Before Ed Sheeran, Yesterday Originally Wanted A Different Famous Pop Star

Himesh Patel and Ed Sheeran in Yesterday
(Image credit: (Working Title))

Hollywood’s recent trend of showcasing the most iconic discographies of all time continues next week with Yesterday. The comedy from director Danny Boyle isn’t a biopic of the Beatles, but a fun thought experiment. What would happen is one day everyone forgot about the Fab Four? Everyone except for one struggling musician, that is.

Yesterday follows Jack Malik (played by newcomer Himesh Patel) who is the only man in the world who remembers the words to “Hey Jude”. As he starts publically playing their music, he gains the attention of a hotshot agent (played by SNL’s Kate McKinnon) and Ed Sheeran… who recommends he changes the title to “Hey Dude”.

It takes connections such as these to reach the mass popularity, so Danny Boyle always had a big name in mind to join the film-- but it wasn’t always Sheeran. At the London red carpet premiere of Yesterday on Tuesday, Boyle said this:

Originally it was meant to be Chris Martin. In fact, he was written in the script as Chris Martin. But actually, Chris just finished touring with Coldplay and said he didn’t want to do it. So we moved to Ed Sheeran. And Ed teases us remorselessly about that. That we picked him second. And in fact, he said ‘I think you wanted Harry Styles second and me third.’ And that’s not true.

Oh, interesting! It actually would have made sense for Yesterday to enlist Coldplay’s Chris Martin since he fronts a four-man British popular act, just like the Beatles. However, the band had been touring their album A Head Full of Dreams until the end of 2017, and Chris Martin was not ready to sign on for another project so soon.

While Ed Sheeran jokes about not being the first pick, he’s probably the best choice of the three and could end up drawing in the most audiences at the time of release. Sheeran is the only one of them with a popular new song on the radio right now. Coldplay hasn’t technically released new music in four years and Harry Styles, in two years. Plus, Styles has a specific, younger fanbase.

Danny Boyle also went on to tell Associated Press about his experience with Sheeran on set. In his words:

Ed was Wonderful, I’d say. A real surprise. He was very serious about being in rehearsals, and learning a bit about the craft of acting.

The musician previously made a guest appearance on Game of Thrones during the season 7 premiere and reportedly will be a stormtrooper in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (but that’ll be tough to spot).

Ahead of its release, Yesterday has already been receiving praise from critics. CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes gave it 4 out of 5 stars in his review, calling it a “total joy”. The music-comedy hits theaters on June 28.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.