Meet the Twisted Mind Behind ‘Yesterday,’ Which Imagines a World Without The Beatles

Struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malikwaus (Himesh Patel) suffers a blackout and, when he awakens, he quickly discovers that he is somehow the only person in the world who actually remember The Beatles. Desperate to keep the songs written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison (collectively also known, along with Ringo Starr, as The Fab Four) alive, he starts writing down the lyrics and performing them — which transforms him into a superstar as “his” music sweeps across the globe and changes his life in ways he never could have imagined. On top of that, there’s a potential love story with his best friend, and the woman who believed in him before he went Fab, Ellie (Lily James). Such is the premise of the 2019 film Yesterday, which begs one question: What kind of sick mind imagines a world without The Beatles?

“Only someone who can’t imagine the world without The Beatles,” replies screenwriter Richard Curtis in an exclusive interview. “And, if The Beatles were to disappear, would do everything he could to bring them back again.” He pauses briefly before emphasizing, “You know, it’s an argument for The Beatles rather than against.” One can’t argue that point, so there’s no choice but to let him off the hook.

The original concept for the film actually came from writer Jack Barth, who was going to write the script though, as things worked out, Richard actually did so. “So you’d have to ask Jack where the idea came from,” he says. “I think it’s one of those wonderful things which occurs and I was the lucky beneficiary of it in the same way as Jack, in the movie, is the lucky beneficiary of the entire Beatles catalog.”

We were the lucky beneficiary of talking to Richard Curtis. Scroll down for more of our conversation — and beware of spoilers!

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