From Shaun of the Dead to The World's End, Edgar Wright has proved himself to be a gem of a director. With his upcoming movie, Baby Driver, Wright is ready to step onto a bigger platform. I was a little vexed after going through the comment section of the trailer for Baby Driver, where the comments ranged from "This will probably be a bore" to "Who the hell is Edgar Wright?!" Here's a prep for his future films and a recap of his notable works. Let's begin.
Who Is Edgar Wright?
Edgar Howard Wright is an English director, screenwriter, producer and actor. He was born in Poole, Dorset but spent most of his time in Wells, Somerset. That's why his first feature-length film pays homage to his hometown as "The Greatest Western Ever Made...In Somerset!" in which Wright's brother, Oscar, provided the animated opening credits.
Wright was fascinated with films from a very early age, as his parents used to prefer keeping him and his brother at the movie theaters instead of hiring a babysitter. Throughout the late '80s and '90s, Wright directed multiple short films on his Super-8 camera and later a Video-8 camera, which he won in a competition on a television program from the BBC.
The turning point in Wright's life was watching an hour-long special of Jonathan Ross interviewing Sam Raimi, who was about to release Evil Dead II.
What's He Known For?
Wright directed A Fistful of Fingers at a very young age and the film didn't attract any producers until a businessman who was trying to dodge taxes finally decided to fund his film — that's how Wright's first movie got made! Even though it wasn't released to a wide audience, it certainly caught the eye of critics and was given a much wider release after Wright rose to fame.
After his not-so-smash debut, Wright was hired by Paramount Comedy Channel to direct Mash and Peas. After that, he went onto direct multiple TV shows like: Asylum (1996), Is It Bailey? (1998), Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round (1998), Sir Bernard's Stately Homes (1999) and finally, Spaced (1999–2001). #Spaced was a financial and critical hit and ran for a full two seasons. This is where Wright met his future co-writer, #SimonPegg.
His first commercial and critically successful feature film, Shaun of the Dead, was actually inspired from an episode of Wright's TV show, Spaced, where Pegg's character hallucinates about fighting a horde of zombies after playing a game of Resident Evil 2.
Wright went onto co-write with Pegg and direct the now famous, Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy, which consisted of Shaun of the Dead, #HotFuzz and The World's End. This film series has the weirdest reason for being a trilogy — it features three types of Cornetto ice creams:
- Red, signifying blood and zombies
- Blue, signifying the police uniform
- Green, signifying aliens.
Wright then digressed from British settings to adapt Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel #ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld.
Wright has also written screenplays for Stephen Spielberg's Adventures of Tintin and Marvel's #AntMan. Due to Wright's love for animation, Wright and Pegg has even co-written a comic strip in connection to Shaun of the Dead.
Wright Was Almost A Marvel Director
Every #EdgarWright fan around the world is expecting Baby Driver to be the pedestal for him to move into larger properties. This could have occurred way back in 2001, when Wright had produced his draft for the Ant-Man movie to Artisan Entertainment (which was then making a partnership with #Marvel). The draft was co-written by Wright and Joe Cornish. Five years later, Marvel finally announced that it was going to make an Ant-Man movie, helmed by Wright himself.
Wright and Cornish's vision for the film was always of a superhero film in inverted commas, which would be taking place in the crime-action genre. Three redrafts and seven years later, Wright announced that the script was complete, which was actually far from being so. After four more redrafts and a final complete do-over, rumors were afloat about Wright's disappointment with this new script. It all culminated into a massive disagreement between Feige and Wright because of the family-friendly approach that Marvel wanted to take. Therefore, on May 2014, it was finally announced that Wright was no longer involved with Ant-Man.
After Wright's departure, cast members like Patrick Wilson, Bill Pope and Steven Price also left, while Joss Whedon publicly expressed his disapproval with Marvel's decision by posting a picture of him holding a Cornetto on #Twitter. Even though Wright went onto make The World's End while Peyton Reed took on the mantle of Ant-Man director, we can only wonder what an unrestrained, Edgar Wright-directed Ant-Man movie would have looked like. Wright was credited as the co-writer and executive producer of Ant-Man.
Wright's Signature Moves
Apart from Wright's returning gags, crafty cameos and his select group of actors and actresses, one of his most signature and noteworthy moves are his seamless edits, which he achieves with the help of whip-pans and invisible cuts.
Secondly, Wright will certainly make you wish that your day-to-day activities would be as dramatic as his character's daily gearing up routine. Also, he always uses the respective actors to do their own gearing up instead of using a double in order to make it look authentic.
Thirdly, Wright loves his music and has incorporated his love for it through little audio cues in tandem with the themes of the movie. For example, he used the electronic buzzer sound in Hot Fuzz to focus on something alarming, or a jingle to signify Scott's elated state of mind. My personal favorite? Shaun and co. beating up Big Al to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now."
Finally, Wright loves to meticulously craft each and every aspect of his movie. He says that he formed this habit because of his small-town origins. He always fears that if he would mess up, people would criticize him behind his back. After Hot Fuzz, Wright and Pegg showed their flip-chart where they had mentioned every single detail of Sanford and their characters. So, when you're watching Hot Fuzz again and anything looks improvised, it's not.
Wright also loves to pay homage to his favorite movies and pepper them with so many inside jokes and details that you can find a new one on every single viewing. Here's one that I found: The surnames of each of the characters from The World's End signifies a royal post from medieval times and also hints at the characters' interpersonal relationships.
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What Is He Up To Now?
Edgar Wright is all set for the international release of the passion project he has been working for over four years: Baby Driver. He is also set to do his first animated film with #DreamWorks called Shadows, work alongside Johnny Depp in an adaptation of Neil Geiman's Fortunately, The Milk and an apocalypse-related movie based on Andrew Smith's novel, Grasshopper Jungle.
Even though I can go on and on about this guy, I think this will suffice for now and also get you hyped for Baby Driver that is set to release on June 28th. Mark your calendars, folks!
What other Edgar Wright facts do you know?