SXSW: "Baby Driver" red carpet Q&A

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Photo Credit: Emmanuel Briseño | Daily Texan Staff

Crime thriller “Baby Driver” premiered at the Paramount Theater on Saturday evening as part of the SXSW film festival. The film is centered around Baby (Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver with Tinnitus who must use the beat of his own soundtrack to escape the criminal lifestyle forced upon him by mob boss Doc (Kevin Spacey).

Actors Jon Hamm and Ansel Elgort, actress Eiza Gonzalez and Director Edgar Wright walked the SXSW red carpet before the premiere. The Daily Texan got the chance to speak with each of individuals about their characters, preparing for their roles, and more.

Eiza Gonzalez

DT: How did you prepare for the role of Darling since she’s such a complex character?

EG: It was a very complex character. I got to shoot a lot of machine guns which are not easy to carry, and you also want to look sleek while doing it. You want to look like you actually know how to shoot a machine gun and not like your arms are made of jello. I had to do a lot of physical training, a lot of weight lifting and driving. There was a lot of character prep as well. I didn’t want her to just be a badass because that’s an obvious thing. My acting coach, John Markland is amazing. We just came up with these things that actually became so interesting to the character. That just shows the world inside her brain, and that was the important thing to me – giving her a life of her own with a backstory.

Edgar Wright

DT:  Your past films like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” have humorous tones to them. How was it like switching over to a more intense thriller film like “Baby Driver”?

EW: I don’t think it’s really that different. It’s definitely got a different tone to the other movies, but I think if you’re a fan of my previous movies, you’ll see elements in there that carry over. There are moments of comedy, action and music. But overall, it’s a more intense movie because the stakes of the movie are more realistic and vivid, and there’s not really a fantasy element.

DT: Was there any role that was especially difficult to cast?

EW: I think the part of Baby, the lead role, was the one I saw the most people for because it’s a very demanding role. I saw several actors for it, and when I saw Ansel for the first time, he was one of the favorites immediately.

Jon Hamm

DT: Tell me more about your character Buddy. What was it like getting into that character and taking on the role of a villain?

JH: It was exciting. The great thing about the film was the musical element. We had a lot of time to rehearse, which you don’t usually get in films. You’re usually kind of up and running and time is money. But Edgar and the producers very wisely built in this really nice rehearsal schedule, and that was lovely. We had the ability to actually sit with the material, talk about it and do a table reading. We also got to rehearse all of the movement and the choreography. It’s obviously a very stunt heavy film too, so that part is very tricky. When you have cars and guns and explosions, you don’t necessarily want to under rehearse that stuff because you could lose a finger or toe or something, and nobody wants any of that either. But it was still exciting and unique.

Ansel Elgort

DT: How was the experience like having to act and film to music that is essentially the soundtrack of your character’s existence?

AE: It was great. A lot of my life is about music also, and the way I got into movies was through musical theater. So I’m very used to doing things to music or choreography or walking in time or dancing in time, so it was sort of like going back to how I started which is really comfortable for me.