I put off transcribing this interview for all the usual reasons, the specific horror of listening to your own voice for example, but this time I added a new one. I’m pretty sure I was a huge dork during the chat. Dork is a classic word we should never let go out of style. I’m a fan of Edgar Wright’s work (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs the World) and there was just no way that was not going to make a huge splash all over this conversation. Baby Driver is a really great heist movie with a pretty fantastic soundtrack. So while this interview is sort of low on the Baby Driver talk and somewhat higher on the music talk than usual, it ended up being a playlist of sorts. So now the interview about the movie with the wonderful soundtrack has a mini soundtrack of its own.
Baby Driver opens Wednesday, June 28.
Brightest Young Things: Hi, I’m Jennifer.
Edgar Wright: Hello Jennifer, it’s nice to meet you.
BYT: Can I share with you an anecdote up top? And then I have an unorthodox request.
EW: Of course.
BYT: I interviewed Emily and Kumail a couple of weeks ago for The Big Sick and I was really proud of myself for noticing a Shaun of the Dead poster in the film. When I chatted with them I couldn’t wait, this was going to be my big question, I said, “I’m interviewing Edgar Wright in a couple of weeks do you have a question for him?
EW: And they were like, “We’re best friends in Los Angeles.”
BYT: That’s exactly what they said! The amount of back patting that I did, thinking no one else was going to have this question. I said, “So in two weeks I’m interviewing…” and Emily goes, “Edgar Wright! We know him.” I was visibly deflated.
EW: [Laughs] We literally…they’re like my neighbors. We’re very close to each other, close enough that they are my go-to people to say, “Hey you guys want to get breakfast?” They’re those guys. And it’s usually on a Sunday we’ll get brunch together. I’ve had breakfast, brunch and dinner with Kumail and Emily so we’re very close.
BYT: That is pretty close.
EW: We hang out a lot! I see them a lot.
BYT: I was so proud of myself but they blew that out of the water! My hope for Baby Driver is there is an iPod revival.
EW: I still use mine! I have my iPod upstairs. It’s the iPod classic. I actually met somebody from Apple the other day who’s seen the movie and I told him I was still using my iPod and he went, “Oh right, we should get you on Apple Music.” And I said, “No, I’m on Apple Music,” and he said “Oh, so why do you still use the iPod?” I just like having a hard drive. Streaming is okay but streaming also kind of craps out a lot of the time so I much prefer the iPod because it’s there and I put the music on myself.
BYT: I’d feel the same way if I ever updated my playlist. I have so much 90’s music on my iPod it’s starting to look like every volume of Jock Jams.
EW: What’s Jock Jams?
BYT: You don’t know what Jock Jams is? This is exciting. Jock Jams is a series of CD’s in released in the 90’s that has songs like Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do it,” and other songs for jocks to jam to.
EW: Jock Jams, that’s actually the name of the series?
BYT: Oh yes. Speaking of jams I was sorry to miss your Q&A last night. I had tickets to see Eddie Izzard so I had to split time between British people this week.
EW: You missed me doing a Q&A with Jake Tapper. I’m supposed to be having dinner with him tonight and I met him for the first time last night. The reason he did the Q&A is we’re Twitter friends or rather I noticed he also followed me on Twitter and I was like “Oh, hello” so I messaged him and said “Hey man!” and he said “Oh I’m a huge fan of Scott Pilgrim.”
BYT: Really? Jake Tapper’s favorite film of yours is Scott Pilgrim? I love Scott Pilgrim but I guess I just don’t see Jake Tapper as a Scott Pilgrim fan.
EW: I think it’s because he’s a cartoonist as well.
BYT: Wow, I guess I don’t really know anything about Jake Tapper.
EW: [Laughs] It’s true. He is!
BYT: So here is my unorthodox request which I’m not sure you’ll be into because it does take a little bit of effort. I promise will get to Baby Driver after this!
EW: [Laughs] We have time.
BYT: The last thing I want to do is exchange our favorite dance songs, the one song you absolutely have to dance to when you hear it. I don’t want us to tell each other, but rather we’ll play them.
EW: I can play you one. I think about this…someone asked me what one song you can listen to forever. This is the song I think is just like, well there are several, but for some reason this one is kind of always at the forefront of my mind.
EW: (hands me his phone) You can write it down.
BYT: Oh I know it!
EW: I wasn’t sure if you did. Please note for the record that Edgar is dancing in his chair but isn’t actually getting up.
BYT: Please also note for the record I am as well but I think people will care less about that. My song will probably be a little more obvious and not as fun as this song. You might know it right away.
EW: [Laughs] Can we play Beat Shazam then you just play music and we try to name what they are? That would be the best interview ever. You play some famous songs and I try to guess them.
BYT: I wanted to kind of do that but my editor thought I wouldn’t have enough time!
EW: [Laughs] What is this interview for? I’m not sure.
BYT: It’s for a publication called Brightest Young Things and I am not young. (hits play)
BYT: Do you not know this song? There is a cover of it featured prominently on the Scream soundtrack. You don’t know this song?
EW: Maybe not.
BYT: Oh my God.
EW: Keep playing it, let me see if I can get it. I do not know this song.
BYT: “Whisper to a Scream”
EW: Who’s it by?
BYT: Icicle Works.
EW: Ohhhhh, they’re an Australian band.
BYT: The reason why I wanted to focus on music is obviously the music in Baby Driver is almost one of the stars, I would argue. When you handed Ansel an iPod for the first time was he like “What is this I’m 20 something?”
EW: Oh no no he knew the iPod. To just feel super old Ansel was…when did the iPod start? In 2001? Ansel was 7.
BYT: Cool, that’s a fun game I like to play with young people. This film is also a love story 14 million times over. There are a lot of relationships.
EW: Why 14 million?
BYT: You have Ansel and music. Ansel and his parents. Ansel and his foster father. Ansel and Debra. Kevin Spacey and Money. Jamie Foxx and…
BYT:…the game! Yes. I’m a very emotional film watcher and this movie brought that out of me more than your other films which are more comedy driven. This was much less so. Why? Are you just at that point in your life?
EW: I never intended it to be a comedy as such. It was supposed to be you know a heist kind of movie. The romance part is important and you’re right all of the characters love something. I think one of the ways Kevin Spacey is fantastic, there’s a moment in the film where he’s very sort of paternalistic to Ansel and there is a moment in the film where Ansel says “No,” and Kevin sort of reacts like a spiteful ex. He gets really personal and really mean really quickly. I think the way he played it is really sort of brilliant. He likes Baby when Baby is saying yes. When he hears the word no he gets really really vindictive and mean. Also the way Jon Hamm and Eiza Gonzalez are…when you see the two of them together you know what the story is just as a visual.
BYT: They’re very dysfunctional and their relationship works in its dysfunction which shows there truly is someone for everyone.
EW: There is!
BYT: Okay we have time for one more question. We already did the dance off. I did have another song option though.
EW: [Laughs] Let’s hear it.
BYT: Are you sure we have time? It’s a Jamiroquai song.
EW: Oh which song? Play it and I’ll guess which one it is. I would have been better on this one than Icicle Works.
BYT: It’s not “Canned Heat.”
EW: Is it “The Return of the Space Cowboy?”
EW: It’s not “Virtual Insanity?”
BYT: I could never be so obvious.
EW: Oh, I know this one! Wait, tell me which one it is.