Danny Boyle on ‘Yesterday,’ Leaving ‘Bond 25’ and Why the Beatles Still Rock

Variety | 6/25/2019 | Rebecca Rubin
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Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh Patel, discovers that after a freak accident, he’s the only person who remembers the Beatles’ songs, he’s faced with a big dilemma. As his popularity soars after taking credit for penning everything from “Hey Jude” to “Let It Be,” Jack is forced to grapple with the fact that he might lose Ellie (Lily James), his childhood best friend and strongest supporter.

Ahead - Film - Premiere - Variety - Boyle

Ahead of the film’s premiere, Variety spoke with Boyle about giving Patel his big break, directing chart-topper Ed Sheeran, who plays himself in the movie, and the reason he opted to leave “Bond 25” before cameras started rolling on 007’s next adventure.

How did you get involved in “Yesterday”?

Script - Richard - Curtis - Opening - Ceremony

I got the script from Richard Curtis. I worked with him on the opening ceremony of the London Olympics and we had kept in touch. I said sort of politely, “If you ever got anything remember to think of me.” He said, “Actually I just finished a script,” and he sent it to me. I read it and I thought, “I’ve got to do this.” I loved how light it was and the romantic in it intertwined with the love letter to the Beatles music.

Why did you cast Himesh Patel?

Factor - Lot - People - Songs - Part

The biggest single factor in casting him was we had been seeing a lot of people who sang songs as part of the audition. I began to worry that the songs were a bit karaoke. They sounded like impersonations, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it didn’t feel right...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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