AS A music-loving child of the ’70s and early ’80s, James Gunn has an especially fond spot in his art for Electric Light Orchestra. Yet a change to his 2014 Disney/Marvel smash “Guardians of the Galaxy” could have cost him a shot at using an ELO song.
One of the most memorable scenes in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (opening Friday) is the opening credits, as Baby Groot (as minimally voiced by Vin Diesel) dances to the ELO hit “Mr. Blue Sky.” Landing the rights to the track, though, was not entirely blue skies.
That’s because Gunn, the director of the planned “Guardians” trilogy, had ultimately passed on including a tune from Jeff Lynne, the leader of ELO, in his first “Guardians” film.
“We got the rights to the first one” — the 1976 ELO hit “Livin’ Thing” — “but I cut the scene,” Gunn tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. Thus, the cutting-room floor last time nearly undercut the cinematic dance floor this time.
“It was a whole montage around ‘Livin’ Thing,’ and it was awesome,” Gunn continues. “To be honest, I think I regret cutting the montage from the movie. I think people would have loved it. I would have loved to put it on even on the Blu-ray — but you have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the song, and we couldn’t afford to do that just for the Blu-ray.”
Fast-forward to the sequel. Team Gunn approached Lynne again for the rights to a different tune.
The ELO leader initially balked, however, says Gunn: “He was hesitant because we had cut ‘Livin’ Thing.’ ” The director, though, says he believes Lynne is happy with how it all turned out.
And last week, as ELO was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Lynne and the band played “Mr. Blue Sky” as part of their celebratory set — a winning performance marking the song’s return to the zeitgeist’s center spotlight.