Danny Boyle & Richard Curtis on ‘Yesterday’ and What Kept Them Making Movies in the UK

     June 30, 2019

With Yesterday now playing in theaters, I recently got to talk with director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis about the film in Liverpool (the real home town of The Beatles). As you’ve seen in the trailers, the film follows Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling singer-songwriter who, after a bus accident during a global blackout, awakens in a world where he’s the only person who remembers the songs of The Beatles. By performing some of the greatest music ever written, Jack is capitulated to fame, but at the risk of losing his Ellie (Lily James), his closest friend.

yesterday-movie-posterDuring the interview, Danny Boyle & Richard Curtis talked about if it was a challenge to get the rights to The Beatles music, what they learned about the film when they started editing, how the film needed to be delicate with the emotional story, how the first cut compared to the finished film, what compelled the two of them to continue making movies in the United Kingdom after finding success in the early 90s, and how the Blu-ray could have twenty-five minutes of deleted scenes. In addition, Richard Curtis talks about his five-hour-and-fifteen-minute first cut of Pirate Radio and how it was his favorite version of the film.

Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.

Danny Boyle & Richard Curtis:

  • After having success in the early 90s, what compelled them to stay in the United Kingdom and not move to Hollywood?
  • At what point in the process did they know they could get the rights to The Beatles music?
  • What did they learn when they started editing the film that they weren’t expecting?
  • Richard Curtis talks about needing to be delicate with the emotional story.
  • How long was the first cut compared to the finished film?
  • Richard talks about how his first cut of Pirate Radio was five hours and fifteen minutes and he thinks it was the best version of the film saying it “was like a very long documentary.”

Image via Universal Pictures

Here’s the official synopsis for Yesterday:

Yesterday, everyone knew The Beatles. Today, only Jack remembers their songs. He’s about to become a very big deal. From Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) and Richard Curtis, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill, comes a rock-n-roll comedy about music, dreams, friendship, and the long and winding road that leads to the love of your life.

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC’s Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed … and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, and with a little help from his steel-hearted American agent, Debra (Emmy winner Kate McKinnon), Jack’s fame explodes. But as his star rises, he risks losing Ellie — the one person who always believed in him. With the door between his old life and his new closing, Jack will need to get back to where he once belonged and prove that all you need is love.

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