Danny Boyle’s Beatles Movie ‘Yesterday’ Has A Polarizing, But Ringo-Approved Cameo

Senior Pop Culture Editor
07.02.19

Universal Pictures

[Very weird spoilers for the very weird movie Yesterday]

Danny Boyle’s “world without the Beatles” movie Yesterday is a “profoundly terrible waste of a great premise,” to quote our own Vince Mancini, but that undersells how weird this film is. Ed Sheeran — y’know, the guy from Game of Thrones — provides maybe the biggest laugh; Harry Potter and, uh, cigarettes don’t exist, too; and Jack Malik keeps the “well, she was just 17, and you know what I mean” opening from “I Saw Her Standing There.” Not sure how well that would fly in a “new” song from 2019. Also, John Lennon is in Yesterday.

Well, it’s not the real John Lennon, obviously, but an actor playing John Lennon (Boyle didn’t reveal his identity, but according to IMDb, his name is Robert Carlyle), who, because he never met Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, retired to a quiet life of not getting assassinated. It’s a jarring cameo that Boyle had trouble processing the first time he read Richard Curtis’ screenplay. “When we came to test the film, yes, there are some people that don’t like it at all. But other people like it enormously,” he told USA Today. “We call it a ‘Marmite scene’ in Britain. It divides people very clearly.”

One person who enjoyed seeing beachside Lennon is Ringo. “We sent everyone the finished film, and we got a lovely message from Ringo and Barbara [Bach], and a lovely message back from Olivia [Harrison], George’s widow,” Boyle said. “I don’t think Paul’s seen the film yet but he saw and liked the trailer.” Some viewers were right there with Ringo, re: Lennon’s cameo.

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