It’s the movie of the moment Wright now (please lord forgive me for I know not what I pun). In the country to promote the Australian release of “Baby Driver” at a series of Q&A screenings, I had the privilege of having an interview 2:1 roundtable chat with Edgar Wright alongside The Reel Bits’ Richard (@dvdbits) Gray. In our short time together, my focus was on two key social media interactions. The first involved Wright reading about acclaimed 70s New Hollywood, ‘Mount Rushmore’ filmmaker, Peter Bogdanovich. After seeing Wright reading Bogdanovich’s book ‘Who the Hell’s In It’ (pictured below) I was inspired to ask about the prospect of recasting “Baby Driver” through the ages. Wright then digressed to discuss his obsession with the attribution of the iconic speech from “The Wild Angels.”
“Funnily enough Peter Bogdanovich emailed me last night. A) He’d seen the movie, and B) he said somebody told me that you were on Instagram reading my book…I was trying to get out of him, I have this theory and I’m trying to nail him down on it, is that he unofficially rewrote “The Wild Angels.” So I was trying to get from Peter Bogdanovich, ‘Did you write the speech? That’s in the Primal Scream song, that’s also in “The World’s End.” You know “I want to be free to do what I do!” I said, ‘Did you write that in?’ He said, ‘I wrote 80% of it, but I don’t actually remember. So I’m going to make him watch it and say ‘Specifically this bit…If you wrote it, that’s major.'”
The second was the below pictured tweet from the incredible, Oscar-winning writer/director Christopher McQuarrie.
The concept of an imperfect or raw cut of “Baby Driver” was too salivating a prospect not to explore. Wright had this to say about the cut that he’d circulated to not only McQuarrie, but also Dr. George Miller.
“It was basically the same movie…We did some re-shoots…There wasn’t anything we cut out, it was sort of an additive thing. About six months after the main shoot we did 4 days of pickups, and we just bolstered a couple of sequences. There was one character whose death the original cut was more ambiguous. When a test audience is confused as to whether somebody’s alive or dead, then we really need to make sure that character is dead dead.
I changed the first scene with Joe, the foster father. That was originally a bigger dance number that will hopefully be on the DVD. Out of context it was a really fun scene, but I think where it landed in the running order of the film, you could tell that some members of the audience were really enjoying, and some members of the audience were thinking ‘Where is this going, this movie?’ So I changed that and gave Joe a better introduction. In the new version, Joe the foster father was given a much better introduction to the movie. There was an extra scene shot with Ansel and Lily. Sort of little additive bits to punch things up. We added some action to the end sequence as well.”
We’ll have to wait and see for the home entertainment release of “Baby Driver” to see what Mr. McQuarrie saw and have to keep following @EdgarWright through the various social pipes to see if he can force a directorial legend to revisit some past work.