Ryan Gosling as an unnamed getaway driver and part-time stunt double
Los Angeles, Fall 2010
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Costume Designer: Erin Benach
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Drive is an excellent neo-noir throwback to the days of Point Blank, Bullitt, Taxi Driver, and The Driver, delivering a moody and stylish character study of a taciturn anti-hero navigating the violent L.A. underworld and his own emotions with existential angst.
Thankfully defying the marketing that offered viewers a standard, action-packed car movie, Drive is based on James Sallis’ 2005 novel about an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver – here played by Ryan Gosling – who moonlights as a criminal getaway driver. He hones his skills working as a mechanic for Shannon (Bryan Cranston, who nails mild-mannered criminal affability); Shannon, in turn, offers his favors to ruthless crime boss Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks, who is always welcome.)
The Driver’s life changes when he meets Irene (Carey Mulligan), a Denny’s waitress raising her young son Benicio (Kaden Leos) while her husband Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) serves a prison stretch for robbery. Standard’s release threatens the budding romance between Irene and The Driver, but it also threatens the family’s security when Standard’s outstanding prison debt brings Albanian gangster Cook (James Biberi) calling at their home. Cook demands that Standard rob a pawnshop to pay off his $40,000 debt to him. Standard is desperate… but, luckily (at first), he just made the acquaintance of a highly skilled getaway driver.
What’d He Wear?
Ryan Gosling’s outfit in Drive—specifically his satin scorpion-embroidered bomber jacket—has received plenty of attention and requests for coverage on this blog. Luckily, plenty of fans have worked tirelessly to pin down the exact brands and makers that delivered The Driver’s style to the screen.
The Scorpion Jacket
The centerpiece of The Driver’s outfit is his white quilted satin jacket, custom made by Richard Lim, founder of High Society Tailors in Los Angeles. Lim’s site includes a photo of the jacket with a caption explaining that 27 jackets were made for the film. (Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not, that Ryan Gosling’s November 12, 1980 birthday makes him a Scorpio…)
Costume designer Erin Benach explained to British GQ:
Ryan was really inspired by these Korean souvenir jackets from the ’50s. We got to this idea of a white quilted satin jacket with a scorpion on the back. The scorpion came a little later – that was inspired by this Kenneth Anger video “Scorpio [Rising]”. We built the jacket from scratch. We used a tailor in Los Angeles: Richard Lim of High Society. He was really wonderful – he was able to work with the satin, and used real wool for the cuffs and the collar. We had maybe ten different styles tested: we had a baseball cut for the shoulders, then we had a regular sleeve cut. We tried so many styles to nail the one that fitted and looked the best. Then there was the whole issue of the color. A white satin jacket set the alarm bells off for the director of photography. It’s a really hard thing to light, because it can blow out every scene. So we went through many iterations of the tone to get the actual color we used, which is almost more like silver. At one point we just thought, “Let’s go back and make it olive green or red,” but in the end we all fought for saving the white jacket because we loved so much.
As Benach explained, the color is more of an off-white/silver satin twill, which Lim assembled with diamond stitching to create a quilted effect. On the back, the costume team embroidered a large two-tone yellow scorpion with darker gold thread creating the shadow and lighter yellow used on most of the body.
Since a getaway driver would certainly need as much range of movement for his arms as possible, the jacket has action sleeves with dark brown wool side gussets exposed, particularly around the armpits and back.
The same dark brown wool knit is present on the ribbed cuffs, bottom hem, and the distinctive round collar with its pointed throat latch tab.
The inside is lined with a smooth brown satin in the same shade as the dark brown on the wool collar, cuffs, and hem. The Driver often zips the brass zipper halfway up his jacket but never fully to the top. There is a vertical hand pocket on each side of his jacket.
Before Drive was even released in theaters, fans began eagerly trying to track down as much information as they could to get a jacket of their own at forums like The RPF and FilmJackets.com. Replicas in varying degrees of price, accuracy, and quality are still available on Amazon (including this one for a super-low $41, as of December 2016), but the experts at Magnoli Clothiers worked very hard with both fans and the Drive costume team to deliver the definitive Drive jacket replica for only $350… also customizable by color and back embroidery.
