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Why Paul McCartney And Ringo Starr Weren’t Interviewed For Peter Jackson’s The Beatles Get Back

The Beatles are, quite simply, one of the biggest bands that has ever existed. Considering their popularity, it’s no surprise that an endless amount has been written about them and multiple documentaries and even dramatic films have been made about them. And while we unfortunately lost John Lennon far too early, the rest of the Beatles have been more than willing to talk about their time making music when they’ve been asked. But for the new Disney+ documentary series The Beatles: Get Back, Peter Jackson decided he did not want to ask. While he could have brought Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in for modern interviews, Jackson says that’s not the way he wanted to tell the story.

The Beatles: Get Back is based on hundreds of hours of material that was produced in 1969 when John, Paul, George, and Ringo came together to record music for the album that would become Let it Be. Most of this material has never seen the light of day. I had a chance to speak with Director Peter Jackson about the documentary series and he told me that he felt that the footage by itself tells a story that is exciting and interesting enough that it didn’t need modern context. He explained... 

I decided very early to not interview Paul or Ringo or anyone else. I didn't want modern day interviews in this footage. I didn't want that 50 year gap. I wanted everybody to head back to 1969, and be in the room with the Beatles and just let them tell their story. So that was the plan. And that's effectively what we've done.

Peter Jackson told me that finding a story to tell in The Beatles: Get Back was quite easy because the footage itself basically does that already. If you follow The Beatles during each day of this recording session, you see how the various pieces of Let it Be come together. There are plenty of ups and towns and tension and drama along the way to make the story compelling for the viewer. 

While it would certainly be interesting to get the impressions of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as, potentially, the friends or family of John Lennon and George Harrison, Jackson felt adding a modern perspective would take viewers out of the moment, and he wanted everybody to go along for the ride. A modern look back would have the benefit of hindsight, and that’s what Jackson wanted to remove, as he said...

The actual story is really interesting day by day, you sort of follow, kind of per day, and then you get to actually accompany the Beatles as this thing happens almost real time in a way to them. It’s Tuesday, they don't know what's going to happen on Thursday, and we don’t know what’s going to happen on Thursday.

While we know what the final product of these sessions were, we certainly don’t know the truth of the day-by-day, and any fan of the Beatles is going to want to watch The Beatles Get: Back and watch this story unfold. The documentary series airs in three parts on three straight nights beginning November 24. 

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.