The song that begat ‘Baby Driver,’ a quasi-musical on wheels

NEW YORK (AP) — In the jagged grooves and quivering violins of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song “Bellbottoms,” a young Edgar Wright heard a movie.

When Wright first started fanatically listening to the lead track off the band’s “Orange” album in 1995, the British writer-director had a vision that has culminated, more than two decades later, with his new film, “Baby Driver.”

“The idea for this movie is as old as ‘Orange’” Wright said in an interview. “I was either 20 or 21 and I had just moved to London. I was working on my first movie I ever made. I was completely broke. I think I had a cassette of ‘Orange’ that I had copied off of someone else, maybe my brother. I listened to ‘Bellbottoms’ all the time. I just started to visualize this car chase. I’d think, ‘This would be the perfect car chase song in a movie, but what’s the movie?’”

“Baby Driver,” it turned out, was the movie, but it took years for Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” ”Hot Fuzz”) to find the story that matched his initial inspiration. Eventually he hit on his protagonist: an uncommonly young, fresh-faced getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who obsessively syncs his life and his car chases to the music of his iPod. The movie wouldn’t just tie together song and cinema; it would be about the fusion of music and action.

While not exactly a musical, “Baby Driver” (which opens Wednesday) was built on top of its soundtrack, starting with “Bellbottoms.” Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run” plays during a tight squeeze. A hair-raising escape is set to the Damned’s “Neat, Neat, Neat.” Things happen on the beat.

Wright had to secure his soundtrack’s rights before shooting; many of the songs, like the Blues…

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