We caught up with movie stunt driver Jeremy Fry for a behind the scenes insight into some of Baby Driver's most daring stunts.
Fate of the Furious may have broken box office records, but there's one film that should be on every gearhead's radar this year. Directed by Edgar Wright, Baby Driver is far from your conventional car chase movie. While many modern movies resort to sinful CGI, every stunt was performed practically by stunt driver Jeremy Fry, whose long list of film credits include Drive, Batman V Superman, and John Wick: Chapter 2. We caught up with Fry to get a behind the scenes insight into some of Baby Driver's most daring stunts.
While you would normally expect to see exotics and American muscle star in car chase films, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI shown in the Baby Driver trailers seemed like an unusual choice for a getaway car. "Edgar wanted a pedestrian kind of car that would blend in but something that would also be cool," Fry explains. Wright consulted with Fry, the second unit director and stunt coordinator Robert Nagel, about casting the right car for his vision. "Robert Nagel had figured the WRX as a pretty cool car that we don't see much that might give us some options to do some cool driving with. There's a few different sequences in the movie. The Subaru is used in the first heist where everything goes great."
One standout stunt in the trailer shows the WRX perform a high-speed reverse 180 before seamlessly drifting around a corner in one clean cut. If it looks familiar, that's because Fry performed a very similar stunt in Drive using a Ford Mustang GT which is often overlooked. "As cool as I thought it was, not many people seem to notice it too much which was a little disappointing," he says. "We were able to shoot it better in Baby Driver. The turn was more pronounced at the end – it came out really well. We built a rear-wheel drive Subaru just for that gag." Things didn't go according to plan during the shoot, however. "The day we shot that stunt was a very big day for second unit," Fry recalls.
We had four big gags we were shooting in four different locations", he continues. "But the car broke in the shot before that one." With both the right and left rear suspension damaged in the rear-wheel drive Impreza, Fry was asked if the same stunt could be performed with an all-wheel drive car. "I didn't think it would look as dramatic as you couldn't hang the back out as much. But we only had that location for the day so we didn't have a choice. We went for it and it just wasn't working." Determined, Fry tried the stunt again in a different car after the team made some minor modifications such as disconnecting the e-brake.
Remarkably, the stunt you see in the trailer was performed in a stock WRX disguised as an STI. "I don't know if it was because what the picture guys did or me getting lucky with the timing. We did the first take and it looked pretty good. I tried it again and the second one was what you got. We were stoked."
Another memorable stunt in the trailer shows the Subaru perform two 180s in a narrow alleyway teaming with trucks, which required meticulous planning with second unit director Darrin Prescott. "Darrin came up with that one. We worked with a Crown Victoria and mapped out what it would take," Fry explains. "I took specific measurements of the alley and where stuff was, where fire hydrants were, where doorways were, and the approach. I don't think anyone really understood how cool it could be. I think car guys love it because it looks so different. It's one thing to do something in a parking lot and it's another thing to do something where you've got high consequences."
I was coming in at 55 mph and throwing it around those trucks. We had a drone in there because it was too narrow for a helicopter and we thought that's the best way to shoot it. It's stuff like that which I really enjoy doing – trying to do stuff that we haven't seen before, which gets harder and harder." You can look forward to more insight into the making of Baby Driver in the second part of our interview with Fry coming soon.