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The needle drops that James Gunn puts in his films are quickly rivaling those by other needle-drop masters Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese (even if the Goodfellas director may bristle at being compared to the man who helmed several superhero films). Which makes sense, since the Super and Guardians of the Galaxy director takes his soundtrack choices very, very seriously. He even writes his song choices in his scripts.
So, while we wait for Gunn's latest film, The Suicide Squad, and, of course, the full soundtrack for the R-rated feature that’s not-a-sequel-yet-also-not-a-reboot-but-maybe-it’s-both (which Warner Bros.’ in-house music label promises us is coming soon), Gunn has provided fans with a playlist of the songs that almost made it into the final cut of the film but didn’t, courtesy of Empire.
Not only does the playlist (unsurprisingly) feature some choice tracks — including Johnny Cash’s cover of “Rusty Cage,” Aerosmith’s “Draw the Line” (apparently Gunn’s favorite track from the Boston-based band), and Kero Kero Bonito’s "Sometimes" — but Gunn also provides explanations for why these songs were considered but ultimately dropped from the official soundtrack. For example, Gunn “thought John Murphy’s score might fulfil [the film’s] needs better” than the aforementioned Aerosmith tune.
He even reveals some song choices that did make it into the final version of the film. In addition to “Folsom Prison Blues,” which Gunn decided to use instead of Cash’s Soundgarden cover mentioned above, he reveals that he chose to play The Jim Carroll Band’s “People Who Died” over the opening credits instead of “What a Way to Die” by The Pleasure Seekers. Hey, songs in a Gunn film are apparently like his characters: none of them are safe and any of them can get killed off.
And if anyone’s saddened by the idea that songs like “The Human Paradox” by Dynazty or “A Perfect Miracle” by Spiritualized won’t appear in The Suicide Squad, dry those tears: Gunn will almost definitely find homes for them in some future film.
The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max Aug. 6.