September 13, 2018
How ‘Halloween’ Copyright Issues Led to the Best Joke in ‘Baby Driver’
Edgar Wright is a singularly talented filmmaker with a knack for balancing dynamic action scenes with comedy. And Baby Driver was the culmination of that — a heist film that played like a musical, with a fair few great jokes thrown in. But it turns out that one of the best gags of the film came about by accident.
Wright revealed that the Baby Driver Mike Myers joke wasn’t actually written that way in the script, but a last-resort gag by the filmmaker after the Halloween copyright holders prevented them from using the likeness of famous horror villain Michael Myers. So what did Wright do? Use another famous Mike Myers.
True! Because of the upcoming ‘Halloween’ reboot, the rights holders didn’t want to let us use the Michael Myers mask* so we went with three Austin Powers masks instead of just the one – with Mike Myers blessing. (*Could we have used an inside out Captain Kirk mask instead?). https://t.co/80QwURbTqG
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) September 12, 2018
The Halloween reboot/sequel wasn’t due to be released until a year after Baby Driver hit theaters, but it seems that Blumhouse — which holds the rights to the franchise after Miramax picked it up from the Weinstein Company — kept an iron grip on the rights to the Michael Myers mask. “They have never licensed out the mask to other movies / TV / commercials to keep it special for the movies,” Wright expanded. “I respect that.”
The scene in question takes place early on in the film, in which Ansel Elgort‘s titular “Baby” is the getaway driver for a hapless crew including Eddie No-Nose (Flea), JD (Lanny Joon), and the trigger-happy Bats (Jamie Foxx). The heist is almost derailed when JD accidentally brings masks of the actor Mike Myers — more specifically, his character in the spy parody Austin Powers — after being told to bring Halloween masks of Michael Myers. It’s a great gag that manages to maintain the taut suspense of the sequence.
Makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero revealed the scene was originally supposed to feature two characters wearing Halloween masks and one wearing an Austin Powers one. The team had even created a Michael Myers mask for the scene, but was denied permission to use it.
“I thought it was really funny and very very clever so we created this mask for the movie and unfortunately were unable to get permission to use it so the mask sits proudly on a zombie bust in my office,” Nicotero said in an Instagram post.
As for Wright’s joke about an inside-out Captain Kirk mask, there’s your fun fact of the day: the original mask used in the 1978 film is actually “a Captain Kirk mask inside out and painted white,” Wright revealed.
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