Why Brie Larson’s Scott Pilgrim Song Took 10 Years To Be Released

As a cult favorite and hit in terms of how it landed in pop culture, Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is known for, among other things, a kick ass soundtrack. Songs from artists like Beck, The Rolling Stones, and Metric were all included, woven into a sonic tapestry that Wright fans would come to expect. However in the case of one song, Metric’s “Black Sheep,” there was actually a cover featured in the film, sung by pop star/actor Brie Larson. The song was a hit with the fanbase, but for a decade it wasn’t available on any official Scott Pilgrim soundtrack, for some easy, and quite understandable reasons.

During my talk with Edgar Wright in honor of the Dolby Atmos re-release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for the 10th anniversary, this was a subject that had to be discussed. Over the course of those 10 years that have seen the film only build on its instant cult status, there has been a constant ask as to why Larson’s version of “Black Sheep” wasn’t released. Which would always be followed up with a request as to when that omission would be rectified. The first part of that story, in Wright’s own words, is quite simple:

It’s an easy answer. It’s because, initially, when we did the soundtrack, Metric wanted to have their version on the soundtrack. And because it’s their song, it was absolutely fair. It was gonna be on a soundtrack, and they asked, ‘We would prefer that our version was on the soundtrack.’ So it was as simple as that. I wasn’t going to contest that, and it was only fair to Emily Haines, who wrote the song, that she should have her version on the soundtrack. And it’s, you know, her version is great too.

Like the man himself said, it was absolutely fair that Metric would want their version of one of the most memorable songs from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World to be included on the soundtrack album. That still didn’t stop fans from clamoring for the Brie Larson variant that introduced her character, Envy Adams, and Brandon Routh’s evil ex, Todd Ingram, to the world. Though there was a bit of a compromise.

The Scott Pilgrim vs. The World version of “Black Sheep” was given its own music video when it came time to promote the film, and was included as a home video extra. So it wasn’t like the song was totally ignored, it just wasn’t available as a readily purchased piece of music. Luckily for Edgar Wright, the fans at home, and even Metric themselves, the shelf life of Scott Pilgrim has been exceedingly generous. Everything from home video to repertory screenings keeps its memory alive. And part of that memory is Brie Larson’s amazing introduction in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Sing along if you know the words, as you watch the video below:

Because of the enduring love and demand for all things Pilgrim, a special reissue of the soundtrack from Abkco was put in the works to celebrate the 10th anniversary. Which, of course, allowed fans to ply Edgar Wright with even more requests for Brie Larson’s version of “Black Sheep,” and when the announcement went up, that’s exactly what they did. No matter how hard he tried, Mr. Wright would never forget those requests, which pushed him to make the big ask when the time came:

Then, when the idea of… Abkco approached me about doing a box set soundtrack for the 10th anniversary, I said to Alisa [Coleman] at Abkco, ‘If we don’t have the Brie Larson “Black Sheep” cover, there’s no point in doing it, because people [have] given me such shit over the years.’ They’re like ‘Why wouldn’t you release that version?’ And I never really wanted to answer, I’d say, ‘Oh, Metric wanted their version on the soundtrack.’

Deciding to finally put both versions of “Black Sheep” on the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 10th anniversary vinyl, Edgar Wright just had one last thing to do. He had to get the permission of songwriter/Metric singer Emily Haines to do just that, which meant another call was in Wright’s future. Though, obviously, history has proven that this latest round of telephone was easily fruitful, especially as it was recalled by Edgar:

So I called Emily Haines and I said, ‘This is going to seem so crazy, but 10 years later, is it ok if we have the Brie Larson version on the soundtrack, as well as the Metric one. So the new soundtrack has both versions on it.’ And she was like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure.’ They were totally fine about it, because now it’s on there twice.

If you’ve been waiting to own “Black Sheep,” or even just a new pressing of the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack on vinyl, that wait has finally come to an end. And rest assured, there’s even more delights that were included on the brand new Abkco release of the soundtrack, which at the time of this interview Edgar Wright hadn’t received a copy of. The other addition that Wright is proud to see included on the new box set is something unexpectedly awesome:

So the new soundtrack, that I think just came out, somebody texted me today and said that they got their copy before I did. I don’t even have my copy yet. But it has that on it and some other stuff as well. There was such a treasure trove of stuff. One of the things that’s on the album, that hasn’t previously been released, was I had this demo of Beck working out the “Ramona” song. He basically just improvises five different versions of that song, and just hearing him kind of just do it straight to tape, noodling and working it out. I asked Beck, I said, ‘Hey, is it ok to put all of these on? Because it’s fascinating.’ There’s a lot of good stuff on there.

This story has a happy ending for several reasons. First, it’s proof of how Scott Pilgrim vs. The World beat the odds and became a fan favorite, even in the face of horrific box office business. Second, it’s another example of fans asking for something awesome to happen, and eventually finding their patience paying off. But most importantly, Edgar Wright finally did get his copy of the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack; which allows the filmmaker to enjoy the fruits of his labors as much as the rest of the world.

Naturally it all leads back to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which will be re-released in Dolby Cinema locations for a week-long engagement, starting this Thursday. And if you’re in the market for a copy of that special 10th anniversary vinyl box set, that’s currently available for purchase as well. All that’s missing is some more Scott Pilgrim coverage for you to read from us here at CinemaBlend, which you’ll definitely get to see more of in the days leading to the big moment.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.