Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Takahiro Kyono)


Ringo Starr on his love for Danny Boyle’s ‘Yesterday’

Eyebrows were raised when Danny Boyle initially revealed the concept for his film, Yesterday. The general public was unsure how they would react to the film, let alone the surviving members of The Beatles might welcome such a prospect. Thankfully for Boyle, drummer for the Fab Four, Ringo Starr, adored his creation.

If you weren’t aware of the farfetched storyline of the film, it follows the protagonist Jack Malik as he tries to make it as a singer-songwriter, but success remains out of reach for him. Remarkably, during a global power outage, Malik gets hit by a bus which sparks an alternative reality where The Beatles never existed.

Malik then begins to release songs written by The Beatles as originals and becomes the most prominent artist in the world, but his success is built on a lie which plays havoc with his conscious. There are several bizarre moments in the film, including the climactic moment he visits John Lennon’s home, who is an old man, having never formed The Beatles or been tragically murdered.

That aforementioned scene could be deemed insensitive and could have potentially ruined the film experience for Ringo, but he adored Boyle’s production. It allowed a whole new generation to connect with the Fab Four’s catalogue of songs, which is one of a myriad of reasons why Starr is grateful for its existence.

The day that Ringo Starr left The Beatles

Read More

Although the film’s storyline seems nonsensical, it’s a heartwarming watch that uplifts the viewer. In truth, if Boyle’s name wasn’t attached to the project, it’s hard to imagine The Beatles would have allowed the songs to have been used, but they knew they’d be in safe hands.

Furthermore, according to Billboard, the film’s production company, Working Title, paid around $10 million to secure the rights to the songs for Yesterday. Boyle revealed: “Once I got involved, I wrote letters to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the two widows, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono, respectfully laying out what I intended to do with the film. There’s obviously going to be nerves that somebody could be triggered or upset. But I got really lovely letters from Ringo and Olivia. I can’t talk about it except to say it was very special for me.”

It was nerve-wracking for Boyle as he awaited a response from those close to the band, and the letter he received from Ringo provided him with the affirmation he needed. Paul McCartney also contacted Boyle to say he liked the trailer, which also pleased the director.

When Starr attended the Global Citizen Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, he spoke about the film and said: “Oh yeah – I loved it. I mean, what a great concept. You know?”

It would have been a disaster for Boyle if Starr or McCartney had criticised his project. It meant the world to the filmmaker to get their blessing while also validating Yesterday.