HOLLYWOOD—Everyone in the world young and old, have heard of the Beatles. The English rock band was formed in Liverpool, England in 1960. The line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr led them to be regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time. The rock and roll group, became a part of the counterculture of the 1960s.
The incorporated elements of classic music, older pop and different techniques in recording. Their musical styles ranged from pop ballads and Indian music, to psychedelia and hard rock. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they came to be seen as embodying the era’s socio-cultural movements.
No surprise that next week the film, “Yesterday,” will be released in theaters on June 26. The comedy, tells of struggling British musician Jack Malik who wakes up after a traffic accident and finds himself in an alternate timeline where only he can remember the music of the 1960s band. The director Danny Boyle, who won an Oscar for the 2008 movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” said the band gave permission for their music to be used in the film despite it being a story where “they are literally erased from the consciousness of the world.”
Boyle said, Ringo Starr and the widow of George Harrison had seen the film and sent notes of support. As for Paul McCartney, Boyle said: “I don’t think Paul has seen the movie, but he’s seen the trailer and he said ‘Oh that seems to work!’” Boyle said he had also written to Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon.
The movie also features Grammy Award-winning British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, playing himself, as the person who helps Jack, played by British actor Himesh Patel, recreate some of the band’s most famous hits, sending his career soaring. The movie, with a screenplay by “Love Actually” writer Richard Curtis, also features Lily James, Kate McKinnon and James Corden. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on May 4, and will be released in the United Kingdom on June 28, by Universal Pictures.
In this alternative Fab Four-free universe, Jack revises the lost Beatles back catalogue and claims it as his own work on a helter skelter ride to fast fame. He gets by with a little help from one of Curtis’s real-life pop star friends, fledgling actor Ed Sheeran.
“When we came up to Suffolk to research the movie I just said to Ed ‘why don’t you come to dinner with Danny’,” says Curtis, who was also responsible for “Love Actually” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”
“I said after the dinner, ‘Danny, if we cast him, he’s not experienced at acting’ and Danny said ‘from the way he is as a person, I’m absolutely sure it’s gonna be fine.’ “So Ed committed to rehearsal, instead of saying ‘I’ll just turn up’, and Danny just gave him a few simple things. We were part of the miseducation of Ed Sheeran.”
Ed Sheeran is no stranger to films. Sheeran’s previous main acting role involved a brief cameo as a singing soldier in “Game of Thrones” and so the director had to help him navigate the major pitfalls that singers often find on the road to Hollywood. Danny Boyle advised Sheeran to listen to the scene, rather than jst learning his lines and waiting for his cue, which he says is always “the big mistake” non-actors make when performing a cameo.
While Sheeran was learning something about acting from the “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire” director, Patel was spending more than a day in the life of a real musician. Boyle remembers ” a wonderful moment” when Patel had to actually perform the piano ballad. Although his newfound rock star status may be fictional, the actor and musician actually appeared on-stage at one of Sheeran’s real-life Wembley Stadium gigs during filming last summer, as well as a much smaller gig at Latitude festival.
He also played a rocked up guitar version of Help! in front of 5,000 people from the roof of a hotel in Gorleston during the making of Curtis’ favorite scene. The writer saw the wider social effects of Patel’s performance unfold before his eyes. If Jack’s Beatles-inspired chart heist is the backbeat of the film then the real rhythm comes through his relationship with childhood friend, manager and number one fan Ellie Appleton, played by Lily James. She has to look on from a distance as fame and his new US representative Debra Hamer, played by Kate McKinnon, begin to take hold.
Rose’s Scoop: MTV is set to bring back “The Hills” on June 24.