In a recent episode of The Director’s Cut, the Directors Guild of America’s official podcast, Christopher Nolan and Edgar Wright speak about the music synchronisation as well as general audio work in Baby Driver.
At minute mark 8:09 Christopher Nolan mentions he’s always been writing to music and Edgar Wright agrees he’s been doing the same from the start; always to instrumentals, scores and dance music though to not get distracted by lyrics. When Edgar Wright started working on Baby Driver, there wasn’t any iPod around so his idea of “soundtracking your life” as he calls it was very early in his head and he wanted to shoot a film about someone who can’t move if a specific song is not playing.
Since Edgar Wright can’t read music he approached music editor Steven Price 10 years ago – who then went on winning the Academy Award for Best Score as a composer for Gravity. Steven Price broke down all the tracks Edgar Wright found to be important for Baby Driver and sent him the musical info via a pdf. Edgar Wright then wrote what’s happening in the action and what’s happening in the specific song together, to get the idea across of the music and the action being completely interlinked (“if the song was five minutes long, [the scene] was five pages”). He even wrote the song titles in the script even though everyone tells you not to because music publishers who somehow hear about it will instantly raise the songs price when approached to get a license for the song. Sometimes he even went as far as letting the music dictate what’s happening in the particular scene.
To present his idea of this main audio concept of the film to the studio or actors, Edgar Wright then let his friend Mark Nicholson aka Osymyso mix sound effects into the songs at the exact timing they would be heard in the car chases and shootouts.
Listen to the full conversation below: