Over a relatively short 10 year career, The Beatles created more iconic songs than most bands could do in thrice as long. But what if you suddenly woke up in a world where John, Paul, George, and Ringo never existed? What if there was no Revolver, or Let It Be, or The White Album? No one knew of these classic, indelible songs — except you.
That’s the basic thesis for Yesterday, the new film from director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Pirate Radio). The film establishes a world in which a struggling musician named Jack Malik (Himesh Patel of BBC’s Eastenders) is about to give up on his dreams. He’s struggled for years to break out of his tiny English seaside village, but despite the encouragement of his best friend, Ellie (Lily James of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), his singer-songwriter career has never taken off. That is until a bus accident during a freak blackout removes the two front teeth from his mouth — and The Beatles from the collective memory of the world.
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Jack begins to perform classics like “Let It Be” and “Yesterday”, passing them off as his own creations. Understandably, his star skyrockets, but he struggles with the knowledge that his newfound fame is based on someone else’s work, and that superstardom is pushing him farther and farther away from Ellie.
All in all it’s a pretty Curtis-ian concept that Boyle looks to be handling rather beautifully. The first trailer for Yesterday paints an intriguing picture of the music-focused romantic comedy, elevated by a stellar cast that includes Kate McKinnon, Ana de Armas, and — in a surprisingly large and self-aware role as himself — Ed Sheeran. Take a look below.
Yesterday opens in US theaters on September 13th. Find a complete synopsis below. You can also snag some of the real Beatles’ vinyl records over at ReverbLP.
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.
Featuring new versions of The Beatles’ most beloved hits, Yesterday is produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (Love Actually, About A Boy, the Bridget Jones series) alongside Matthew James Wilkinson and Bernie Bellew. Curtis and Boyle also produce. Nick Angel and Lee Brazier serve as executive producers.