Under his scorpion jacket, The Driver layers with a denim jacket rather than a shirt, although the jacket’s slim fit keeps the look from bulking. Evident by the trademark red tag on the left breast pocket, The Driver is wearing a Levi’s Trucker Jacket in dark indigo denim. The jacket has straight yokes across the front and back with pointed flaps over the chest patch pockets, with the lack of hand pockets suggesting an older vintage or at least a retro-minded replication. There are six distressed copper rivet buttons down the front and a short two-button tab on each side to adjust the fit on his waist.
The Undershirt Guy did plenty of research to find out more about the henley shirts that Gosling wears on screen and discovered that all of his henleys were purchased from Mister Freedom on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles; in turn, the store owner Christophe Loiron explained to The Undershirt Guy that all of the shirts worn by Gosling were combed cotton vintage henleys made in the 1940s by Williams. (Magnoli Clothiers, in their infinite wisdom, also recreated the look of Gosling’s vintage henleys with their own ivory and blue offerings for only $45 each.)
The Driver’s most frequently worn henley is made of off-white cream lightweight cotton and has a short placket with three widely-spaced white plastic buttons and short set-in sleeves with a wide hem.
In several scenes, mostly set around his apartment building, The Driver also wears an identical Williams vintage henley dyed in a light but vivid shade of slate-blue.
Finally, when watching TV with Irene’s son Benicio, he wears an ivory white lightweight cotton sweatshirt with a crew neck and long raglan sleeves.
The Driver’s jeans are even darker than his denim jacket. They have been identified as Acne Studios “Max Soft” raw denim jeans with a low-rise waist and a slim fit through the legs.
The Driver wears a smooth black Torino “Aniline” leather belt with a reversible brown underside. The belt closes through a square polished steel single-prong buckle. (As of March 2022, this belt is still available via Amazon.)
Some would argue that the most important part of a driver’s wardrobe are his or her shoes. In Drive, Gosling’s character wears a pair of light tan smooth kidskin leather Stacy Adams “Madison” cap-toe boots with derby-style lacing, a perforated cap toe design, and brown hard leather soles. They have six eyelets and four hooks up the shaft for the boot laces.
Three costume tags posted by The Undershirt Guy provide additional details about Gosling’s costume; in the scene described, he was working in Shannon’s shop and wearing a pair of black Dockers “K-1” trousers with distressed black leather boots.
Drive‘s propmaster Will Blount understood the importance of a professional driver having a sharp, accurate timepiece and wanted Gosling to wear something memorable and distinctive. The Rolex Daytona and Omega Speedmaster come to mind, but Blount had a more unique solution; he created a fake Patek Philippe chronograph that would be one-of-a-kind in itself and unlike anything actually offered in the Patek line. It has a round stainless steel case, plain silver dial with a 6:00 sub-dial, and a smooth dark brown leather strap.
Although the real watch doesn’t exist, the Dappered team researched wristwatches for their “Steal the Style” focus on Drive and discovered the Skagen 958XLSL, a fine lookalike and certainly an affordable alternative to any real Patek Philippe.
Also important for a professional driver are a fine set of gloves, and Gosling’s character wears a pair of kid leather Gaspar Gloves “2204 Driving Gloves” in a dark shade of brown that Gaspar calls “London tan” (but is darker than I typically equate with that color.) Like many driving gloves, Gosling’s Gaspars have knuckle holes and silver-snapped wrists.
Finally, when not driving around at night (as he is when we meet him!), The Driver shades his eyes with a cool pair of Selima Optique Money 2 sport aviator sunglasses with auburn tortoise frames and brown gradient lenses. Gosling had previously worn Selima Optique sunglasses as a much different character in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Like the BAMF featured in Monday’s post, this getaway driver also ends a car chase and eludes his pursuers by donning a baseball cap celebrating a local sports team. In this case, Ryan Gosling wears a unique light blue Los Angeles Clippers fitted with a bright red embroidered “L.A.” logo on the front.
TheTake includes comprehensive breakdowns of the costumes and accessories worn by Ryan Gosling and other Drive cast members.
Bullitt is often cited as one of Drive‘s influences, so it’s not unexpected to see our taciturn hero speeding around in a new Mustang—specifically a black 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0—and leading the villains to a fatal end in their black Chrysler sedan.
Much like the groundbreaking 1964 Mustang, the new generation of Mustangs introduced 40 years later indicated a new trend for American car makers embracing the height of 1960s muscle. Dodge would revive the Challenger for the 2008 model year followed by the 2009 re-introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro, but it was the fifth generation Ford Mustang developed for 2005 that signified the new age of American muscle.
