Danny Boyle said that he was worried that his new film, 'Yesterday' would upset the surviving Beatles members "triggered or upset".
The story of the film is set in a world where the protagonist, Jack Malik, woke up one day and discovered that the world had no idea who the Beatles was. Upon realising that people enjoyed him performing Beatles songs, he began a journey to become the world's most guilt-ridden famous musician.
"Once I got involved, I wrote letters to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the two widows, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono, respectfully laying out what I intended to do with the film," Boyle told Billboard in a new interview. "There's obviously going to be nerves that somebody could be triggered or upset. But I got really lovely letters from Ringo and Olivia. I can't talk about it except to say it was very special for me."
Watch the trailer below.
The film is speculated to have cost the production team an additional $15 million NZD to the expenses just to secure music rights to use all of Beatles music. "Before I signed on, Curtis and Working Title [the production company] had negotiated with the aesthetic and financial guardians of the Beatles: Apple Records and [Sony/ATV Music Publishing], respectively," Boyle said.
"Apple and Sony are very picky about not only who uses the band's music but how it is used. Working Title did that first because 'there's no point in spending money on a film like Yesterday unless you can guarantee you've got the music. It made for a top-heavy budget -- the costs for the songs were very expensive, a substantial part of the film's budget. But they made a clever deal, allowing us the freedom to change songs up to the last minute."
Boyle also noted that there's a chance it will become easier for others to license Beatles music in the future. "Now, of course, artists want to be everywhere, really," he noted. "The Beatles are the exception; [Apple and Sony] want to keep a purity about it. But there are a lot of people in the business advising them not to restrict themselves so much, as older bands re-imagine or reintroduce themselves to a younger audience."
The film, 'Yesterday' will hit NZ screens on 27th June.