We'll take real car stunts over CGI in movies any day.
Unlike Fast and Furious which relies heavily on CGI, all of the car stunts in Baby Driver were done for real. No green screen was used for close-up shots of actors, either – all the actor’s reactions during the driving scenes are real. “There is some CGI, but it’s used for face replacement,” Baby Driver’s stunt driver Jeremy Fry told us in our recent interview. “There’s no CGI that’s designed to make anything work. It’s not like we did things in pieces and then the guys put it together in the editing room – what you see is what you get.”
CGI has obvious safety advantages when it comes to car stunts, but it’s a sore subject for Fry. “From a safety point of view CGI is great,” he said. “From a purist point of view, it’s like sticking a gun in my mouth. I can’t watch.” “I know the guys that do the Fast and Furious movies and they’re amazing drivers. But the driving skill is completely shadowed and hidden by the CGI and editing with quick cuts and close shots. It masks the true skill and it’s a shame because I think it could really showcase the abilities of what they’re doing. It’s the same with Transformers - there’s a lot of really good driving that you just can’t see." We feel your frustration, Fry.
I have been crossing my fingers for years that there would be a resurgence of purity in movies. Hopefully, Baby Driver plays a role in that because the film is not relying on CGI or quick cuts to make it look like something happened that didn’t happen. I’m really hoping people see this and go ‘wow that’s really cool’ without the need of magic tricks to complete an illusion.” As well as Baby Driver, Fry’s stunt driving credits include Drive, John Wick: Chapter 2 and Batman V Superman. “The most difficult gag I ever did was in Drive,” he recalls. In the film, Fry doubled for Ryan Gosling during the chase between a Ford Mustang and Chrysler 300 which ends with the 300 sliding into a barrier and flipping in the air.
“That stunt was very tough – it wasn’t what we expected to happen. At first, it was disappointing because it wasn’t what we had pitched or wanted. But the next day the team was over the moon because that shot over Christina Hendrick’s shoulder was legitimate. It wasn’t CGI – that was her in the car sliding around the corner with me driving in the background. And they loved it.” Baby Driver was inspired by Edgar Wright’s love of classic car chase movies such as Bullitt, Ronin and The French Connection. “I like Bullitt - it was revolutionary. I might be committing heresy, but it doesn’t move me as much as other ones do."
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s cool but Ronin stands out. They had inferior equipment in all regards, in the vehicles they were driving, the camera and the way they were shooting. To me, it’s very impressive what they were able to do with what they had.” Baby Driver is out now in cinemas.