The new film Yesterday, which imagines a world in which only one person remembers The Beatles, was originally meant to feature cameos from all of the Fab Four.
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In the movie, singer-songwriter Jack (played by Himesh Patel) wakes up to discover The Beatles never existed and he is the only person with any knowledge of their music. After attempting to remind the world of the group, he begins to play their songs as his own and achieves huge success.
Yesterday features only one of the legendary group, changing John Lennon’s story so he lives a long life instead of being murdered by Mark Chapman. During an appearance on the Empire podcast, writer Richard Curtis and director Danny Boyle revealed they had originally intended to feature all four members of the band.
“When [Jack] first goes to Liverpool, I’d written a long scene where he just goes to a pub and he bumps into George [Harrison] and Ringo [Starr],” Curtis said. “It was, I hope, a sweet scene, and they were just two delightful, oldish men who’d once been in a band together […] music enthusiasts who had never got any further.”
He continued to explain that Paul McCartney would have appeared at the end of the film. “[Jack] was going to move to the Isle of Wight, to a cottage, and you were going to hear outside his window someone saying, ‘Vera, Chuck, Dave!’” Curtis explained. “There were going to be three dogs and Paul was going to be walking them.”
Explaining why only Lennon made it into the final cut of Yesterday, the screenwriter said: “It was the scene that had the most meaning, and was in some ways the pivotal scene of the film.”
Speaking to NME last month, Boyle shared the reactions of the surviving Beatles to the movie. “You have to write to them and explain the concept so they’ll let you associate the music with it and then also we sent them the finished film, just out of courtesy,” he said.“We got a lovely message back from Ringo and Olivia, George’s widow. I don’t think Paul has seen it but he saw the trailer and said ‘The trailer seems to work – that’s a surprise!’