Product placement in pictures: Drive
Drive was one of the best and most critically acclaimed movies of 2011 (with a 12-minute standing ovation in Cannes). It was also one of my favorites too. The movie doesn’t have a lot of (paid) placements; however there were some memorable products involved that might even become iconic. The best chance for that probably has Driver’s Scorpion jacket.
Let’s check the jacket and some other products from Drive.
The jacket, worn by Ryan Gosling, is probably the most memorable piece of wardrobe from the movie. According to the director Nicolas Winding Refn the jacket was inspired by Kenneth Anger’s movie Scorpion Rising. Even more, the scorpion that is on the back of the white satin bomber jacket is an exact replica of the scorpion in the logo of that movie.
The jacket was built from the scratch with the help of Los Angeles based tailor Richard Lim of High Society Custom Tailoring. The production crew tested several styles and colors, but in the end settled for white (almost silver) satin jacket.
Well, if you want your own Scorpion jacket, you can now buy a replica at US retailer Steady Clothing. Great move!
Chevy Impala has a small role in the movie, but it has a part in the opening sequence, which was brilliantly described by James Berardinelli in his review of Drive: “Drive opens with a getaway, and shows the meticulous planning that goes into one such operation. It includes a stopwatch, a police band radio, and some badass driving. The eight minute sequence could stand on its own as a short. It’s the best part of a movie that is otherwise still very good.”
Impala was mentioned only once: when Driver’s mentor and boss Shannon presented him the car for the next getaway.
“There she is! ‘Chevy Impala’, most popular car in the state of California. No one will be looking at you.”
Impala is Chevrolet’s car, introduced for the 1958 model year (the ninth generation was presented in 2006). Auto Sales report from The Wall Street Journal for December 2011 shows that Chevy Impala wasn’t in the top 20 best selling cars. Even more, Todd Bianco of WeHo News, wrote in his review of the movie that he’s not so sure if Chevy Impala is the most popular car in California, but he knows that it’s consistently in the top 10 because it’s the darling of the corporate and rental fleets. Bianco continued “No one buys an Impala; you rent it at the airport. And sure enough, true to Shannon’s promise, the car and its driver get lost in the throngs of people and cars at the LA Staples Center parking lot after a Clippers vs. Raptors game. It’s the perfect metaphor for anonymity in car-crazy Los Angeles.“
Drive’s costume designer Erin Benach revealed for GQ that a specialty glove-maker in L.A. made the gloves for the movie. They were inspired by Steve McQueen, who can be seen in several photos with driving gloves with the holes in the knuckles.
Levi’s denim jacket
According to Erin Benach the denim jacket was a vintage Levi’s that needed to be tailored a little bit for Ryan Gosling. Then they had to multiply it by 12 for all the blood in the movie :)
The henley T-shirt
First of all a bit of theory and history: a henley shirt is a collarless men’s pullover shirt, characterized by a 10 centimeters (3.9 in) long placket beneath the round neckline, usually having 2-5 buttons (basically a collarless polo shirt). The sleeves may be either short or long, and it can be made in almost any fabric. According to Wikipedia henley shirt got its name because this particular style of shirt was the traditional uniform of rowers in the English town of Henley-on-Thames.
Erin Benach told GQ that finding the right henley T shirt was quite a challenge and that they probably tried around 300 different model. In the end we wound up finding some dead stock Thirties army/navy henleys and got 15 of them. Those shirts apparently originated from soldiers wanting to wear a layer underneath their wool, just to take off their fighting jackets, their combat jackets, and then still have something on.
Ford Mustang and Chrysler 300
Both cars were very visible in the movie’s second car chase.
As I said in the beginning of the post there weren’t many brands in Drive, although there were a lot of small, meticulously plotted details that made the movie special, above all the Scorpion jacket. And I totally agree with Simon Kinnear who concluded his review of Drive for the awesome Clothes in Film blog: “By the end of the film, Gosling is still wearing that satin jacket but, like Bruce Willis’ vest in Die Hard, it can’t really be called white any more – much like Driver’s own reputation.”
Other movies from the ‘Product placement in pictures’ series: