By Jessica Sooknanan
One of this summer’s most anticipated films, “Baby Driver,” stars a character a lot of Georgians know well — the city of Atlanta.
“We wanted to shoot Atlanta for Atlanta and that was really important to us,” director Edgar Wright told Hot Topics digital producer Jessica Sooknanan. “It was amazing shooting in Atlanta.”
“Baby Driver” follows Baby (Ansel Elgort), a young, skilled getaway driver played by Ansel Elgort serving kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey), and his cronies Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González) and Bats (Jamie Foxx).
The film was originally set in Los Angeles, but Wright and his team overhauled the script after changing the shooting location to Atlanta.
“Because most films that shoot in Atlanta, hardly any of them set them in Atlanta. And then you watch the movie and you’re like, ‘This is not New York!'” said Wright.
“With the help of a friend of mine who’s an Atlanta-born writer, I changed all of the locations to local locations […] Peachtree Center, the I-85, Buford Connector.”
And that’s just to name a few. Other shooting locations included Goodfellas Pizza and Wings, Octane Coffee, Bacchanalia and the city of Dunwoody, where one of the most heart-pounding chases occurs.
“That’s when we did the stunt with the car that drove up the wall. That was a crazy stunt,” said Elgort. “It was so cool working with this stunt team. These guys are as passionate about car stunts as Edgar is about directing, or as we are about acting.”
The cast and crew caused a few traffic snarls during shooting, shutting down major Atlanta highways.
“We got to shoot all over the incredible city of Atlanta,” said Jon Hamm. “The people were incredibly welcoming. We caused a lot of traffic, and we’re sorry for that. Atlanta already has sort of legendary traffic, so we did not help.”
Nearly every scene in this caffeinated heist flick is set to a killer soundtrack, which gave Wright a window to pepper in some notable musicians into the cast, including some Atlanta natives.
“As well as the incredible ensemble, I wanted to have lots of musicians in supporting parts,” said Wright. “The brief appearance by Big Boi and Killer Mike, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sky Ferreira, Paul Williams, John Spencer. To be honest, I would have done even more. I really enjoyed that part.”
Overall, the cast had five-star reviews for our dazzling city.
“Atlanta is such a character in itself,” said Lily James, who plays Baby’s love interest, Deborah. “I loved all that graffiti and stuff. It’s such a vibrant place.”
Jamie Foxx even shouted out a long-time friend who practices dentistry in Atlanta.
“I loved Gino’s for dinner. And for my teeth I go to Gary Johnson’s Dentist, Johnson’s Dentistry to get these porcelains worked on,” said Foxx.