Drive Movie Trivia

(Total Trivia Entries: 57)

“If I drive for you, you get your money.”

When Ryan Gosling signed on to do this movie he was allowed to choose the director. To find out more trivia keep on reading.

Casting                        Screenplay & Production


In 2008 Hugh Jackman was originally cast for the role of Driver but by 2010 Jackman was no longer attached to the project and Ryan Gosling took on the role.


Drive’s producer Marc E. Platt explains why he contacted Gosling about the role of Driver, “I have this list that I’ve created of very talented individuals whose work inspire me; writers, directors, actors whom I have to work with before I go onto another career or do something else with my life. Near the top of that list was Ryan Gosling.” Around 48 hours later Platt heard back from Gosling agreeing to take the role.



The reason Gosling was attracted to the script was because it had a “very strong character” at its core as well as a powerful love story. Gosling had always been interested in doing an action movie but had often found that today’s action movies focus more on the stunts than the story and its characters.


After completing a stunt driving crash course, Gosling did a number of the stunts himself. Also during production, Gosling re-built the 1973 Chevy Malibu that his character uses in the movie, taking it apart and putting it back together.


When it came to selecting the rest of the cast, Refn chose not to cast actors based on casting tapes or auditions. Instead, he required they meet him in person at his house.


In August 2010 Carry Mulligan was cast to star in Drive as Irene, a Los Angeles-born Anglo mother raising her 7-year-old Latino child. Mulligan stated she was interested in working Refn because she was a fan of his films Bronson (2008) and Valhalla Rising (2009).



The role of Irene was originally written as a Latina woman in her late 20’s but when Refn chose Mulligan he made adjustments to the script to accommodate Mulligan.


Before casting Mulligan, Refn had not seen any of Mulligan’s movies, but as soon as he met her, he recalled; “I knew we had our Irene.” He felt by casting Mulligan it would cement the love story in a more engaging way. He explained; “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.”


For the duration of her time working on the movie Carey Mulligan stayed at Nicolas Winding Refn’s house.


Refn being a fan of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston, who plays the role of Shannon, was one of the first actors Refn looked to cast. Refn initially tried to interest Cranston in the role by asking him how he would like to develop the character but after not hearing back from Cranston, Refn called him at the very same time that Cranston was making a list of the pros and cons of the doing the movie. In the end Cranston accepted the role as he was moved by Refn’s interest.



When Refn suggested Albert Brooks for the role of foul-mouthed, morose Bernie Rose, Gosling agreed but thought the actor would not be suitable for playing this violent and sullen character or that he would not agree for appearing in a movie the he did not work on himself. However, to go against typecasting and because he loved that Bernie was not a cliché, Brooks accepted the role. Brooks stated; “There are six people you could always get to play this kind of part, and I like that the director was thinking outside of the box. For me, it was an opportunity to act outside the box. I liked that this mobster had real style. Also, he doesn’t get up in the morning thinking about killing people. He’s sad about it. Upset about it. It’s a case of, ‘Look what you made me do.'”



For the casting of Perlman, Refn said, “The character of Nino was originally not particularly interesting, so I asked Ron why he wanted to be in my movie when he’s done so many great films. When Ron said, ‘I always wanted to play a Jewish man who wants to be an Italian gangster’, and I asked why, and he said, ‘because that’s what I am, a Jewish boy from New York.’ Well, that automatically cemented it for me.”



Oscar Isaac portrays a Latino convict named Standard who is married to Irene and is just released from prison a week after Irene meets The Driver. He found the role to be a bit unappealing and chose to turn the archetypal character into something more. He stated, “As soon as I sat down with Nicolas, he explained this universe and world of the story, so we made the character into someone interested in owning a restaurant, someone who made some wrong decisions in his life, ending up in a bad place. By making ‘Standard’ more specific and more interesting, we found that it made the story that more compelling.”



Jacinda Barrett was considered and auditioned for the role of Blanche.


Refn felt that although the role of Blanche was small it was important. He originally auditioned porn stars for the part as he was “Trying to work in a more reality arena for a character like that.” However, he was unable to find anyone who was good enough acting-wise. It was then that Refn’s wife recommended Christina Hendricks for the role of Blanche, after seeing her photos and thinking she was very beautiful. After meeting with Hendricks, Refn decided to cast her, feeling her “powerhouse” persona would click with the character.



