A stunt driver moonlighting as a criminal getaway driver is an unlikely hero. But in "Drive," starring Ryan Gosling, he's exactly the man for the job.
Gosling plays the unnamed Driver, a Hollywood stunt driver who'll also take the wheel to help robbers get away from the scene of the crime. Driver gets involved with Irene, played by Carey Mulligan, a young mother who lives down the hall. But when her husband is released from jail, Driver ends up entangled in more dangerous dealings than he may have expected. The Huffington Post spoke with director Nicolas Winding Refn to get his take on what "Drive" is about, who the Driver really is, and why violence is like sex.
What were your inspirations for the movie? Fairy tales and electronic music: Those two things were the main basis of inspiration. You approach it the way the way you approach a fetish -- what arouses you? I had been reading Grimm's fairy tales with my daughter. The way they're told, everything is a heightened reality. Something may be morally incorrect, but the evil ones are punished.
There's a lot of extreme violence in "Drive." What is your approach to filming violence? Violence is difficult -- it brings responsibility. Violence has no meaning, it's not enjoyable. Violence is like sex -- it's all about the buildup. It's just a way to express emotions.
What were the most difficult scenes to shoot? The chase scenes -- we didnt have a lot of time or money. It's much more fun to edit car chase scenes than shoot them. It's a wonderful way to gamble. If it does work out it's very satisfying.
We read that you moved your cast and crew into one house during filming. What was your reasoning behind the decision? It makes everybody more part of it. Filmmaking is not just mechanical, it's also emotional. The more you involve people the more they give of themselves. We cut the movie at my house -- my mother was there, my kids were there, the actors came by. We'd watch movies and swim in the pool -- it was real Hollywood.
Carey Mulligan's character, Irene, was originally written as a young Latina woman in her twenties. How did you end up casting her instead? I couldn't find any actress that would click with me personally. I couldn't make a decision for some reason. I had all this talent in front of me and out of the blue I get a call from Carey because she wanted to meet me about doing a movie. She came by the house and she walked in and I realized, 'Oh my God, this is what I was looking for. I wanted to protect her ... And I knew that was the Driver's motivation.
Ryan Gosling's Driver doesn't speak very much in the film. How did you work with him to make the character feel full, without the dialogue? You keep everything inside. It's played out by gestures. It's what happens when you take away an actor's voice.
So where does the Driver's motivation come from, then? He realizes the woman is endangered and he wants to save her. He believes in the purity of love and a real hero protects the innocent.