Sid Ramnarace’s design of the fifth generation Mustang received a facelift for the 2010 model year under design chief Doug Gaffka, using George Saridikas’ exterior proposal and Robert Gelardi’s interior proposal. The new Mustang was even sleeker than the previous models, with redesigned lights, a prominent “powerdome” hood, and revisions that would increase the car’s aerodynamic performance.
The Mustang GT received an upgraded engine for the 2011 model year, upsizing the aging 4.6L Modular V8 with the “Coyote” 5.0L DOHC V8, recalling the displacement of the popular “5.0” third generation GT models. This new and improved engine added 430 pounds to the Mustang GT’s curb weight but also increased power by nearly 100 horsepower from 315 to 412 with premium grade, 91-octane gasoline.
2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0
Body Style: 2-door sport coupe
Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)
Engine: 302 cubic inch (5.0 L) Ford 5.0 L “Coyote” DOHC V8
Power: 412 hp (307 kW; 418 PS) @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 390 lb·ft (529 N·m) @ 4250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 107.1 inches (2720 mm)
Length: 188.1 inches (4780 mm)
Width: 73.9 inches (1880 mm)
Height: 55.6 inches (1410 mm)
Jerry Garrett’s blog includes an interesting post appropriately titled “The Cars of DRIVE” featuring an interview with Drive‘s stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott. Prescott recalls that all of the Mustang GTs provided by Ford had automatic transmissions: “You really couldn’t get them to do anything. The minute you started doing anything tricky with them—spins, slides, drifting—the traction control would start shutting everything down.” Forced to improvise, Prescott and his team discovered that holding the traction control button down for six seconds disengaged it, allowing them to perform stunts like 180-degree “bootlegger” turns. Not provided by Ford, one Mustang with a manual transmission was found for the production and re-painted black to match the others. Each Mustang GT featured in the chase scene was fitted with prop California license plate 4DOQ78.
The Mustang was merely a work car to be used for the heist’s getaway (although the choice of a two-door car for a three-person robbery is plagued with logical missteps…)
The Driver’s personal car is a light blue 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu two-door pillared coupe, owned in real life by Ryan Gosling, who also rebuilt it himself. 1973 was the first model year for the third generation Chevelle, the most extensive redesign since the model was first produced in 1964. The only two-door model of the new Chevelle generation was the pillared “Colonnade Hardtop” that was designed to respond to federal rollover standards. Supposedly, the script called for the more iconic 1970 Chevelle (also featured in Monday’s Jack Reacher post), but Gosling spoke up to feature his own ’73 model on screen… a wise choice for an understated character like The Driver.
I don’t carry a gun. I drive.
The Driver does his most effective violent work with a simple hammer, but he does—at one point—relieve an assassin of his shotgun, a High Standard FLITE KING K-1200 Riot Standard shotgun, as identified by IMFDB.
The 12-gauge pump-action shotgun has a sawed-off stock and barrel, which make it easier for the close-quarters combat in the confines of a motel room. As High Standard shotguns stopped production in the 1970s, this model likely dates back to the Bullitt era as well. A High Standard FLITE KING pump shotgun was also the long gun of choice for Steve McQueen’s “Doc” McCoy in The Getaway (1972).
How to Get the Look
The Driver’s wardrobe is a mix of vintage finds and designer items with his signature scorpion jacket a custom-made touch just for him.
- White diamond-stitched quilted satin bomber jacket with dark brown knit collar, cuffs, and hem with brass-zip front and two-tone gold embroidered scorpion on back
- Indigo denim Levi’s vintage trucker jacket with pointed-flap chest pockets, six brass buttons, and 2-button side-tab waist adjusters
- Cream/off-white lightweight cotton short-sleeve vintage henley shirt with wide 3-button placket
- Dark indigo wash Acne Studios “Max Soft” raw denim jeans
- Black aniline leather reversible belt with polished steel square single-prong buckle
- Light tan kidskin leather Stacy Adams “Madison” perforated cap-toe 6-eyelet/4-hook derby boots
- Steel wristwatch with round stainless case and silver dial (with 6:00 sub-dial) on dark brown smooth leather strap
- Gaspar Gloves 2204 brown kid leather driving gloves with knuckle holes and snap wrist
- Selima Optique Money 2 auburn tortoise-framed aviator-style sport sunglasses
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
You know the story about the scorpion and the frog?