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Baby Driver’s Julian Slater talks working with Edgar Wright and the magic of non-musical musicals

It’s an uncharacteristically dull, rainy day in Los Angeles when we speak to Julian Slater, but seeing as he’s just learned of his BAFTA nomination for Sound in Baby Driver, he doesn’t seem too fussed.

‘Thank you!,’ he exclaims when Metro.co.uk congratulates him. ‘It’s really weird, I woke up to it a couple of hours ago. It’s great to be recognised by your peers.’

Considering awards season is currently in full swing, Julian’s still has no inkling as to whether the Oscar nominations will prove as fruitful and, while he might now reside in the City of Dreams, he maintains the self-effacing temperament of a true Brit when it comes to guessing.

‘I can’t even begin to think about that, it’s just totally blown my mind. We shall see.’

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The best bit about Julian’s nomination is he utterly deserves it. He was a key part of the meticulous team that created the breathtaking sou..

It’s an uncharacteristically dull, rainy day in Los Angeles when we speak to Julian Slater, but seeing as he’s just learned of his BAFTA nomination for Sound in Baby Driver, he doesn’t seem too fussed.

‘Thank you!,’ he exclaims when Metro.co.uk congratulates him. ‘It’s really weird, I woke up to it a couple of hours ago. It’s great to be recognised by your peers.’

Considering awards season is currently in full swing, Julian’s still has no inkling as to whether the Oscar nominations will prove as fruitful and, while he might now reside in the City of Dreams, he maintains the self-effacing temperament of a true Brit when it comes to guessing.

‘I can’t even begin to think about that, it’s just totally blown my mind. We shall see.’

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

The best bit about Julian’s nomination is he utterly deserves it. He was a key part of the meticulous team that created the breathtaking soundscape for Edgar Wright’s wholly original non-musical musical, Baby Driver.

The film follows Baby (Ansel Elgort) as the tinnitus-suffering getaway driver who drowns out the ‘hum-in-the-drum’ with some carefully curated iPod playlists. Indebted to crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), Baby only has a couple of missions left to complete before he can get out and start a new life with girlfriend Debora (Lily James) – which proves hard when surrounded by wild card criminals like Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eliza González), and Bats (Jamie Foxx).

Only… well, we’re still debating as to whether we can even use the word musical to describe this film.

Baby Driver's sound designer reveals Edgar Wright's script left him 'shaking'
Ansel Elgort stars as Baby (Picture: TriStar Pictures)

It’s not not a musical, but Baby Driver has had a reputation since its release in June 2017 for being notoriously hard to pigeon-hole, which is precisely what makes it so great. How many films are so original that you can’t quite sum it up in a handful of words?

The thing is, with Baby Driver music doesn’t just punctuate scenes – it’s steals them. It’s a main character as much as Baby is.

‘Someone once called it Car-Car Land, which I think is quite funny,’ says Julian when we beg for his definition. ‘It’s not bursting into song, but there’s very few moments in the film where music isn’t playing to some degree.

‘I think in the same way it’s a very unique and original movie, it’s a very unique and original musical.’

Julian’s collaboration with director Edgar extends all the way back to the early naughties. Julian was working hard on pushing the envelope with sound for British comedies like Brass Eye and The Day Today, of which Wright was a big fan of.

They first worked together in a professional capacity on the film that slingshotted them all to international stardom in 2004, Shaun of the Dead, and he’s been ‘lucky enough to work with him on everything since’.

Baby Driver's sound designer reveals Edgar Wright's script left him 'shaking'
Baby hangs out with criminal misfits Bats, Buddy and Darling (Picture: TriStar Pictures)

With Baby Driver, however, Julian’s role in the filmmaking process swelled significantly, allowing him to wear three different hats: Lead Sound Designer (‘I come up with the weird and wonderful noises’), Supervising Sound Engineer (‘I run a team of sound editors’), and one of the mixers. If it sounds intense, that’s because it was.

‘I would definitely say this movie is the very most I’ve thrown myself into it with [Edgar],’ Julian recalls. ‘I had to leave my family in LA to do this in London, so I was a billy no mates for a lot of it. If I woke up early or had a weekend free I’d just go to work. I threw myself into it in a slightly obsessive way.’

The obsessiveness pays off, though. The meticulous nature of the film’s never-ending soundtrack is something that could likely not be achieved without some level of infatuation.

But it’s stressful, being so scrupulous – even more so when you’re not a natural musician, admits Julian. There was plenty of challenging scenes to overcome that involved big bursts of creativity, particularly one scene which sees Baby’s hearing blown out completely by Jamie Foxx’s bad guy, Bats.

