With every step closer to production, the film Drive becomes more interesting. First it became a Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Pusher) movie with Ryan Gosling starring. Then Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston began negotiating to join the cast. And now it looks like Carey Mulligan will be the female lead when the film goes before cameras, starting next month.
THR reports the news, and summarizes the film like so: Gosling is “a nameless Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a freelance getaway driver during robberies. When a bank heist goes wrong, he ends up on the run with a contract on his head and an ex-con’s girlfriend (Mulligan) in his car.”
The Hossein Amini script (he wrote Killshot, and one draft of the new Jack Ryan movie) is from the novel by James Sallis. I still haven’t got around to reading the novel, but at this point I can let it wait; I’m much more curious to see what Refn is going to put on screen.
This will be the director’s biggest movie to date, and his first production to be so directly affiliated with an American studio. (Universal is distributing.) That’s another reason to keep a close eye on the film. As Refn’s profile has steadily increased over the past few years, it was inevitable that he’d work with a studio, and this movie feels very much like it could be a ‘getting his feet wet’ sort of project. Wonder Woman probably won’t be next, but given that Refn has a number of non-mainstream projects he’s talked about doing next, I’m interested to see whether he stays more on the path of making smaller, stranger movies, or if he dives into the ‘one for them, one for me’ system.
Here’s more about the book:
“I drive. That’s what I do. All I do.” So declares the enigmatic Driver in this masterfully convoluted neo-noir, which ranges from the dive bars and flyblown motels of Los Angeles to seedy strip malls dotting the Arizona desert. A stunt driver for movies, Driver finds more excitement as a wheelman during robberies, but when a heist goes sour, a contract is put on his head and his survival skills burn up the pavement.
In Drive, [Sallis] combines murder, treachery, and payback in a sinister plot resembling 1940s pulp fiction and film noir. Told through a complex, cinematic narrative that weaves back and forth through time and place, the story explores Driver’s near-existential moral foundations while revisiting its root cause: his hardscrabble, troubled childhood.