Director in Focus: Edgar Wright

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It’s hard to think that a man who began his film career in an adolescence bound to making Super-8 and Video-8 remake pastiches, like the Dirty Harry tribute Dead Right (available for all curious perusal on the DVD release of Hot Fuzz), is now one of the most iconic British directors of the modern cinema. It’s equally as difficult to think that the same man, who has been nominated for countless awards and created one of the most emblematic film trilogies of the generation, as his earliest cameos, according and quoted from his Wikipedia page, include such memorable characters as ‘Cheesy Voiceover Artist’, ‘Prat-falling Zombie’ and  ‘Deep Thought Technician’, but there we are. Bonus points for being able to match cameo to film.

But Edgar Wright is back, and this time his creative differences align with the project at hand, fortunately for all involved but probably not Marvel. Baby Driver, set to be released this June, comes at a time when the competition is sky-rocketing. Transformers, Dunkirk, and, dare I say it, Marvel’s Spiderman: Homecoming: the whole gang’ll fight it out in the coming months to crown 2017’s Summer Blockbuster Champion™. Honestly, my money’s on The Emoji Movie, but that’s strictly between us.

But Wright’s Baby Driver certainly has a fighting chance, if not for its more than several nods to Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive than the Wright trademark name behind it. And that’s something Wright’s name can guarantee, given his knack for slotting together the quirky, the nerdy, and the gosh-darned hilarious. A Fistful of Fingers marked Wright’s directorial debut, boasting a limited release and a sulky hrumph from the man himself, unsatisfied with the final product, but luckily catching the eyes of comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams who would go on to enlist Wright as the director of their Paramount Comedy sketch show Mash and Peas.

After working on several other TV shows, including Spaced, which launched his long-time collaboration with Simon Pegg, his critical success as now-television-veteran paved the way for the pair to shimmy over to the big screen with the first of the critically acclaimed Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun of the Dead. The now-iconic ‘zom-com’ follows the disoriented Shaun as he tries to balance the trials of his girlfriend, mother and stepfather, with the tribulations of an apocalyptic zombie uprising. Boasting shared traits and motifs, soon Hot Fuzz entered the line-up, followed in recent years by The World’s End.

In 2010, the world was stunned by the release of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, the first major film to combine video games with exceptionally quick wit, dazzling special effects, and one whole lesbian (it was progressive at the time I promise). 2014 then saw Wright’s name attached to Marvel’s Ant-Man, but was sadly replaced as director by Peyton Reed.

No worries for Wright, though, who has several films in the balance as of writing, including Grasshopper Jungle, the adaptation of Andrew Smith’s novel, Fortunately, The Milk, the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel who’ll he’ll be heading as writer alongside Flight of the Conchords alumnus Bret McKenzie, and, of course, the upcoming Baby Driver, starring Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm.

The Films to Watch:

  • Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Did you know?

  • Wright directed one single shot of Star Trek Into Darkness: a one-second-long shot during the scene featuring the Klingons on Kronos.
  • The Cornetto Trilogy was, according to Wright, named as such due to a running joke between Wright and Pegg about the famed ice-cream’s effectiveness as a hangover cure.

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Third year Film and English student living in D.C., self-proclaimed go-to Edge expert on Cloverfield, Fall Out Boy, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Loves mostly those three things.

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