|Nicolas Winding Refn Director||previously directed Valhalla Rising|
A stunt driver for the movies takes up a second job driving getaway cars in heists but things get interesting when he finds out there's a contract on his head.
Originally, Hugh Jackman was picked as the film's lead before dropping out. Ryan Gosling was chosen as his replacement.4 More Trivia
The scorpion on the Driver's jacket is the same as this film.1 More Movie Reference
|Oscar Isaac||Standard Guzman|
|Albert Brooks||Bernie Rose|
|James Biberi||Chris 'Cook'|
|Cesar Garcia||Jose / waiter|
|See Full Credits|
Drive is a neo-noir crime film released in 2011, based on the novel of the same name. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the film stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, before receiving a US release on September 16th, 2011. The film focuses on a movie stuntman who discovers a contract has been put on his head after a failed heist.
American crime writer James Sallis released his novel, also entitled Drive, in 2005 to significant critical acclaim, touting its distinctive cinematic narrative. After reading a brief review of the book, Adam Sigel recognised the potential the story had as a film. Interested by what he read, he bought a copy of the novel and read it that very night. Having been sufficiently impressed by the story, he contacted Marc Platt, a fellow producer with his recommendation. The pair then acquired the rights to a film adaptation, with the view to producing the potential film. Recalling his reaction to reading the novel, Platt said:
"I was very taken with this little crime story that James Sallis wrote. I felt that the way the world was presented in the book demanded that its true grit be retained in the script. The grit comes from seeing the world from the point of view of Driver in the car. It’s those elements that I felt were critical to retain to make this film a very unique cinematic experience."
Hossein Amini, Oscar nominated for his work on The Wings of the Dove, was chosen to write the screenplay. Although the novel is cited as being cinematic in style by the producers of the film, as well as numerous critics, Amini did not find writing an adaptation entirely straight forward. Initially, he experienced difficulty in re-structuring the sequence of events as the non-linear storytelling device in the novel would need modifying for a film adaptation.
Once the script was complete, the film version of the novel was officially announced. British filmmaker Neil Marshall was chosen as the director of the project, with Universal Studios providing the financial backing - who had been attempting to begin production for several years. In March 2008, Marshall revealed that he planned to start shooting that summer, excited by the prospect of using Amini’s script. However, Marshall’s plans did not come to fruition, as multiple delays prevented the commencement of production. In February 2010, Empire reported that Marshall had been dropped from the project, with Nicolas Winding Refn taking his place as director. Refn revealed that he wished to place particular emphasis on the duality of the protagonist - his life as both stuntman and criminal.
When the project was first announced, Hugh Jackman was chosen to play the lead character, Driver. However, after the many delays to production, he dropped out of the project when Marshall’s association also ended. Needing a new lead actor, producer Marc Platt approached Ryan Gosling with the part. Platt has cited Gosling as one of the actors whom he most desired to work with and felt that Drive offered a strong chance for him to achieve this goal. Just 2 days after sending him the script, Gosling arranged a meeting to discuss the film. At this point, Platt pitched the project as a more mainstream action movie, but offered Gosling the opportunity to chose the director of the film once he signed on.
Gosling selected Refn as the director, although he was unsure if the Dane would agree to work on a genre film. Gosling himself was eager to appear in a film of this style, but had previously been unwilling to do so, being deterred by action film’s tendencies to focus on crowd-pleasing set pieces rather than character development.
In August 2010, Carey Mulligan was cast as Irene, a young mother who develops a romantic interest in Gosling’s character. After the completion of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, she took a year out from acting after receiving offers that were “too similar to An Education or they were sort of a mix of An Education and Never Let Me Go”. She accepted the role as it was significantly different from her previous parts, offering her a new challenge.
Prior to Mulligan’s involvement, the character of Irene was substantially different. Mulligan recalls: “My agent said, 'It's a Latina woman in her late 20s, and you should just read it.' So I went and met [Refn], trying to persuade him that he should let me do it".
Despite having never seen any of her films, Refn was sufficiently convinced by her talent and felt compelled to cast her in Drive. After making changes to both the script and character to accommodate her, he believed that it would ultimately enhance the romantic element of the story: "It made it more of a Romeo & Juliet kind of love story without the politics that would in this day and age be brought into it if you had different nationalities or different religions".
