Regardless of how you feel about the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie we think we can all agree that whoever gave James Gunn permission to go that hard on the soundtrack is an absolute and total fucking hero. A soundtrack it turns out the entire cast and crew enjoyed so much listened to on repeat during production.
First though for anyone unfamiliar with how the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack came to be, according to Gunn he started by first downloading hundreds of hits from the 70’s 80’s. Gunn then removed all of the songs that he immediately recognised followed by all the ones he thought were too cheesy or overplayed.
Gunn would later explain that he did this deliberately because wanted the songs he chose to eventually appear in the film to be ones that people recognised, but wouldn’t necessarily be able to name off the top of their head. In essence he wanted to pick songs that were popular in the 80’s but not so much today. Which, well makes sense if you think about it. Within the context of the film Peter Quill is listening to a mixtape of his favourite songs from his childhood in the 1980’s, so it stands to reason that not every song on there is going to be one everyone today recognises or even likes.
According to the director he listened to the playlist he curated on a constant loop around his house whilst writing the film’s script, occasionally landing upon one he liked enough to write an entire scene around it and at other times finding one he felt suited a particular scene he’d already written. After several months of doing this Gunn had whittled the several hundred song playlist down to a playlist of just a dozen.
During production Gunn continued to play the songs out loud, specifically whilst filming the scenes the songs were set to appear in the final film. So for example during the scene where the Chris Pratt is exuding an aura of glowing red sexual energy as Hooked on a Feeling blares in the background, that song was actually playing at max volume on set so Chris Pratt knew exactly how pissed to look.
The same can be said for every other scene in the movie where a pop song is played with the sole exception of Moonage Daydream by David Bowie during the Knowhere scene which was added in a post-production. A song Gunn was apparently this close to not including in the film until he realised making an 80’s infused sci-fi film without David Bowie in it would be an insult to the metaphysical concept of art itself.