Michael Winterbottom Set to Direct THE LONGEST COCKTAIL PARTY About The Beatles’ Apple Corps

     October 12, 2011

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Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher announced in May 2010 his company In 1 Productions is developing a feature about The Beatles’ multimedia corporation Apple Corps based on the Richard DiLello book The Longest Cocktail Party.  It may take another year or so for all the pieces to come together, but the way the project is shaping up, it will be worth the wait.  Co-producer Andrew Eaton recently revealed that Jesse Armstrong—one of the sharpest writers on the British comedy scene as evidenced by credits on Peep Show, In the Loop, and Four Lions among others—will adapt the screenplay.  Eaton also disclosed plans for Michael Winterbottom—who worked with Eaton on The Trip—to direct when there’s a space in his schedule.

Set in 1968-1969, the story centers on DiLello’s time as a student at Apple Corps with Apple Press Officer Derek Taylor.  Gallagher likes the idea of his friend Johnny Depp playing Taylor.  Eaton would love to have Depp on board in some capacity, though not necessarily as Taylor.  Hit the jump for his explanation.

Eaton told The Playlist:

andrew-eaton-image

“Johnny in a way would be great. But the trouble is, Derek Taylor, who’s the main character, who’s the press officer, he’s from Liverpool, and he’s probably 32 or 33 in the story, whereas Johnny Depp is 48 or something, and American, so it’s more than just the age gap. There are other parts he could do, but whether he could be Derek… I don’t know.”

Is that a British thing?  Where producers are hesitant to cast megastars just because they’re completely wrong for the part?  Feels weird.

As Armstrong works on the script, Eaton and his partners will continue to hammer out a deal with the notoriously finicky Apple Corps:

“That’s the minefield. You’d think it would be the perfect time, because Apple are reinventing their brand, they did the iTunes deal, they did Guitar Hero. So they are changing. But because they’re doing that, they’re more aware of their image than they’ve ever been. We’re doing a bit of a dance at the moment, we haven’t really found a way to make it work.”

The negotiations should allow time for schedules to align.  Eaton is preparing for the upcoming release of 360 and working with Winterbottom on post-production on Seven Days.  Winterbottom also has Trishna in the can, and is next attached to direct Bailout with Jack Black in the lead.

Here’s the synopsis for The Longest Cocktail Party:

In 1968 an office at number 3 Savile Row, London was the centre of the universe.  It was from there that The Beatles ran Apple Corps – a multi-media corporation which they described at the official launch party as an attempt at “Western Communism”.  Into this unique venture walked a 23 year old American student called Richard DiLello.  He was hired by the Apple Press Officer, Derek Taylor.  His official job title was House Hippie.  For two amazing years, the House Hippie witnessed and participated in a series of extraordinary events that became the daily life of Apple.  A riotously colourful cast of bizarre and eccentric staff and visitors swirled around the Apple offices in Savile Row, drawn like moths to the bright and inspiring flame of The Beatles.  Apple signed a whole string of influential artists, including Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and James Taylor. Along with The Beatles themselves and many other bands, they rehearsed in the Apple Studios in the basement.

The Beatles’ final live performance was on the roof, on 30 January 1969. That rooftop concert provides the closing scenes for the documentary film Let It Be.

The two central characters of the film will be DiLello and Press Officer Derek Taylor, a journalist from Liverpool, who became very close to The Beatles over many years and took the American under his wing.  The Beatles will be off-stage – voices in the background, on the end of phones.  This is not an attempt to tell the story of The Beatles, but the story of Apple and the huge impact The Beatles had on the world around them. Today the passion for The Beatles’ music has never been stronger and new generations are still falling for and being inspired by their genius, just as Richard DiLello was more than 40 years ago.

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