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Sam Mendes will direct four Beatles movies about John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr

It marks the first time that the band’s representatives have granted their full support for a scripted movie

Maira Butt
Tuesday 20 February 2024 15:04 GMT
The Beatles return to UK
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James Bond director Sam Mendes will direct four separate movies on the lives of each of The Beatles, it has been announced.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison will each be the subject of their own feature films financed by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

According to a statement from Sony, the movies are set to be released from 2027 and “will intersect to tell the astonishing story of the greatest band in history”.

Mendes, known for his work steering James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, said that he hoped that the four-part experience will challenge viewers’ notions of what it means to go to the cinema.

“I’m honored to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies,” he said.

Mendes will direct all four films and produce alongside his Neal Street Productions partner Pippa Harris, with whom he co-produced Oscar-nominated movie Revolutionary Road, and Neal Street’s Julie Pastor. Jeff Jones will executive produce for Apple Corps Ltd.

The Oscar-winning British director has won multiple awards for his work over the years, including the Academy Award for Best Director for American Beauty, four BAFTAs (including three for his war epic 1917), two Tonys and three Golden Globe awards.

Film-Beatles Biopics (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Beatles formed in Liverpool in 1960 before breaking up in 1970. Following their disbanding, Lennon was murdered outside his home in New York in 1980, while Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001.

McCartney and Starr continue to make music.

The families of Lennon and Harrison along with McCartney and Starr have all granted full life story and music rights to the scripted films according to Variety. It marks the first time that the band have offered their full support for a retelling of their stories.

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“We intend this to be a uniquely thrilling, and epic cinematic experience: four films, told from four different perspectives which tell a single story about the most celebrated band of all time,” said Pippa Harris.

“To have The Beatles’ and Apple Corps’ blessing to do this is an immense privilege. From our first meeting with Tom Rothman and Elizabeth Gabler, it was clear that they shared both our passion and ambition for this project, and we can’t think of a more perfect home than Sony Pictures.”

Sam Mendes has been commissioned to make four movies about The Beatles (Getty Images)

Filmmakers have made several attempts to dramatise the story of The Beatles, with mixed results.

A 1979 biopic, made when Lennon was still alive, called The Birth of the Beatles was produced with Beatles original drummer Pete Best serving as an adviser.

Meanwhile, 1994 indie drama Backbeat chronicled Lennon’s relationship with Stuart Sutcliffe before the Beatles were famous. British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson received critical praise for his portrayal of a teenage Lennon in Nowhere Boy, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group said: “Theatrical movie events today must be culturally seismic. Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and then some.

“Pairing his premiere filmmaking team, with the music and the stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe. We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward ourselves to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision.”

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