Dear Edgar Wright
Dear Edgar Wright.
You once came to the guestlist window of Shepherd's Bush Empire when I worked in the box office there. I was too nervous to say hello. Curses me of 4 years ago! You (tied with Cara Delevingne) were the best celeb I served there.
I saw Baby Driver last night. And I had to write to you.
Oh - I composed most of this in my head this morning whilst walking down Oxford Street, on the way back from tutoring. White iPod headphones in.
I loved Baby Driver. And Abigail loved it too. It's so exciting, and then tender, and then stylish, and then exciting all over again. I think the elderly woman sitting to my left liked it too – she had involuntary vocal reactions to all of the most exciting bits, it was ace.
I used to go to the cinema every weekend – Silver Screen in Folkestone – one big screen and one small screen. I saw everything I could there as an adolescent: Independence Day (3 or 4 times), Jurassic Park, Titanic, even that film in which Arnie gets pregnant. I once saw Notting Hill there and kissed in the back row for the whole thing – that was especially ace and I've never liked that movie more. It was run by a husband and wife team who would sell the tickets, the popcorn and be frustratingly strict on checking ages. My friend Matt Robinson fell for their 'What year were you born?' trick when we tried to see Forrest Gump aged 10 or 11, and nobody forgave him.
Screen 1 had a clock on the wall – above a massive photograph of Harold Lloyd hanging off that big clock in Safety Last (I've never seen the movie but I remember the photograph) - to your left as you looked at the screen. So many times I'd be lost in a movie, then look at that clock and be like 'Oh man! 45 minutes has gone it feels like 10 seconds!' (I didn't know how to swear yet). That sensation dissipated somewhat when I studied film – a Rossellini or Akerman deep cut would feel like FOREVER when you're hungover at 9am on a Friday.
I still and will always love film – I have a 35mm projector tattooed on my forearm – but I had that 'lost time' experience again, for the first time in ages, last night in Baby Driver: Abigail and I boogied in our seats throughout and squeezed each other's hands in the tense bits. The lady next to us gasped and shrieked. As the end credits were up, Abigail loudly announced that it was the best film she has ever seen. When making breakfast this morning, we made sure to spread peanut butter all the way to the edge of the toast. I love that these things happen in a cinema and beyond – that it's a place of human interaction and fun.
Edgar, I love how much you love cinema also. I know you love it because you've been campaigning on Twitter for people to go out and see this movie in a cinema. But your car chases tell me you love it also: you love the things that cinema can do that the everyday world can't. Your cinema is full of impossible adventure and love that burns so intensely that people are prepared to die for it. All underscored by the best music, because why would they settle for anything less?
And your casting, oh your casting, tells me that you love cinema; Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Ansel Elgort, they all look and act like proper movie stars. They're enormous personalities – so big and imposing that, despite all the car chases and ridic choreography, I now mostly remember them and their faces. Lily James's hair. Jon Hamm's stubble. Eiza Gonzalez's bubble gum. Everything that Jamie Foxx does and will ever do.
I work as a theatre director now, Edgar, so I don't really handle enclosed worlds and car chases. But I do work with individuals – I'm always looking for actors who can command a space, who can make an audience remember their presence and their actions. Actors who are so unique that you can't possibly imagine another person on stage. Baby Driver helped me think about and understand this to be true. And I want the theatre to be as lively and as romantic a place as the cinema – I probably wouldn't even hold it against a couple making out in the back row for the whole show.
Thanks for Baby Driver. Thanks for making me think about things that I love. Films. And music (I hope that this was clear). It was great to, through a film, meet someone who loves the same things.
The fact that you are/seem like a normal bloke from a British seaside town making these beautiful, huge movies with the world's very best movie stars – and making them with such enthusiasm and love - is very inspiring to me. You make me want to have more fun in work. You make me want to love those dumb art forms we think about all the time more. And you make me want to use nothing but the best music.
I'd love it if you came to see one of my shows – there's nothing on for a while but I'll invite you in future, if you like. This time, I'll try to say more than just, 'Your seats are on level 1 they're reserved here's a wristband thank you very much'.