Throughout August and September, further supporting cast announcements were made. Mad Men star Christina Hendricks signed on for a minor role as Blanche, while Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston was cast as Shannon. Ron Perlman won the part of Nino, while Albert Brooks was chosen to play Bernie Rose - both of whom would act as the film’s primary villains. Oscar Isaac was given the part of Standard, a Mexican gang member married to Irene.
For the duration of the shoot, Refn insisted that the primary cast members all live in the same house. With screenwriter Amini also co-habiting in the attic, the group made regular alterations to the script prior to filming, a requirement due to the changing expectations of what the film was to be. According to Refn, the budget of $13 million was a particular challenge, as Amini “had been working on this book for years at Universal trying to make a $60-million extravaganza from a 100-page neo-realistic existential strange book about movie mythology”. In order for those working on the film to become closer, Refn would organise movie-viewing evenings and would go on drives with cast members.
On one occasion, Mulligan had just completed a night shoot and was driving Refn back to the house in which they were staying. In order to maintain her alertness on set, she consumed several cans of Red Bull. As a result, her driving became somewhat erratic, leading her being pulled over by the police. After this, she abstained from driving in Los Angeles on a regular basis during the shoot.
During the car scenes, a special camera set-up was employed. A customised camera rig allowed Gosling to act out the shots without having to drive, allowing him to focus on his own performance. Although Gosling completed a number of his own stunts during the shoot, several stunt drivers were employed for the more dangerous scenes. Perlman suffered a torn meniscus in his knee while shooting a scene in the sea at high tide. A large wave caught the actor off balance, resulting in an injury that required surgery to repair what he described as “structural damage”. Refn consulted fellow director Gaspar Noé prior to the filming of the head smashing, having been inspired by a similar scene in Irréversible.
In late 2010, Refn and Gosling met with electronic music producer Johnny Jewel to discuss the soundtrack to Drive. Refn had previously used one of Jewel's songs, in the form of "Digital Versicolor" by Glass Candy, in his previous film, Bronson. He felt that Jewel's mood-soaked synth sound would be perfect for his vision of the seedy neo-noir world of the Driver, and asked if he would produce the film's score. Jewel agreed, and set about composing music to rough edits of the film. However, when Drive gained more attention, the studio decided to bring in seasoned composer Cliff Martinez to round out the score instead, leading Jewel's soundtrack to never see the light of day. Jewel eventually reworked bits and pieces of his score into a moody two-hour project, Themes for an Imaginary Film.
Originally, the intention was to market Drive as a mainstream action film, as had been discussed in Gosling’s first meeting with Platt. However, the presentation of the film underwent a dramatic change, leading to it being advertised as an independent film. In an attempt to find a potential buyer, Refn attended the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. In November 2010, it was announced that FilmDistrict would be releasing Drive in North America - even though no-one at the company had seen any early footage of the project.
Drive was premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival - the timeframe that Refn had originally targeted for a release when he began filming. Initial critical response was overwhelmingly positive, although many remained sceptical as to how well it would perform at the festival’s awards. After it’s premiere, reports began to surface that large sections of the crowd were quick to cheer throughout the feature and that the film received a standing ovation lasting nearly 15 minutes, prompting Refn to kiss Gosling on the lips, twice. Refn went on to win Best Director at Cannes, while Drive received a nomination for the Palme d’Or.
Drive was very well received by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, 92% of reviews were positive (a film needs only 60% to be Fresh). On Metacritic, the movie got a 79. This score was labeled as Green (the highest color) and "Generally Positive," but was only one point away from the score of "Universal Acclaim." Of the Metacritic reviews, 35 were positive, 5 were mixed, and none were negative.
The 17th Annual Critic's Choice Awards, considered the most prestigious award show given by critics due to the reputation and large amount of voters, loved Drive. It was nominated for:
Best Picture (Lost to The Artist)
Best Director--Nicolas Winding Refn
Best Editing--Thelma Schoonmaker
Best Actor--Ryan Gosling
Best Supporting Actor--Albert Brooks
Best Cinematography--Newton Thomas Sigel
Best Score--Cliff Martinez
Best Action Movie--WON!!!!!
Red Band Trailer: Drive
You don't wear gloves like this unless you're planning on driving very, very fast.
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