A couple of hours ago Drive director Nicholas Winding Refn described his film, which costars Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, as a “kind of fantasy” thing that was partly inspired, he said, by the vibe of driving around and listening to great music on the car stereo. He also said that in one sense it’s “almost a John Hughes film.”

That scared the hell out of me. My initial impression had been that Drive is a lean ’70s flick in the vein of Michael Mann‘s Thief featuring a quiet hero in the mold of Steve McQueen, etc. (This was fortified by moderator Trevor Groth, who said he’s seen it, during the discussion.) So I asked Refn what he meant exactly by the dreaded term “John Hughes.”

He basically meant, he said, that Drive, which will have its first Cannes press screening tomorrow night, is a somewhat lighter thing during the first half and then turns into something darker in the second half when Gosling’s character, a stunt driver, “goes a little crazy.” Refn mentioned, I think, Pretty in Pink , but I couldn’t tolerate that notion. (Not Ringwald…no!) So I asked if Drive might perhaps be analogous to Jonathan Demme‘s Something Wild, which definitely does the light-goes-into-darkness thing, and he said yeah, that wasn’t a half-bad analogy.

Refn also said he doesn’t drive, doesn’t have a license, is “car-ophobic” and is terrified of going on Magic Mountain rides. And yet “I like speed,” he said. Go figure.