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After withdrawing from the latest James Bond movie over creative differences, Danny Boyle was delighted to direct Richard Curtis’ “delicious” screenplay for “Yesterday,” which wedges 17 of the best Beatles songs into a narrative about Jack Malik, a marginal British folk singer who wakes up from a global blackout as the only person who recalls the music of the Beatles. He tries to recover the lyrics, performs the songs, and becomes a huge (and fraudulent) pop star.
The movie performed above expectations last weekend, as the combo of Curtis (“Love, Actually”), Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”), Lily James (“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”), and the Beatles delivered a solid box office punch.
Curtis - Boyle - Director - Writer - Rowan
Curtis and Boyle met when the director recruited the writer to collaborate with comedian Rowan Atkinson as the iconic Mr. Bean at the London opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. After Boyle asked Curtis to keep him in mind for directing, “He sent back the script,” Boyle said in a telephone interview. “Such was his obsession with The Beatles that he didn’t want to direct it himself. He was worried about being too close to the songs.”
Boyle was unaware that other similar stories had been written that followed a similar concept. “I didn’t know that there was a French film about Johnny Hallyday disappearing,” he said. “Then there’s a TV show, not quite time-travel, going back in time and singing ahead as though they’re in an earlier period. I didn’t know either of those. When I read the script, it felt like a very original idea. I’m sure there are other iterations, like ‘Freaky Friday.'”
Actor - Songs - Movie - Beginning - Kind
But without an actor able to sing the songs believably, the movie would never have worked. “It was when we were auditioning that I remember the beginning of a kind of fear,” said Boyle, “An acorn, a...
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