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Peter Jackson on asking The Beatles about Yoko Ono

@TomTaylorFO

With the long-awaited documentary The Beatles: Get Back currently gracing Disney+ after years of pandemic induced delays, Peter Jackson has been reflecting on his mammoth undertaking. 

For the documentary, The Lord Of The Rings director used 55 hours of unreleased videos of the band from that tumultuous year in 1969, filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. He also had access to over 140 minutes worth of unheard audio from those same sessions.

As acclaim has filtered through, the one person he has been quick to shine a spotlight on is his forebearer Michael Lindsay-Hogg. In particular, he has credited him for brazenly asking difficult questions in the heart of the moment. 

Speaking with AV Club, Jackson remarked: “Michael did a lot to make The Beatles unaware they were being filmed. Then, he would sit down with them in these down times and he would actually interview them. He’d be like a David Frost or doing a 60 Minutes-style interview where he would be very blunt.”

Adding: “I mean, these are some of the most honest interviews, and that’s because they didn’t know they were being filmed, and they thought they were just having a chat with Michael. They’d be answering in a very honest way.”

Naturally, given that much of the blame for the tension was being poured on Yoko Ono’s presence in the studio during that era he would often ask the bandmembers about her, and whether the writing relationships had become frayed over the years. Jackson muses, “These are the questions that you really wish that someone would ask The Beatles, but they never really did.”

In a fateful way, Jackson believed that Lindsay-Hogg almost had Get Back in mind. He didn’t use any of that in his film, and I’m sure that he didn’t plan on using it, but 50 years later, we have all these incredibly honest interviews with The Beatles talking very, very frankly, and giving very raw and honest answers,” Jackson says. 

He then concluded the AV Club interview by adding: “If you ask Paul how he felt about Yoko back then, he’ll give you an honest answer, but it’s an honest answer filtered through the 50 years of what’s happened since. There, you’ve got Michael asking questions right there and then at the time, so you’re getting the totally unfiltered answer. The truth, really.”

The three-part The Beatles: Get Back docu-series is premiering on Disney+ with the next episodes coming in the next two days.