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I’ve never understood why there haven’t been more movies made about The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. They’re easily the two biggest bands in music history. And anyone who read Keith Richards’ recent tome, Life, knows that there are thousands of cinematic stories waiting to be told about both rock outfits.
Well, Michael Winterbottom’s trying to contribute to Beatles lore with The Longest Cocktail Party, an adaptation of Richard DiLello’s book that documents major events in the latter half of the band’s career, The Playlist reports. Producer Andrew Eaton told the site that Four Lions and In the Loop screenwriter Jesse Armstrong penned a script that Winterbottom will direct. That’s promising, though Eaton also shot down rumors started by former Oasis front man Liam Gallagher that Johnny Depp would play Beatles publicist Derek Taylor.
“Johnny in a way would be great,” Eaton said. “But the trouble is, Derek Taylor, who’s the main character, who’s the press officer, he’s from Liverpool, and he’s probably 32 or 33 in the story, whereas Johnny Depp is 48 or something, and American, so it’s more than just the age gap. There are other parts he could do, but whether he could be Derek. … I don’t know.”
Even without Depp’s involvement, a Beatles biopic could be extraordinary. DiLello’s book reportedly covers the span of time from when the Apple recording label was founded through the recording of the band’s final album, Let It Be. Casting would be key, as would the securing of rights to use Beatles music. Eaton described those negotiations with Apple as a “minefield.” You need those songs to make a Beatles film work. There’s no way around it. The picture might be on the back burner as Winterbottom clears his schedule, but with a talent like that willing to tell the Beatles’ story – or at least part of it – it’s worth the wait.