‘We wanted to convey deafness, where he can’t hear what Deborah is saying to him, but as the audience we want to hear what she’s saying. That took a lot of different iterations.’

Baby Driver's sound designer reveals Edgar Wright's script left him 'shaking'
Julian and Edgar have had a professional relationship for the last 13 years (Picture: Getty)

It certainly does help foster creativity when you’ve had a working relationship as long as Edgar and Julian’s. The director, Julian says, surrounds himself with long-term collaborators, which makes it much easier to not only be in sync, but to be completely unafraid in expressing their artistic vision.

‘I have no fear of playing something to Edgar or anyone on his team, there’s no fear of rejection. I’m just really lucky to be able to work with someone who pushes his own boundaries as well as mine.’

Julian reveals that the idea of ‘sonically syncopating real world sounds with the music you’re listening to’ was planted way back in 2010 with Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, during a fight between Michael Cera’s Scott and his love interest’s evil ex Roxie Richter (Mae Whitman).

This idea became so integral to the Baby Driver that when Edgar got round to sending scripts to the cast and crew, it was all on an iPad that, ‘as you turned each page, it would play the relevant piece of music, and then he even had the temp sound effects.’ So, for example, during the scene where Baby jives his way to the coffee shop to Bob & Earl’s Harlem Shuffle, the footsteps played alongside the song in the digitised sample script.

Baby Driver's sound designer reveals Edgar Wright's script left him 'shaking'
Ansel was chosen for the part based on his musicality (Picture: TriStar)

‘When I first read the script, I put it was down and was shaking,’ Julian recalls. ‘I could see what Edgar was trying to achieve. From the moment I turned the first page I knew it was going to be a unique thing.’

As such, the actors would be listening to music constantly on set. Ansel’s earbuds were actually functional, and the other actors would wear ‘earwigs’ – tiny earpieces so they can hear the music, too. And if the scene really required it, the music would be played out loud for the choreography to be performed in sync – for instance, in the film’s infamous Tequila! scene, loud speakers would blast out the song for the actors to fire their guns in time with the beats.

Edgar and Julian were lucky to stumble across the perfect actors when it came to their musical abilities for this film: Jamie Foxx is an award-winning musical artist who previously starred in Ray as blind piano player Ray Charles, and Ansel Elgort performs as an EDM artist under the name Ansolo.

Julian revealed Edgar gelled so well with Ansel because in his audition he proved himself to be such a musical person. But given Ansel’s EDM background, have he and Julian ever swapped engineering tips?

Baby Driver's sound designer reveals Edgar Wright's script left him 'shaking'
Julian Slater is responsible for the amazing music in Baby Driver (Picture: Impact24)

Julian laughs: ‘No, I think he’s probably got that well covered to be honest with you. He has lots of highly paid well skilled people around him. So no, he has not.’

But despite the highly talented cast and crew, and an idea that was truly unique, the fickle nature of the business still left Julian with that looming feeling of the unknown about Baby Driver’s fate in the big wide world.

‘It could go one way or the other. It was released after Transformers 5 and before Spider-Man Homecoming– a lot of these tent-pole movies with existing IPs and I was worried for it.’

But with the work put in by everyone involved, deep down he knew they were on to something extraordinary.

‘I was on the movie for seven months and weekly I would watch stuff and get goosebumps. That doesn’t happen often. I knew what we had was unique.

‘And people were literally blown away by it, from the very first car sequence.’

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Films

‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.


Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.


More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”


If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.

The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.

Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)



The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.


Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”


“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.

In a theater, the tendency with a movie so dependent on a central mystery might be to become antsy. At home, “Antebellum” is worth seeing, not only because of what it has to say about America’s past and present, but as a reminder of the often yawning gap between an intriguing idea and a fully realized film.



Read from source: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/17/entertainment/antebellum-review/index.html

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‘Chemical Hearts’ director Richard Tanne on the film’s ‘bittersweet’ ending and what he hopes fans take away from the movie

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and ..

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and what he hopes fans take away from it.

“I think it’s gonna disappoint some people, and maybe all people on a certain level, ” the 35-year-old filmmaker told us. “It’s bittersweet. But that’s OK.”

The film, based on Krystal Sutherland’s 2016 book “Our Chemical Hearts” and now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, centers on 17-year-old high school senior Henry Page (Austin Abrams), who finds himself drawn to a mysterious and secretive new transfer student named Grace Town (Lili Reinhart).

