How to make a proper Beatles biopic movie

Over the past few years, film fans have seen a massive revival of the classic rock and roll biopic. Although the letter-perfect parody of the concept in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story took the piss out of every single attempt at depicting a rock star’s rise to fame, movies like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman have helped revitalise the genre, offering unique interpretations of how the artists’ lives were presented. Considering the massive box-office smashes both Queen and Elton John have had, it’s time that The Beatles get their proper due onscreen.

It’s not like the story of the Fab Four wouldn’t be an easy money-maker, either. The fantasy film Yesterday already began keeping the band’s profile alive in the 2020s, along with the massive sales of their reissued albums like Let It Be and Revolver. Now that fans got an in-depth look at what the members’ lives were like towards the end of their tenure in Get Back, it’s about time that younger fans be given the full story.

Then again, there’s a bit of a challenge that comes with putting The Beatles’ legacy into historical perspective. Unlike the lives of Freddie Mercury or Ray Charles, there are too many subtle intricacies of The Beatles’ development to cram into a traditional two-hour movie.

When combing through the band’s biggest moments, it’s easy to find the sections that are essential to the story, like John Lennon and Paul McCartney meeting for the first time or their iconic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. A few more experienced Beatles fans would even consider their accidental intake of LSD from their dentist also warrants inclusion, showing their nosedive into the world of psychedelia.

Even though there are more than a few mandatory inclusions that could easily be crammed into the two-hour format, there are too many details that interweave into each other to craft a compelling narrative. While it may be a gamble, the optimal way to make this biopic is to expand it into a whole series of films.

Much like Percy Jackson did with his Get Back footage, The Beatles’ story warrants multiple films breaking down each phase of the band. While it might get confusing for casual fans to keep track of what is going on half the time, the easiest way to please music fans is to break their career down into three separate sections.

Part 1: The Early Years

The first film would revolve around the band members meeting together for the first time. While there’s no set structure to who should be introduced, the movie could play out as the story of Lennon and McCartney trying to take on the world with their modest skiffle group. With more wiggle room, this could include the moment that George Harrison auditions for the band, their infamous days in Hamburg, and their first recording sessions before closing out with a glorious performance on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

There could also be some cliffhangers left behind, like McCartney working on the beginnings of ‘Yesterday’ in between takes and their management talking about the prospect of them making their own films, alluding to what is to come in A Hard Day’s Night.

Part 2: The Experimental Years

Compared to the lovable moptops in the first film, the sequel could add on a heightened sense of drama, with The Beatles getting desensitised to fame. Select scenes could include Lennon being fried by his own fame, writing introspective songs like ‘Help!’ before coming to a crescendo with the ‘more popular than Jesus’ fiasco.

All the while, fans can see the subtle intricacies of their time in the studio, slowly starting to use the medium as an instrument on tracks like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and McCartney coming into his own as a songwriter on ‘Eleanor Rigby’. While the film could wind down around their final show at Candlestick Park, the real cliffhanger ending could be after the release of Sgt Pepper. As the members rejoice over their groundbreaking achievement, the film could conclude on a slightly morbid note when the band are told discreetly that manager Brian Epstein has passed away.

Part 3: …And in the End

As fans enter the final instalment, they will be treated to a heightened drama around the band’s future, chronicling their time in India under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the constant battles going into The White Album. This could include the light and dark sides of those initial sessions, from Ringo Starr walking out during production to Harrison bringing the band together to make ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ alongside Eric Clapton.

While the urge to play up the storyline of Yoko Ono may be tempting for some filmmakers, these films would have to treat it sparingly. Rather than the common conception that she was responsible for tearing the band apart, her presence should be a subtle form of tension in favour of highlighting the business issues that tore them apart thanks to tycoon Allen Klein.

Despite the tempting idea of putting the rooftop concert as the closing scene, the true ending of The Beatles could come from the band trading lines on the song ‘The End’ off of Abbey Road. When recalling the session, the members talked about how personal the track felt, as if they knew it would most likely be the last time they played together again. Instead of the chilly London air, this would be a more subtle way to bring things home.

While there would be some questions about who would direct the project, it would be a no-brainer to get Jackson back to detail the proper story. Given his ability to make epic tales of decades past, his inherent love for The Beatles in Get Back would lend itself well to a harrowing journey with the band that single-handedly shaped modern music. Although Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman may be moving the biopic genre in the right direction, this approach to The Beatles’ legacy could be the ultimate example of how to chronicle the life of a music legend.

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