How Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ Ended Up in ‘Shaun of the Dead’
Shaun of the Dead, the classic 2004 cult comedy written and directed by Edgar Wright, includes a memorable scene in which the main characters battle zombies to the sound of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
But it turns out the scene could have had a very different soundtrack.
“Our film was not a big-budget film,” Wright recalled while discussing Shaun of the Dead on the Soundtracking With Edith Bowman podcast. Though the script was written with “Don’t Stop Me Now” in mind, there was no guarantee the filmmakers would be able to afford the song’s licensing fee.
“Some bands were just completely off-limits," Wright explained. "Led Zeppelin might charge £250,000, but the Queen track, they gave it to us for about 15k, which is amazing. We wouldn't have a scene without it."
Watch Queen-Scored Clip From 'Shaun of the Dead'
The director later admitted there was a backup song in place, just in case Queen’s asking price was too high. “Our B-choice was 'Rasputin' by Boney M,” Wright revealed. “We even roughly tried it out in choreography to see what it would be like."
Queen’s songs are among the most licensed tunes in all of music. The classic band can regularly be heard in movies, television shows and an assortment of commercials.
“Don’t Stop Me Now” has a long list of notable placements all by itself. Besides being used in Shaun of the Dead, the track has been heard on Saturday Night Live, in the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy and a Super Bowl commercial for Amazon.