The Beatles have announced that Academy Award-winning director, Peter Jackson — best known for The Lord Of The Rings series, among others — will head up a new film culled from the massive amount of film outtakes from the band’s 1970 Let It Be movie. The still-untitled film is based around 55 hours of never-released footage of the Beatles rehearsing and recording at Twickenham Film Studios and Apple Studios, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969.
This film, which has no release date yet, is being made with the full co-operation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon and George Harrison’s respective widows — Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. The project’s executive producers are Ken Kamins for WingNut Films and Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde for the Beatles’ Apple Corps. Following the release of this new film, a restored version of the original Let It Be movie directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg will also be released.
Peter Jackson spoke about the new movie in the official announcement, saying, “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about — it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”
He went on to say, “I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth. After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama — but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating — it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate. I’m thrilled and honored to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage — making the movie will be a sheer joy.”
Let It Be director Michael Lindsey-Hogg recently appeared on The Lip TV and shed light on how the Let It Be project turned into the behemoth it became: “Let It Be was originally gonna. . . It wasn’t even called Let It Be, it was originally going to be a television special, like on CBS or NBC. But we all kind of disagreed about what it was going to be, where we were going to do it, what it would be like. And so, that idea got scrapped — so, there wasn’t a television special. But, we were shooting documentary footage all the time, because before we started it, (Paul) McCartney had had the idea that we should have a little trailer the week before the TV special was on of them rehearsing and stuff like that. So, the TV special was gone, but we were still shooting the documentary footage every day.”
Although Yoko Ono appears throughout the Let It Be movie, she remains a totally silent presence by John Lennon’s side throughout. During a 2012 chat with the late-David Frost, Paul McCartney spoke about Yoko’s influence on Lennon: “I think John, on particular, was ready to do something else. When Yoko came along, part of her attraction, I think, was this, sort of, avant garde side of things, which she was famous for — and still is. So, she showed him another way to be that was very attractive to him — and I could see that. Y’know, she just sort of said, ‘Well, no, look — how ’bout this? Don’t you like this? Are you just a rock and roller?'”
Image Courtesy of United Artists