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Jon Hamm riffs on karaoke jams and why 'Baby Driver' is such a musical film

From left, Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzales, and Jon Hamm in "Baby Driver." (Sony/TriStar)
From left, Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzales, and Jon Hamm in "Baby Driver." (Sony/TriStar)

Music was everywhere during the making of the new film "Baby Driver," both on set and off. Star Ansel Elgort makes EDM dance tunes in his second career under the DJ moniker Ansølo. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, who menaces Elgort mercilessly as the unhinged Bats, also has two Grammys and four R&B albums under his belt.

Eiza Gonzalez, who steals scenes in her biggest American film to date as the tough-as-nails Darling, has released two albums in her native Mexico. Lily James even sings in the movie, warbling Carla Thomas's 1966 pop single "B-A-B-Y" in her first scene.

Not everyone on the Atlanta set, however, self-identified as a musician. Just ask Jon Hamm. (Warning: Mild spoilers follow.)

“I’m not musical in any way,” the “Mad Men” star demurred to The Times, despite recorded evidence to the contrary. “But,” he said with a grin, reclining on a Four Seasons couch on a recent summer day, “I’ll karaoke!"

Karaoke, says Hamm, was a favorite pastime for the cast and crew during filming on “Baby Driver,” where every car chase and action sequence – and many of the dialogue scenes – were meticulously scripted by celebrity choreographer Ryan Heffington, to the beats of Wright’s playlist.

“Eiza always wanted to do karaoke,” said Hamm, who revealed that his co-star’s go-to song is “Pony” by Ginuwine. His own jam: "Under Pressure," by Queen and David Bowie.

“I’ve seen Jamie Foxx, who is an amazing musician, just walk up to a piano and start playing it,” he sighed. “I am not musical in any way, although I like music. But I stopped playing violin in 4th grade. I’m like, ‘Well… I’m good at baseball!'"

His favorite moments to watch in “Baby Driver”? That angsty junkyard scene set to “Easy” by the Commodores – Elgort’s own No. 1 karaoke song -- and “Never Gonna Give You Up,” by Barry White.

“I like that scene.  It’s normally a baby-making song, but in this it’s really, really sinister," Hamm said.

Hamm wasn’t the only non-musical star on set in an action-musical filled with cameos by musicians including Killer Mike, Big Boi (in the restaurant scene), Paul Williams (as “the Butcher”) and Sky Ferreira. 

I asked Wright about the surprising appearance in the film by Atlanta personalities Sidney and Thurman Sewell, better known collectively as the ATL Twins.

The siblings, who made their film debut as James Franco’s sidekicks in Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers,” show up in a surprise encounter with Baby that leaves them carjacked, their phone still plugged in blasting Young MC’s “Know How.”

Wright’s face lit up at the mention of their name. “I have to give Sidney and Thurman credit,” he said, laughing. “There’s not that much improv in the movie, but the line, ‘More like Bonnie and Bonnie’ was their line, and when they said it, I thought, ‘That’s great – that’s going in the movie.’"

I’ve had one question ever since I first saw “Baby Driver” in March at SXSW, where it received the same enthusiasm it’s been receiving from audiences and critics alike: Would the ATL Twins really be driving around modern-day Atlanta listening to a 1988 track by Young MC?

“Let me put it this way,” said Wright. “I think they should.”

READ MORE: The musical, millennial life of 'Baby Driver's' Ansel Elgort

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