a sci-fi British sitcom, and then you did the Cornetto trilogy that everyone loves with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and now, this movie. Baby Driver feels extremely different from everything you’ve done before were there any struggles with making this type of film for you? And I just want to say that you nailed this I feel like you’re going to become the go-to action director now.
Edgar Wright: Oh thank you. Well, I mean the funny thing is that a lot of people have said that it’s a departure from the other films, and the thing that’s ironic about that is the idea pre-dates Shaun and Spaced and everything. I guess it’s also something, like one of the reasons I didn’t do it before is also just building up the confidence to pull it off. 20 years ago when I was first thinking of this idea, I hadn’t even been to the United States. Actually, maybe 1997 was the first time I came to the states, either way, I hadn’t been living in the states, and I hadn’t spent time here, so it wasn’t really until ten years ago after Hot Fuzz that I started spending more time in the states that I just started to feel like, oh if I’m going to write an American crime film, I gotta really get to know the country, so it was just sort of a long process of building up the confidence to go for it, you know?
Scott Menzel: And was there anything that inspired Baby Driver?
Edgar Wright: I guess a love of music, and also a love of car chase movies as a teenager, you know? Really it’s the marrying two passions together, action movies and a love of music.
Scott Menzel: Can you talk about working with Edgar, I mean I love all his stuff, it’s all so unique and original.
Ansel Elgort: Yeah, I mean Edgar has his own style, and we all knew that he was going to do something very special with this. From the time that we read the script, the script itself was like bursting off the page, the same way the movie does. Then I remember immediately Edgar showing me a bunch of animatics, sort of little mini animated versions of the scenes that we ended up doing.
Sort of just like storyboards that were moving because he wanted to see them move with the music. It was just, it was so impressive watching the process of starting our day with the animatic, shooting the scene, and then onset they would edit it, and at the end of the day we’d have our scene. It was just so clear, Edgar knew exactly what he wanted, and he wasn’t going to set to start to figure stuff out. He figured everything out, which I haven’t worked with a director like that, who’s done that.
Baby Driver is now playing in theaters.