The full genesis of Edgar Wright's surprise summer smash was among the many fascinating anecdotes the English filmmaker shared at his three-hour talk on music in film at the Vista Theater in Los Angeles, part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival Los Angeles. Wright has always had a keen understanding for the way music can manipulate and enhance a scene, from the comedic juxtaposition of a zombie getting pummeled to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" in "Shaun of the Dead" to the intricately choreographed action sequences in "Baby Driver" and at Monday's event, he opened up about both his own movies and the films and music videos that influenced him.
Although many other directors are skilled at weaving licensed pop music into their films, Wright elevated this technique to high art in "Baby Driver." Add in the modern cult classic "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," which centers on a lovelorn twentysomething in a garage rock band, and it's clear that Wright's distinct cinematic vision has always been fueled by a deep love for music.
Wright spoke extensively about those two films at the event, which alternated between clips of his influences and his own work. The first clip screened was Busby Berkley's "I Only Have Eyes For You" dance number from "Dames" and it's pretty easy to drawn a straight line between that surreal fantasy sequence and Wright's own flights of romantic whimsy. What was particularly interesting was that while a few of the film's he cited--"2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Goodfellas"--might have been somewhat obvious choices, the scenes he picked weren't.
Wright's commentary about his own films was equally captivating. He jokingly mentioned how the music in the Sex Bob-Omb vs. The Katayanagi Twins scene in "Scott Pilgrim" was Beck vs. Japanese Beck (Cornelius) and that the bass-off was recorded as an actual bass guitar battle live in the studio. These types of behind-the-scenes details provided an interesting glimpse into the filmmaking process, while his commentary on the other clips opened a window into his creative influences.
Marked by humor and candor, Wright's conversation was a treat for music nerds and film lovers alike. Check out a few photos of the event above and click here for more coverage of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival.