The Beatles Tour De Force: Ron Howard Pipes Them Live and Direct To The Masses
MOSTLY, The Beatles are not a live band.
Sure, they cut their teeth around Britain and Germany for years, before blowing everyone’s brains out in Australia, Japan and America, but when people think of the Fabs, it is all about the studio.
We’ve seen endless documentaries with George Martin talking about ‘the boys’ and the madcap studio ideas they had (Lennon wanted to be swung from the ceiling, trying to recreate the sound of a thousand monks of a hillside, slice tapes and throwing them in the air to stick them back together again, and all that great stuff), but on film, their live prowess has been somewhat neglected.
Liverpool Empire 1965
And now, Ron Howard – a long term Beatle nut and Academy Award-winning director, has been tasked to direct and produce an authorised, as-yet-untitled documentary about the touring years of the Fab Four.
These were important years for The Beatles as, during 1960 to 1966, that’s when they travelled the world and conquered hearts and minds.
Howard will interview Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as talk with Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. And of course, there’ll be loads of interview footage of John and George being dry as hell in the face of journalists.
“What’s so compelling to me is the perspective that we have now, the chance to really understand the impact that they had on the world,” Howard said. “That six-year period is such a dramatic transformation in terms of global culture and these remarkable four individuals, who were both geniuses and also entirely relatable. That duality is something that is going to be very interesting to explore.”
Howard is joined by Nigel Sinclair, the producer behind the fabulous ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’ and the really brilliant ‘No Direction Home: Bob Dylan’
The pair will get to play in the Apple Corps archives as well as source fan-shot amateur video and the like.
“We are going to be able to take the Super 8 footage that we found, that was all shot silent. We’ll not only be able to digitally repair a lot of that, but we’ve also been finding the original recordings,” explains Howard. “We can now sync it up and create a concert experience so immersive and so engaging, I believe you’re going to actually feel like you’re somewhere in the Sixties, seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it. And as a film director, that’s a fantastic challenge.”
They’ve apparently found some ‘surprising footage’ from the Beatles’ final concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966.
Howard is also looking at the “multigenerational quality” of Beatles fandom: “I hope we find some of that in the footage,” he says. “We may have a shot of a boy or a girl very early in their life at a concert, and then we may be able to find them today and talk to them, and talk to their grandchildren and see what their relationship is with the Beatles, and understand how multiple generations find tremendous value and relevance in their music.”
The film is scheduled for a late-2015/early 2016 release.