Despite prominent billing Christina Hendricks, who plays Blanche, has in fact less than 10 minutes of screen time.


Bryan Cranston (Shannon), Ron Perlman (Nino) and Christina Hendricks (Blanche) are all actors that are currently playing in popular drama television shows; Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men, respectively.


James Biberi, who plays the role of Cook, plays against type in this movie from his typical minor roles as policemen.



Screenplay & Production                        Casting


Writer, James Sallis’ crime novel is centered around an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver who also drives getaway cars at night and finds himself in a life-threatening position after a bank heist goes wrong.


Producers Marc Platt and Adam Siegel of Marc Platt Productions, felt that Driver was a rare character who had purpose, excels at one thing and makes no apologies for it. He reminded them of characters similar to the ones usually portrayed by Clint Eastwood.


In early 2008 Neil Marshall was set to direct a film adaptation of Drive and at that time the movie was being described as “an L.A.-set action mystery” that had Hugh Jackman attached to star as Driver.


By early 2010 neither Neil Marshall or Hugh Jackman were attached to the project and Nicolas Winding Refn stepped into the directorial role after being hand-picked by Ryan Gosling.


When Ryan Gosling signed on to do this movie he was allowed to choose the director, which was a first for the actor. He chose Nicolas Winding Refn because he was a fan of his work, stating; “And I thought, it had to be Nicolas. There was no other choice.” However, Gosling was unsure if Refn would do the project as it was not like anything he had ever done before.



Screenwriter Hossein Amini adapted the novel for the screen and he felt this was a rare book to receive from a studio as it was short, gloomy and like a poem.


Amini found adapting the novel for the big screen challenging as the novel is not presented as a linear story with many flashbacks and jumps around in time. He felt the non-linear structure made it “a very tricky structure” for a feature film.


This is Nicolas Winding Refn’s first movie he did not write the script for and that’s based on a novel.


Apparently Refn actually has no interest in cars and in fact has failed his driving test 8 times and currently does not hold a driving license.


When Refn first read the screenplay for Drive he felt more intrigued by the concept of the main character having a split personality, i.e. being a stunt man by day and a getaway driver at night, than the story itself.


Drive has been described as a tough, hard-edged neo-noir art house feature, extremely violent and very stylish, with European art and grindhouse influences. According to Refn, Drive turns into a superhero film during the elevator scene because that is when the Driver kills the villains.


Refn’s main inspiration for Drive came from Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and his goal was to make a movie that was structured like a fairy tale: condensed in its storytelling and with archetypal characters. Refn sees The Driver as a knight who roams around the countryside searching for people to save. Refn was also inspired by films such as Point Blank (1969), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), and The Driver (1978). Jean-Pierre Melville’s crime productions influenced the cinematography.


Driver’s character has been compared to the Man With No Name, a character Clint Eastwood portrayed in the Sergio Leone westerns, because he almost never speaks and communicates mostly non-verbally. The Driver’s low dialogue is not designed to present him as tough, but to soften him. Refn chose to give The Driver very little dialogue and instead have him drive around listening to pop music, taking control when it counts.



The Driver and Irene actually say very little to each other, primarily because Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan felt that their scenes should be more focused on the mood and didn’t say many of the scripted lines. Mulligan summarized making the film as “staring longingly at Ryan Gosling for hours each day.”


The production budget of this movie was about $13 million and it was shot in various parts of Los Angeles. Refn moved into a home based in Los Angeles and he made the screenwriter Amini and cast members move in with him. Refn also had the editing suite set up in his home. They would work on the script and film all day and then watch movies, edit or drive at night. With a shooting script of 81 pages, Refn and Gosling trimmed down the dialogue during filming.


To get to know Los Angeles, Nicolas Winding Refn spent most of his time with Ryan Gosling, as he had no knowledge of the city.


Drive’s hot pink title sequence was inspired by 1983’s Risky Business’ editing table.


As the budget was low, Refn shot the opening scene in two days and with two different set-ups prepared in the car, Refn found mobility with the camera difficult, so he then switched the camera to two additional set-ups nearby. Refn avoided shooting in the better looking areas of downtown Los Angeles so as to preserve the gloomy atmosphere and the scene was also shot with minimal light and at low-angles.


