Sam Mendes to direct four Beatles biopics

Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes is to direct four Beatles biopics – one about each band member.

The 1917 director has announced the films, which have received the blessing of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison. This will be the first time The Beatles and Apple Corps have offered their life story and music rights to a scripted film.

The four films, to be released in 2027, will tell interconnected stories, one from each band member’s point of view. No writers or cast members have been announced.

I’m honoured to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies.
Sam Mendes

The films will be produced by Mendes’s company Neal Street Productions. They will be financed and distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures with full cinema releases in 2027. Sony said the presentation of the releases will be “innovative and groundbreaking”.

The Beatles’ story has been dramatised a number of times. An early example was the 1979 biopic The Birth Of The Beatles, for which the band’s original drummer Pete Best was an adviser.

Others include Backbeat, which documented their residencies in Hamburg; Nowhere Boy, which focused on their pre-fame times in Liverpool; and The Hours And Times, a dramatisation of what might have occurred during a holiday taken by John Lennon and The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in 1963.

Here’s the full press release:

Culver City, CA (February 20th, 2024) — Today, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Sam Mendes, and Neal Street Productions announced a groundbreaking creative endeavor to tell the story of The Beatles with four distinct theatrical feature films. The project marks the first time Apple Corps Ltd. and The Beatles – Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the families of John Lennon and George Harrison – have granted full life story and music rights for a scripted film.

As conceived by Mendes, who will direct, the four theatrical feature films – one from each band member’s point-of-view – will intersect to tell the astonishing story of the greatest band in history.

SPE will finance and distribute worldwide with full theatrical windows in 2027. The dating cadence of the films, the details of which will be shared closer to release, will be innovative and groundbreaking.

Mendes will direct all four films and produce alongside his Neal Street Productions partner Pippa Harris and Neal Street’s Julie Pastor. Jeff Jones will executive produce for Apple Corps Ltd.

“I’m honoured to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies,” said Sam Mendes.

“We intend this to be a uniquely thrilling, and epic cinematic experience: four films, told from four different perspectives which tell a single story about the most celebrated band of all time,” said Pippa Harris. “To have The Beatles’ and Apple Corps’ blessing to do this is an immense privilege. From our first meeting with Tom Rothman and Elizabeth Gabler, it was clear that they shared both our passion and ambition for this project, and we can’t think of a more perfect home than Sony Pictures.”

“Apple Corps is delighted to collaborate with Sam, Pippa and Julie to explore each Beatle’s unique story and to bring them together in a suitably captivating and innovative way,” said Apple Corps Ltd. CEO Jeff Jones. “Sony Pictures’ enthusiastic support, championing the project’s scope and creative vision from the start, has been invaluable for all of us.”

“I know I speak for our CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who was instrumental in making this happen, and every Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group colleague around the world when I say: ‘yeah, yeah, yeah!’” said Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group. “Theatrical movie events today must be culturally seismic. Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and then some. Pairing his premiere filmmaking team, with the music and the stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe. We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward ourselves to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision.”

Last updated: 22 February 2024
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