About That Red Impreza, And Other Unsung Stars In Baby Driver
Much has already been said about Ansel Elgort and the Baby Driver soundtrack—the standout stars of director Edgar Wright’s latest movie. But because film is a collaborative medium, and the end result is always greater than the sum of its parts, we’ve decided to highlight a few other aspects of Baby Driver that deserve recognition.
Subaru Impreza WRX
While everyone’s first impression of a getaway vehicle is a souped-up American muscle car, Baby Driver’s titular character drives a 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX. The choice was made in the name of realism—Subarus are fairly common, but the WRX is known for its performance and motorsports heritage. In real robberies, two cars are used: one for the job and one for the getaway. Both are stolen from long-term parking structures on the day of the robbery, and are disposed of afterwards. So unless someone left their ‘68 Mustang in an airport parking lot for a couple of weeks, a real heist car would be as inconspicuous as a modest red Subaru.
Stunt driver Jeremy Fry, who has driven for high-octane films like Drive and John Wick: Chapter 2, gets credit for many of Baby Driver’s more complicated sequences. Though Elgort was often in the driver’s seat (which you could also credit to a crash course by Fry), some sequences required the actor to do more acting than driving. For these, one of the five Subarus used in production was customized with controls on the roof of the car, allowing Fry to drive while Elgort focused on his performance.
After shooting in London and California was ruled out, Wright rewrote the film and set it in Atlanta, a city that doesn’t often get a chance to play itself in movies (Atlanta has been a stand-in for New York, Los Angeles, and even South Africa). Besides its rich history in heist films and music, Atlanta was chosen for a number of practical reasons. It’s one of many tax-break cities that are easy to shoot in; and Wright, in a discussion with CNET, has reasoned that “It's because banks are right near freeway exits. You just get straight onto the [Interstate] 5 and then disappear. In London, there is no freeway in the middle of town.”
Also, a number of Atlanta establishments play crucial roles and are namechecked in the film, such as Octane Coffee, a local chain where Baby gets sent for coffee runs; Bacchanalia, where Baby takes Deborah on their first date; and Goodfellas Pizza & Wings where Baby takes a job as a delivery boy. Most notable however, is the ubiquitous presence of Atlanta-based Coca Cola throughout the film. When the gang silently slides into a diner booth, the waitress quickly hands them their Coke, unprompted.
Baby Driver has been Edgar Wright’s passion project for over a decade, and before that, it was an idea he had after seeing Walter Hill’s The Driver (which itself is often cited by directors like Quentin Tarantino and Michael Mann as a major influence). Baby Driver had been gestating inside Wright for so long that he even used it for a 2002 music video for “Blue Song” by Mint Royale, featuring Nick Frost, who would later go on to star in more Wright films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. And as much as the film is a vehicle for its star, Ansel Elgort, it’s also very much an Edgar Wright film, as evidenced by the meticulous, detail-obsessed directorial handiwork that’s fingerprinted throughout. While a film is greater than the sum of its parts, it’s also nothing without someone driving a strong, clear vision to the finish line—and with Baby Driver, Wright proved himself capable of that yet again.