“Chemical Hearts” is told from Henry’s perspective, chronicling his first heartbreak after he falls in love with the person he thinks Grace is.

Tanne, who wrote the screenplay, said that he was impressed by how the story goes ‘a little bit deeper than your average teen romance’


“I loved how it embraced the dark side of being young, the pain and the grief and the loss, the idea of crossing the threshold from being an adolescent to an adult for the first time,” he told us.

By the end of the movie, Henry learns about Grace’s tragic past. On their last day of senior year, the characters don’t end up together. Instead, they prepare to explore different futures, with Henry heading off to a school for writing and Grace taking a year off to continue therapy.

Even though fans might be disappointed by the love interests splitting, Tanne said that ‘not everything has to be escapist’


“Sometimes, younger people watching movies don’t know that it’s OK to have unhappy endings because they’re fed a steady stream, a steady diet of escapist happily ever after movies,” he told us. “And that’s OK.”

He added: “There’s a place for those, I’m not knocking them. But I just wanted to make something that didn’t talk down to the younger audience. I wanted to make something that either meets them at their level or asks them to reach a little bit higher or dig a little bit deeper.”

Tanne said that having to confront that ‘bittersweet ending’ could also be useful to viewers


The director described the conclusion as bittersweet because “there’s hope at the end, maybe not for their relationship, but for other aspects of their lives.”

“Maybe it will be helpful for young people to see that and walk away with the same sting that Henry has, but to know that it’s going to be OK, to know that Henry will be OK,” he said.

Abrams, who was 22 when he filmed the movie, told Insider that hopefully, audiences will empathize with Henry.

“I think in terms of I supposed how he’s navigating relationships, I feel like hopefully at least anyone can relate to that,” he said.

Abrams told Insider that Henry and Grace’s relationship status at the end speaks to the film’s realistic nature


Abrams shared similar sentiments as Tanne, telling us that they tried to “portray the characters as honestly as possible,” which ties in to the conclusion.

“I think there are some people that meet one person and that’s who they’re with for the rest of their lives, who actually are Henry’s parents in the movie,” the 23-year-old actor told us.

“But then there are other people, and I think it’s probably a larger number, that are going to be in multiple relationships and some of them, a lot of them aren’t going to go well. I hope that that’s an aspect of the movie that people are able to relate to.”

Abrams added that he’s “perfectly fine” letting fans decide for themselves what their main takeaways are from “Chemical Hearts.”

“I hope that maybe they take away things that I didn’t even think of, because everyone’s different and at a different point in their life and hopefully will be able to relate to it in different ways.”

Read from source: https://www.insider.com/chemical-hearts-director-richard-tanne-bittersweet-ending-interview-2020-8


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Julia Sawalha furious after being told she is ‘too old’

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would n..

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would not be cast in the forthcoming sequel to the hit Aardman Animation film Chicken Run as her voice sounded “too old”.

In the original film, released in 2000, Sawalha voiced the lead role of Ginger, the plucky hen who inspires her fellow egg-layers to escape from a farm when they are threatened with being turned into pies. News of the development of a sequel first emerged in 2018, and Netflixs involvement was announced in June. It is due to be directed by Sam Fell (ParaNorman) and start production in 2021.

Sawalha posted a statement on social media saying she was told a week ago that she was not wanted for the sequel. “The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds too old and they want a younger actress to reprise the role.”

She added: “Usually in these circumstances, an actress would be given the chance to do a voice test in order to determine the suitability of their pitch and tone, I however was not given this opportunity. I am passionate about my work and I dont go down without a fight, so I did my own voice test at home and sent it to the producers … However, they stated, We will be going ahead to recast the voice of Ginger.”

Sawalhas protest follows reports that Mel Gibson, who voiced the character of daredevil rooster Rocky, would not be involved in the sequel. While Rocky is named as a character in the official plot synopsis for Chicken Run 2, the role is due to be recast. Variety magazine reported that Gibson was told that as “the sequel will revolve around younger chickens, therefore casting younger voice actors” was necessary. The report also claimed that Gibsons history of controversial behaviour, including an accusation of antisemitic comments by actor Winona Ryder, which Gibson denies, played no part in the recasting.

Sawalha added: “I feel I have been fobbed off with the same excuse … To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless.”

No official announcements have been made for the Chicken Run 2 cast, but original film cast members Jane Horrocks and Lynn Ferguson have been added to the films IMDb page.

Aardman has been contacted for a response.

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