Director Michael Rianda says "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was set to be Rick and Katie's song.
But he realized the Whitney Houston classic is a "super gross" choice for a dad/daughter song.
After trying out 90 songs, Rianda and his team landed on T.I.'s "Live Your Life" instead.
One of the most touching moments in Netflix's "The Mitchells vs. The Machines" is the connection dad Rick (voiced by Danny McBride) and daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) have with the T.I. song "Live Your Life."
As Katie prepares to go off to college, Rick comes up with the idea of the family packing into the car and going on a cross-country road trip to see her off. During the trip, Rick tries to reconnect with Katie one last time by putting on the T.I. song that features Rihanna, which they loved to sing when she was a kid.
The attempted bonding between the two gets more complicated when AI robots try to overtake the world and the Mitchells are the only ones left to stop them.
But "Live Your Life" is perfectly implemented again later on, towards the end of the movie, when the song plays to signify Katie's love for her dad - as they destroy evil robots together.
However, "Mitchells" director Michael Rianda said "Live Your Life" was chosen later in the making of the movie.
"For a long time, it was 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' by Whitney Houston," Rianda told Insider, looking back on that original choice as a huge mistake.
"I love it as a song, but it's so romantic that if you listen to the song for a second it's super gross having a dad and daughter singing it together. Like, 'I want to feel the heat with somebody?' That's not super cool for a dad to say to his daughter," he added.
Thus an epic quest began to find the right father/daughter song.
Rianda said his team tried out 90 different songs. Finally it was codirector Jeff Rowe who got "Live Your Life" in the mix.
"Jeff ran in one day playing his iPhone and was like, 'This is the song!' And it was the T.I. song and I was like 'Yes!' We ran over to our editor and he put the song in a scene," Rianda recalled.
But to make sure they had the right song, Rianda said they did a "Gong Show"-like contest at one point to make it official.
"Each editor had 25 songs and they would play five seconds of it and if in that five seconds it couldn't beat 'Live Your Life,' it got eliminated," he said.
Anyone on the crew was allowed to ring an automated gong sound to eliminate a song.
Rianda said a distant second was ABBA's "Waterloo." But the clear winner was always "Live Your Life."
"It's a funny and very joyous song," he said.
"The Mitchells vs. The Machines" is available now on Netflix.
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