Using the Arri Alexa camera, the film was shot digitally. According to the executive producer Lancaster, the film contains abundant, evocative, intense images of Los Angeles that are not often seen. Lancaster explained, “From the little seen back streets of downtown LA to the dry arid outposts on the peaks of the desert landscape surrounding it, Siegel has re-imagined an LA all the way down to the rocky cliffs by the sea.”


The opening credits song “Nightcall” by Kavinsky, was suggested by editor Mat Newman which was also used in The Lincoln Lawyer in which Drive costume designer Erin Benach also worked on!


Apparently the idea for the scene where Driver is listening to the radio whilst waiting was based on an awkward moment when Ryan Gosling drove Nicolas Winding Refn when Refn had a cold and REO Speedwagon was playing on the radio.



The car scenes were filmed with a “biscuit rig”, which is a camera car rig developed for the film Seabiscuit (2003). This allows a precision driver to steer the car, freeing Gosling to concentrate on acting.


Wide-angle lenses were heavily used by cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel and handled camera work was avoided. Refn also avoided use of CGI, so as to keep the movie more grounded and authentic and because of budgeting restrictions.


During his phone conversation with Bernie, after Nino drowns, the Driver references the story “The Scorpion and the Toad”. In the story, the toad carries the scorpion across the river; the scorpion stings the toad, and they both drown. When asked by the toad, “Why sting me, when we would both drown?” The scorpion replied, “It’s my nature”. As the back of the Driver’s coat is a yellow scorpion, this implies that he is the scorpion in the story.


To make the stomping on the head scene in the elevator more brutal and realistic Nicolas Winding Refn sought advice from writer and director Gaspar Noé and asked him how he had done the head-smashing scene in his movie, Irréversible (2002).


According to director, Nicolas Winding Refn due to the MPAA stating that the head stomping scene was too violent that scene was cut down a lot.


The gory effects for the deaths of Blanche, Cook and Shannon were digitally added over fake blood during post-production due to the movie’s limited budget.


While shooting the beach scene, Ron Perlman shattered his knee when a wave hit him.


Reportedly, director Nicolas Winding Refn filmed a different ending scene where the Driver actually dies after he and Bernie stab each other and was used in an early test screening.


In November 2010 filming of Drive was concluded.


The dead body count for this movie is 10, which includes, Standard, Blanche, the two hotel thugs, elevator guy hit-man, Cook, Shannon, Nino, Nino’s chauffeur driver and Bernie.


Beth Mickle was hired as Drive’s production designer on Gosling’s recommendation, after working together on Half Nelson (2006). Mickle’s crew built Driver’s apartment building which included a hallway and elevator that linked his unit to Irene’s. Mickle also made a strip club and re-created Brooks’ character’s apartment in an abandoned building. The most challenging was turning a “run-of-the-mill” Los Angeles auto body shop into a grandiose dealership, painting the walls an electric blue color and bringing in a showroom full of vintage cars.


Ryan Gosling had also worked with Drive costume designer Erin Benach, where she designed clothes for Gosling in Half Nelson and Blue Valentine. Gosling has also worked with casting director Mindy Marin before this movie.


Although Drive is set in the present day, it deliberately carries a 1980’s atmosphere, underlined by the vehicles used, the music, clothes and the architecture.


Originally Angelo Badalamenti was reported to compose the score but Martinez later confirmed the name was used as a placeholder.


Refn wanted electronic music for the film and to have the music occasionally be abstract so viewers can see things from the Driver’s perspective. He gave composer Cliff Martinez a sampling of songs he liked and asked Martinez to emulate the sound, resulting in “a kind of retro, 80ish, synthesizer europop”.


Refn picked out songs from mixer Johnny Jewel’s catalog “Under Your Spell” and “A Real Hero”, as he thought of Drive being a fairytale. But Jewel worried that the latter song might be too literal but he soon realized that it’s used in Drive “in the exact same way that I was feeling it when I wrote it. He definitely got the nuance of the song, and understood what it was supposed to mean, and he wanted to give that emotion to the viewer, that same feeling.”


Behind the scenes featurettes:


Featurette with director Nicolas Winding Refn:

Feaurette with Ryan Gosling:

Feaurette with Carey Mulligan:

Feaurette with Bryan Cranston:




Total Trivia Entries: 57



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